Tag Archive: Toronto Wine and Spirit Festival


toronto wine and spirit festival 2010

Thanks to the Attorney General of Ontario, the summer of 2011 will go down in provincial history as the first season where people can attend their favorite festivals and drink to their heart’s content without being crammed like cattle into beer tents. Scenes like the above from last year’s Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival are now a thing of the past.

While the Distillery District is quite pleasant to look at, the experience left a lot to be desired. Once a drink was purchased, it had to be consumed before one could move on to the next tent, which lead to traffic jams, overcrowding and rushed consumption.

While over 8,000 people attended (and I think most of us had an outstanding time), Scott Rondeau, the president of Power Juncture (the event company behind the festival) thought they could do better.

“[We saw] Polson Pier as one big open area with 215 feet of untapped waterfront and we liked it. You’re right on the water, watching the sun set and there are no more pavilions. You don’t have to finish your food or drink before moving on to the next vendor.

If you’re in a group and each one of you wants to try something different, you can do that and move along. No one’s stuck.”

When asked about the changes to the liquor laws, Scott is enthusiastic.

“While the onus will always be on the organizers to provide responsible service, it’s nice to see the public be treated in a more adult fashion.”

With 45 vendors bringing over  200 products for guests to sample, the new set-up should make it that much easier to get around and give everything a taste. According to Scott, most beer samples will cost $1; with wine costing up to $3 more and rarer spirits fetching no more than $8. The cigar lounge from last year will return although this time, the smokes will be paired with scotch instead of rum.

Tickets are available in advance for $25 or you can purchase them at the door for $30. As usual, your entrance fee starts you off with 5 tickets.

The Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival is open from 6pm until 11pm on both Thursday and Friday, June 16th and 17th, respectively. On Saturday, June 18th, the festival opens at 12pm and, except for a brief period from 5pm until 6pm, will remain open until 11pm that night.

(Photo taken from the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival blog.)

This has been a great year for festivals and tastings for the city of Toronto. Besides the old stalwarts like the Toronto Festival of Beer and Whisky Live we’ve got Session, the Toronto Wine  Spirit Festival and the Conscious Food Festival getting off the ground and offering new products and fresh perspectives.

Events like Toronto Beer Week also help raise awareness of Ontario Craft Beer and that, along with a more noticeable presence at the LCBO, should result in residents of Ontario taking more pride in what this province has to offer.

Next week, be sure to check out The Toronto Beer Experience, a one-day event held at The Berkeley Church on Oct. 21st, that promises to do just that with a seasonal preview that will see local brewers (Church-Key, Muskoka, Flying Monkeys, Mill Street and more) bringing  new beer that they’ve brewed specifically for this day or that they’re about to release. While details on all the beers which might be there are not available, I wouldn’t be surprised if Muskoka’s upcoming seasonal release, their Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout, makes an appearance. Great Lakes and Mill Street are bringing their Guard Dog Dunkel and Rauchbier (smoked beer), respectively. Most interesting is Flying Monkeys who are bringing a Cookies and Cream Ale; I have no idea how that will taste but I can’t wait to try it.

For those of you don’t like beer (shame on you!) there will be a variety of local wines on hand as well as cocktails made with Victoria Gin (118737, 750 mL, $49.95). I had a couple this summer at the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival and it’s a well-balanced spirit that follows in the vein of more floral gins like Hendrick’s and Bulldog. Also on hand will be dishes prepared by the Church and live music from local musicians.

There’s also a deal on Groupon right now that offers two tickets for the price of one at only $25! This is only going to be up for the next seven hours so rope in a date and make a night of it.

The Toronto Beer Experience is on Friday, October 21st., from 6pm to 11pm. It will be held at The Berkeley Church which is located at 315 Queen St. East. See you there!

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