Drink This Wine: Top Somms’ Top Picks at Top Drop

Plus a special $25 code just for VanMag readers to the year's most bespoke wine event

Springs has sprung, the Canucks are in the playoffs and for the 10th year our friend and occasional columnist Kurtis Kolt is bringing his highly curated wine fair, Top Drop, to the Roundhouse in Yaletown—this year, May 14 and 15.

If you’re unfamiliar, imagine if you were friends with a bunch of sommeliers and wine industry types and for someone’s birthday everyone decided to bring a cool bottle of wine to share with the group: this festival is really a collection of those bottles and the people that make them. It’s a group of wineries and winemakers that Kurtis, his partners Medina Cafe‘s Jenna Briscoe and Joey’s Jason Yamasaki and a small army of sommelier volunteers have identified as making thoughtful, interesting wine.

They’re from all over the globe: the Okanagan, Oregon, Argentina, Italy, France etc. Some are small, some quite large, some natural, some more traditional, but they all share a unique passion and vision that sets them out in their respective areas. They’re the sort of producers that if you find yourself out for dinner in a foreign city and order one of their wines you’ll probably get the awesome knowing nod from the somm…and isn’t that alone worth the price of admission? (which, exclusively for VanMag readers is $25 off if you use the code topdropvip).

As a preview we’ve asked three of the people involved in the festival—a somm, a restaurateur and a winemaker—to tell us about a bottle that will be poured that they’re super jacked about.


Shira Blustein, Owner, The Acorn

“This year at Top Drop our Wine Director, James, and myself are most excited to try the new Margo from Anapea Village in Georgia. James is crazy for Qvevri wines and he thinks this is the perfect summer red because it is a direct pressing of Saperavi grapes, which have red flesh and juice. The past vintages have been bright, refreshing and a perfect pairing for the always-exciting Acorn summer menu. It has also been truly inspirational to see them create such beautiful wines from a once-desolate plot of land. Their dedication to sustainability, soil restoration and natural winemaking perfectly align with what we strive to achieve every day at The Acorn. As the old saying goes “it takes a village,” and that’s exactly what they have—an entire village dedicated to sustainable farming and winemaking. We are super excited to meet Khatia and Gocha, hear their incredible story and share it with our guests at The Acorn!”

David Paterson, Winemaker, Tantalus

“In 2008 I asked my wife to marry me in Ambleside, Vancouver. We celebrated with a 1996 Blanc de Blanc from Bruno Paillard. So this year I am very much looking forward to the nostalgia of trying all the wines for Bruno Paillard, in particular the Cuvee 72 they are bringing, as I have not had the pleasure of tasting that bottling before.”

Belinda Siu, Sommelier, Kissa Tanto

“I love Bow and Arrow by Scott and Dana Frank.  I’ve had the pleasure to taste their wines with Rich Massey (sadly only a couple of times). They source their grapes from different organic and biodynamic vineyards and I find their honest terroir-driven wines reflect Willamette Valley well, and with a Burgundian or even Loire Valley lens. And they’re always an easy reach for food pairing. In particular I’m excited to revisit their Melon Willamette Valley. This wine is reminiscent of the Loire Valley’s Muscadet Sevre et Maine. It shows apples and melon with a touch of straw and salt, finished off with beautiful acidity and minerality.”