The Ultimate Vancouver Wine Guide: Meet the International Consultants Boosting B.C.’s Wine Industry

Here's a quintet of global wine stars affecting what’s in your local glass.

Here’s a quintet of global wine stars affecting what’s in your local glass.

The British Columbia wine industry wouldn’t have had the rapid growth in quality it has witnessed over the last couple of decades if we were just navel-gazing, figuring things out by trial and error. Among the greatest strengths of any winemaker are an open mind, an open palate, and the willingness to heed advice from experts in the field.

A solid slate of international consultants have been providing a boost to the evolution of B.C. wine for many years now. Here’s a quintet of global wine stars affecting what’s in your local glass.


Alberto Antonini, Italy

With a keen interest in jazz and a cerebral, methodical take on each vineyard site he works with, Antonini has an approach to each project that is more art and romance than cut-and-paste formula. He is a fan of less is more, leaning toward fresh, bright, lively wines of place. His fingerprints are all over Okanagan Crush Pad’s Haywire and Narrative lines, but do take the opportunity to geek on his Uruguayan deliciousness.

B.C. Client: Okanagan Crush Pad

International Pursuits:

Bodega Argento, ArgentinaBodega Garzón, UruguaySeghesio, CaliforniaPoggiotondo, Italy

Pedro Parra, Chile

Pretty much the world’s best terroir-whisperer, Parra has dug holes in some of the best vineyards on the planet, jumped into ’em, then got his hands (and everything else) dirty. If there’s a mineral component to the soils under those vines, he has a way of harnessing it and guiding it from the grape to the bottle to your glass. He was instrumental in Okanagan Crush Pad’s Switchback Vineyard becoming one of B.C.’s most exciting.

B.C. Client: Okanagan Crush Pad

International Pursuits:

Argiano, ItalyDomaine du Comte Liger-Belair, FranceComando G, SpainClos des Fous, Chile

Pascal Chatonnet, France

Working with wine-industry royalty in some of the most famous regions on the planet, Chatonnet ensures the poshest wines of various legendary estates don’t skip a beat, regardless of vintage. That’s some heavy responsibility. Château de Beaucastel’s been up and running since 1549; you wouldn’t want to be the one dropping the ball after almost 500 years of brand-building. My guess is the guy doesn’t come cheap, likely a factor for Oculus coming in at $135 at the BCLDB.

B.C. Client: Mission Hill Family Estate

International Pursuits:

Vega Sicilia, SpainCos d’Estournel, Pas de l’Ane, FranceChâteau de Beaucastel, France

Olivier Humbrecht, France

Humbrecht’s already got a full schedule, producing pristine premium wines at his family’s well-regarded Alsatian domaine. Up until now, he hadn’t even done any global consulting, yet the folks behind the upcoming Phantom Creek project managed to coerce him to play in our sandbox to see what he can coax out of local pinot gris and riesling. We haven’t seen any wine from Phantom Creek yet, so try his Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Riesling 2016 ($34) to see what he can do.

B.C. Client: Phantom Creek Estates

International Pursuit:

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, France

Alain Sutre, France

We hear Bordeaux-based Sutre’s name often around these parts, and based on his client roster, I’m thinking he’s not exactly into light and delicate wines. Some of our most opulent, polished big guns have his signature on ’em, including Painted Rock’s Syrah 2015 ($40), jam-packed with purple berry fruit, cocoa, bacon fat and pepper.   

B.C. Clients: Burrowing Owl, Culmina, Painted Rock, Poplar Grove

International Pursuits:

Domaine Queylus, OntarioChâteau Gruaud Larose, Château Citran, France

We’ll be adding to our Ultimate Vancouver Wine Guide over the next few months… follow along with somms’ top picks here!