Tomorrow, Quebec City’s very first Salon des vins et spiritueux (site in French only) will open, providing wine lovers and professionals from the region (and beyond) with a first event of this scale. Organizers have managed to get a lot of people on board, showcasing a higher number of industry participants than the Montreal Salon, which was, up to now, the only one in Quebec.
Of course, it remains to be seen if the Quebec City Salon – set to alternate with its Montreal counterpart, presented every second year – will attract a comparable crowd. But organizers can be proud of the program they have put together. Some 80 companies, from Vincor (a Constellation subsidiary) to small private-import agencies, will be present at the Salon, along with over 70 producers from 30 countries represented by winemakers and other staff.
Among the guests will be the likes of Sandrine Garbay, the head winemaker at the incomparable Sauternes producer Château Yquem, and Thomas Perrin, from Château de Beaucastel, one of the most respected producers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Large and small estates like Torres, Caves de Rasteau, Domaine Guiberteau, Château Guiraud, Château Climens, Pago del Vicario, Château Philippe-le-Hardi and Le Grand Vallat will be present to showcase their products, to name only a few.
Activities will take place well beyond the boundaries of the Salon itself, with about twenty winemaker dinners taking place in the city. Walter Gretzky will be at the Château Frontenac to represent his famous son’s Niagara estate, while Jean-Pierre Colas of Peninsula Ridge will be at a restaurant called Le Canard Goulu, Romain Guiberteau at Laurie Raphaël, while Ingo Grady, of Mission Hill, will serve 5 of the estate’s wines at the Aviatic-Club.
Organizers have vowed to make the event accessible, with fun events like demonstrations of “sabrage” de champagne – i.e. opening bottles with an actual saber. Conferences on every subject are programmed, including one with Sandrine Garbay where free samples of Yquem will be served. Just that, in itself, may be worth the price of entry.
I can’t wait. Just thinking of all the tasting notes I’ll get out of those three days is enough to make my head spin…