Wine tasting with a social twist

Photos by Kelly J Marion --> @kellyjean247

So you think you know wine? I thought so, until I put myself to the ultimate test: a “paper bagged” pour at Wine Tasting with a Social Twist.

The premise of the event was to sample a variety of wines (nine in total) and through your palate decipher a Chardonnay from a white blend and a Merlot from a Cabernet Franc. Some people were at the event determined to win; others (like myself) were there more for the social aspect.

The event was held at the Vancouver Urban Winery, tucked away in East Vancouver near Oppenheimer Park. The Winery's industrial facade contrasts with its pleasant and cozy interior, where rows of gleaming wine glasses and a gas fireplace instantly put me at ease.

One of the most striking aspects of the event was being greeted at the door with an invitation to write our Twitter handles on namecards (not to worry — no one was turned away for not being on Twitter).

Not everyone at the event tweeted as they tested the wine, preferring the old fashioned method of talking to new people face to face. Some were even disgruntled at the fact that people were tucked away in the corner to tweet about the wine they were drinking. Overall, most engaged in a healthy balance of the two. Those attending were encourage to use the Twitter hashtag #SocialTwist as a fun way to connect with the Tinhorn Creek team and as a way to share notes and witty comments on the live streaming on the projector.

Wines poured were many from their Oldfield Series consisting of a white blend, 2Bench White, a Rosé, Merlot, Syrah, Bordeaux blend and their 2Bench Red. There were also wines from their Varietal Series: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. There were a total of nine wines poured, but the catch was there were twelve on the list to choose from. This made it extra difficult, even with written clues such as “would taste great on the patio” and “perfectly paired with a bag of buttery popcorn”.

The first pour was the easiest, as it was the only Rosé of the night, but the others weren't so easy to discern. You may have thought it was a certain wine from the smell, then changed your mind after a swish.

Chef Jeff Van Geest from Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards partnered with Vancouver's longest-standing French restaurant Le Gavroche to create some delicious canapés for the event. There was a medley of prawns, duck pate, vegetarian dishes and meatballs, with each pairing with a separate set of wines. Turn your back and you'd never know they brought out another plate; that's how quickly they were scooped up. This was partially because they all tasted fantastic, and partly because everyone was thirsty from drinking. 

Once the ballots were in, winemaker Sandra Oldfield guided tasters through the nuances of each varietal, unveiling the wines only to find out that no one had guessed all of them correctly. 

The winners of the grand prizes were:

  • Russel Ball - One-year Crush Club membership
  • Jason Chan - 2 night stay in the Tinhorn guesthouse
  • Brian Glaum - 2 tickets to Sloan at the Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Canadian Concert Series
  • Shane Chow – One-year Crush Club membership
  • Krystal Kaulbach – 2 tickets to The Boom Booms at the Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Canadian Concert Series

Other prizes included a huge bottle of wine, a beautiful bouquet of roses and Riedel glassware.  

About Tinhorn Creek Vineyards:

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards has long been a leader in the BC wine industry. It's no surpirse that part of their success is due to their active social media presence on Twitter and Facebook.

Winemaker and CEO Sandra Oldfield only tweets occasionally on behalf of the vineyard, but is an avid tweeter on her own account. She even told me that she warns everyone upon following her that she's a prolific tweeter and may take over their home feed. At last count, she had 6,000 followers.

Established in 1993, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards is located just south of Oliver B.C., in the famed Golden Mile wine-growing district. As the number one winery destination evoking classic south Okanagan terroir, Tinhorn Creek proudly offers 100% estate grown wines, growing grapes on both the Black Sage and Golden Mile benches. As the first winery in Canada to support carbon neutral measures, Tinhorn Creek continues their commitment to land stewardship, conservation and environmentally sustainable practices. Family owned and operated, Tinhorn Creek offers an unrivalled visitor experience including a self-guided tour, along with wines that rank among the best in the world, and since April 2011, the exceptional Miradoro Restaurant. For more information about Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, call 1.888.484.6467 or visit the website at

You can also follow the gang on Twitter:

@SandraOldfield, Winemaker & CEO; @Andrew_Tinhorn, Vineyard Manager Andrew Moon; @KorolKuklo Assistant Winemaker; @linzyw, Marketing Coordinator Lindsey White; @mbuschleague, Sales Manager Mark Butschler; and @winegirljules, Sales & Marketing Manager Julie Copland-Stene.

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