The building it's in is absolutely gorgeous. From the outside it looks like a warehouse, but as soon as you get to the gorgeous, massive wood doors with vintage handles, you know the inside is going to be something special. Think Gastown with brick and exposed beams, but instead of a tiny, corridor restaurant you have 40 foot ceilings and a space big enough to hold a wedding in. At one end is the storage space for the wine with rows of wine barrels, at the other end is the wine bar and gift shop, and in between you have gorgeous wooden long tables, couches, and chairs. Word on the street is that the building used to be an old Ironworks and my favourite part was that they'd taken this old piece of machinery that was on 3 foot wide iron beams which spanned the width of the building and turned it into a light fixture. One day I'm going to have one of those!
Okay, now on to the fun part, the wine! They must have had at least 30 different wines on tap. They're brought in by the barrel and then hooked up to a keg system that is similar to what you would see for beers on tap. The neat thing about this system is it doesn't let any air get in. That way each and every glass is like it's coming straight from a fresh bottle. Brilliance! All of the wines are BC wines, including Vancouver Urban Winery's own label, the Roaring Twenties. They sourced the grapes from South America but make and bottle the wine right in the Dunlevy location.
Now, here comes the interesting part. As the winery has a winery license and not a liquor license, they can only serve one ounce tastings and cannot serve wine by the glass or the bottle. So, the whole premise is that you go and have wine tastings! You can choose from one of their five pre-set tastings of five wines for $12-15, or you can do individual tastings for $2.50 each. Also, on Thursdays and Fridays you can get a tasting board that is designed to go with the Sommelier's wine tasting for an additional $10. You can also order the boards separately even if you don't order the Sommelier's wine tasting.
Both the wine and the boards were scrumptious! I was surprisingly impressed with the Roaring Twenties label. My only warning is that I don't think they aerate the reds as they pour them. So, if you don't give them a very liberal swirl, your first taste will taste like it came straight out of the bottle. As for the boards, the food on them was amazing! Ours had Island brie cheese from Little Qualicum cheeseworks, Alpindon cheese from the Kootenay Alpine Cheese Co, Triple Fennel salami and Sour Tuscan salami from Two Rivers Meats, and Sea Salted Caramello Chocolate from Urge Chocolates. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. My only disappointment was how little of each there was. We were forewarned about this, but it would be nice if they designed a larger sharing platter that you could nibble on while enjoying your wine.
Before we get to the pictures, I really have to rave about the Urge chocolates. They are the type of chocolates that make you stop what you're doing and focus on the flavours in your mouth as soon as you pop one in. We were lucky enough to be offered a sample of the chocolate-covered seafoam in addition to the chocolate that came on our platters...it was out of this world! My explanations won't do it justice, so I suggest just trying it. Rumour has it that they can be found it the Gourmet Warehouse, Urban Fare and the wine shop in Sutton Place. And keep your fingers crossed that you happen to bump into the fellow who makes the chocolates. He's as nice on the eyes as the chocolate is to your mouth!
Needless to say, I highly recommend getting your butt down to Vancouver Urban Winery!
Now that's my kind of table!
My view from our table. Look at all those taps! And, the view behind the bar wasn't too shabby either.
The tasting menu.
My Seeing Red flight! My favourites were the Roaring Twenties Malbec and the Sperling Market Red. Interesting fact: Sperling vineyards is connected to Pioneer Country Market in Kelowna where I had my delicious Spudnut in September.