BARNYARD (Part One) – BC’s First Natural Wine Festival (Victoria)
“Wine unplugged. It’s the unfiltered, untamed, unphotoshopped version of what we know wine to be. Hand picked, no additives, little or no sulphites.
It flies against the status quo. Challenges what people think is good wine”
Madeline Puckette /Wine Folly
This first natural wine festival was organized by Matt Cooke .
In 2016 Matt moved to Victoria and joined the management team at OLO Restaurant, where he quickly took over the bar, and then wine programs. The food at OLO screamed natural – which inspired him to create a largely natural wine list, which over his nearly 5 years there, grew to become arguably the most natural list in Victoria.
Matt’s passion was really in finding new and exciting wines/regions/varietals to pair up with the food and encourage OLO guests to try. Then in fall 2021 he became the Food & Beverage General Manager at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
It was a major career shift, from a 40 seat farm-to-table high end restaurant, to a 7000 person arena, but loved it. Over the course of two hockey seasons now, Matt has become confident in his role – but missed the aspect of educating people on wine, and missed his connection to the wine world. Which is where the idea for Barnyard came from.
In Fall of 2022 Matt started reaching out to his contacts from his buying days at OLO, and suggested this gathering. The response was immediate and highly supportive.
For BARNYARD they had 35 wineries/agencies attending, including 18 BC wineries and 1 Ontario winery – all with principals, and 16 import agencies. The import agencies presented a range of products from their portfolio, which allowed the festival to showcase wines from 17 other countries.
The full list of wineries and agencies is up on their website:
The guest line up for Part One:
Jay Drysdale – Bella Vineyards (Naramata Bench) https://www.bellawines.ca/
For a complete rundown of what everyone was pouring please head for
STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:
Natural Wine fest Part Two
Okanagan Wine festivals
Lt Governors Awards
District Wine Village
Wards Wine Country Kitchen