Wine Maven: Northern Lands

Shaw Convention Centre, May 2-6, 2017

by Mary Bailey

Northern Lands is a stellar opportunity to explore wine, craft beer and artisan spirits. The inaugural event, held two years ago, was a remarkable gathering of food and wine people from across the country. Chefs, winemakers, winery owners, brewers, distillers and lovers of great food and drink gathered for a jam-packed weekend of tasting, seminars and dinners.

This May, wine lovers will have the opportunity to do it all again. Not only will we be able to taste wine from Canadian wineries from coast to coast, we will also experience the best in craft brews and artisan distilleries.

Along with what is billed as the largest all-Canadian wine and culinary festival, Northern Lands has partnered with Vinitaly to bring a program of tastings, winemaker dinners and informative seminars to Edmonton.

Vinitaly, called the quintessential showcase for Italian wine, is held in Verona every year to gather buyers and sellers of fine Italian wine under one roof. It is a massive undertaking which requires an iron constitution and several shots of espresso to see you through each day. The Northern Land/Vinitaly collaborative experience is a rare opportunity to engage with the winemakers and principals in a more intimate setting.

The opportunities to taste something great are unique and varied. There are two public tastings on Tuesday and Saturday evening, several seminars and master classes and winemaker dinners featuring selected wineries and top chefs. As well, there are two afternoon tastings expressly for those in the hospitality trade giving them the opportunity to learn more about the wines, spirits and beers.

Not only will all the principals be at the trade tastings, there are prizes to be won to encourage registration. (Details under Trade Only)

Meet the Pros

Valentina Abbona
Valentina’s family makes wine on hallowed ground—Piedmont (Piemonte) in northwest Italy. The Marchesi di Barolo wines, Dolcetto, Barolo and Barbarresco, are beautifully balanced, elegant rather than hearty, sublime examples of their region.

Lorenzo Marotti-Campi enjoys a glass of wine with Lisa Caputo (Cibo Bistro)

Lorenzo Marotti-Campi
Lorenzo makes soulful wines on the east coast of Italy from grapes most people have never heard of, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Lacrima di Morro d’Alba. The Lacrima finds expression in the Orgiolo Lacrima di Morro d’Alba Superiore, a full-bodied red with fine and persistent tannins. “Lacrima was disappearing because it is so hard to grow,” says Lorenzo.

Vinitaly Edmonton Grand Tasting il Piacere del Gusto Italiano, $85/person
Tuesday, May 2, 6:00pm-9:30pm

The night is dedicated to Italian wine and spirits.
Over 40 wineries from Italy, all with winemakers or principals, will be in attendance for a deliciously Italian night with food by Corso 32’s Daniel Costa.

Meet Your Makers $95/person
Saturday, May 6, 5:30pm-9:30pm

Taste over 50 craft brewers, distillers and wineries and delicious treats from 30 chefs during a walk-around tasting celebrating the best in Canadian wine and food.

Seminars and Master Classes
Check the website for up to the moment listings but we do know that Vinitaly’s scientific director Ian D’Agata and Rys Pender MW will be presenting sessions.

Over 30 top-notch chefs from around the country will be in town to cook for us, including Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver; Roger Sleiman, Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate, Kelowna; Mark Gray, Brooklyn Warehouse, Halifax; Cam Dobranski, Winebar Kensington, Calgary; Darren MacLean, Shokunin, Calgary and Daniel Costa, Corso 32; Blair Lebsack, Rge Rd; Kathryn Joel and Doreen Prei, Get Cooking from Edmonton. Visit the website for the latest in dinner news.

Sponsor a Visiting Chef
Help defray expenses of the visiting chefs through a sponsorship, $2,500, contact

What you get:

  • Two complimentary VIP tickets to the Meet Your Makers tasting event on May 6.
  • Two complimentary tickets to the sponsored chef’s wine makers dinner on Friday, May 5, complete with a photo opportunity with the chef.
  • Acknowledgement in the program.
  • Sponsor’s logo at the chef ’s station at Meet your Makers.
  • Listing on event website with a link to the sponsor’s website.
A sampling of the wines available for tasting at Northern Lands.

Trade Only
Up your skills and further your wine knowledge at the main trade tastings Tuesday and Saturday and attend informative seminars and master classes. If you work in a wine shop or a restaurant, or sell wine, spirits or beer for a living, this is where you want to be:

Vinitaly Canada Trade Tasting (Italy) Tuesday, May 2, 1pm-4pm
Taste wines from classic Italian regions such as Piedmont and Tuscany as well as wines from less well-known areas such as Sicily, Sardinia and le Marche. Not only are you able to taste several products not available in Alberta right now, you will be able to chat with the winemakers and principals in an intimate, low-key environment.

Meet Your Makers Trade Tasting (Canada) Saturday, May 6, 1pm-4pm.
Meet outstanding Canadian producers of fine wine from across the country including Nova Scotia, as well as craft beers and artisan spirits.

Here is your chance to get to get up-close and personal with the most innovative, interesting and iconoclastic Canadian winemakers and growers on the scene today.

Seminars and Master Classes
Winemakers, principals, masters of wine and international wine journalists offer their knowledge and perspective on wine. Some of the classes are tastings, some are panel discussions and all are informative and worthwhile of your time.

Here’s the sweetener: register for the trade tastings and you are able to attend the seminars and master classes at no additional charge. Don’t hesitate! (First come first served basis.)

Win Stuff!

Win a trip to Vinitaly 2018!
Purchase your $10 trade ticket for the Vinitaly Tuesday Trade Tasting and you will be entered for a chance to win roundtrip airfare to Verona, Italy including five nights accommodation and daily entry passes to Vinitaly 2018.

Remember you must come in person and have your ticket scanned to be eligible for the prize.

Win a trip to Niagara or Kelowna!
Purchase your $5 trade ticket for the Northern Lands Canadian Trade Tasting and you will be entered for a chance to win roundtrip airfare to Kelowna including two nights accommodation. Or, win roundtrip airfare to Toronto and two nights accommodation in Niagara (two separate draws).
Remember you must come in person and have your ticket scanned to be eligible for the prize.

Early Bird Draws for Trade

Live in the Edmonton area?
Purchase your ticket to the Northern Lands Canadian Trade tasting by January 31 and be entered to win a mixed case of Canadian wine.

Live anywhere else?
Out-of-town trade who register for the Northern Lands Canadian Trade Tasting and purchase their ticket by January 31 will be entered to win two nights accommodation (May 5, 6) at The Westin Edmonton and two tickets to the Saturday, May 6, Meet Your Makers Consumer Event featuring all participating producers and chefs.

The Canadian Trade tasting is sponsored by the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario, Winery Association of Nova Scotia and the British Columbia Wine Institute.

Visit for the latest information and tickets for every event including the trade tastings.

Mary Bailey photos