Cornucopia: An Educational Experience Like No Other

Author: Tina Wickman, Cornucopia Graduate

In the midst of the fall season when snow seekers in the western hemisphere are praying to the snow god Ullr, Whistler prepares for the kick-off of Cornucopia, the ultimate food, drink and party celebration of the season. With a stretch of the imagination, you could even credit Cornucopia as the educational experience of the season.

For 11 days from November 7 to 17, you will find food and drink lovers doing just that as they descend on Whistler to fit in as many educational experiences as possible. Yes, Cornucopia is an educational playground filled with seminars, signature tastings, demonstrations, brunches, lunches and comedy functions.

Here are a few pointers to guide you to get the most out of your Cornucopia education:

Orientation commences November 7

“Time is precious. Waste it wisely”. The greatest gift you can give yourself is time. Book a few extra days and arrive early.

Kicking off Cornucopia on Thursday, November 7 is perennial sellout House Party: Best of BC. Arrive with an appetite, as the Four season’s SIDECUT Modern Steak+Bar dishes out their famous BBQ feast, with an evening featuring all that’s great in BC including wine, spirits and beer. The house party atmosphere blends itself well for mingling with fellow “classmates”, presenters and industry experts. This introduction “course” is the perfect fit for including your stubborn friends who don’t believe wine is the elixir of life.

Book your Seminars early

While these aren’t your typical classroom topics, Drink Seminars are held in both traditional sit down setting and interactive stand up style. But which seminar should you add to your course calendar? Should you major in Chianti Classico with a minor in Rosé Unbound? Perhaps geography from the land down under at Australia and South Africa Wine Revolutions? Brush up on Canadian history at Lords of the Dirt: The Quebec Revolution. Or if the discipline of chemistry tickles your fancy, why not add Cocktails & Canapés to your schedule.

Binge the Culinary Stage

Many students will admit to procrastination tactics like watching back-to-back episodes on Netflix, but the Culinary Stage series offers a guilt free way to get your fix. With a flick of the imagination, you’re transformed to the audience of the Cooking Network, watching the action unfold live. Take a deep dive into the future of food at Lost Feast, where author Lenore Newman teams up with Chef Neal Harkins on topics featured in her book Lost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food. Intrigued with food and drink pairings? Add the double feature Cicerone vs Sommelier to your programming; a heated competition between Beer and Wine. Who will win? You be the judge!

Get some food for thought

If you’re a fan of fast food and conveniently show up friend’s houses at dinnertime, you could benefit from the Nourish: Health + Wellness series. Looking to increase your strength for the upcoming ski season, or simply wish to undo some of the vino from the night before? Sign up for ski Olympian Britt Janyk Tilston’s instructional brunch Fun Fuelling for Wellness and Strength, or Chef Wolfgang Sterr’s vegetarian brunch.

Let your hair down

Suffering a little educational overdose? Time to give the mind a rest and cut loose at one of Cornucopia’s Parties. Dance up a storm at With a Twist Silent Disco, kick back for a few laughs at Comedy Kitchen or breakout the Pop Culture fashion trends and party it up at the Abstract: Warhol Factory Party.

Celebrate your Graduation

Reach for the Oxford cap and gown or just go “Whistler Casual” – every graduation should be celebrated, and Cornucopia’s Signature Tastings are the events to toast your accomplishments.

Sip, savour and sample your way through the evening at the flagship event CRUSH Grand Tasting or get spirited at the all-encompassing Poured Grand Tasting.

New to this year’s signature tastings is an event that is sure to be an evening to be remembered – Sashay, Fillet! Whistler. Watch as the creative minds of food and drag intermingle in front of your eyes as a line-up of talented west coast chefs pair up with equally talented drag queens for an unforgettable night of tasty food and mesmerizing performances.

Enroll now

With over 100 events available, Cornucopia is a must-attend for scholars aspiring be the culinary and beverage connoisseur of their social circle. Enroll now – tickets available here.

Announcing the Top 20 Wines for 2019

A panel of 11 esteemed industry experts has announced the Top 20 wines for Cornucopia 2019. Every winery participating in Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial, was given the opportunity to enter their choice of wines into the Top 20 competition, which were then judged in a closed, blind tasting by a diverse panel of professionals hailing from Whistler and Vancouver.

The results are now in! Sample these outstanding wines and more at Cornucopia’s flagship event CRUSH Grand Tasting – tickets are on sale now.

The Top 20 wines for 2019 are:

Top Bubble: Okanagan Crush Pad Haywire Vintage Bub 2013

Top White: Fort Berens Estate Winery Chardonnay 2018

Top Red: Tenuta Di Fessina Etna Rosso DOC ‘Erse’ 2015

Best of the Rest, in alphabetical order:

Antinori Guado Al Tasso il Bruciato Bolgheri 2016
Barossa Valley Estate GSM 2016
C.C. Jentsch Cellars Syrah 2016
Champagne Lelarge-Pugeot Extra Brut Tradition NV
Covert Farms Family Estate Winery Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Echo Bay Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2016
Fontanafredda Gavi di Gavi 2017
Harper’s Trail Estate Winery Chardonnay Sparkling 2016
Harper’s Trail Estate Winery Silver Mane Block Riesling 2018
Hope Family Wines Treana Red 2015
Howling Bluff Estate Winery Three Mile Creek Pinot Noir 2017
Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio 2016
Piaggia Pietranera Carmignano IGT Toscana 2016
Quails’ Gate Winery Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay 2017
Skaha Vineyard Pinot Blanc 2018
Stag’s Hollow Winery Renaissance Merlot 2016
Urlar Select Parcels Pinot Noir 2014

Cornucopia Is For Wine Lovers

There are around 100 food and drink events at Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial, our 11-day celebration held November 7-17, 2019 in Whistler, BC. With so many events to choose from we know that even the most experienced of our Cornucopia family can suffer from fear-of-missing-out whilst designing their festival experience, and so we are here to provide a gentle guiding hand.

The real beauty of Cornucopia is that there are no rules. Pick and choose events depending on your taste and style, attend as many as you can or dabble here and there whilst enjoying the fresh mountain air of Whistler. Just don’t forget to bring your palate, party attire, and pals!

This is the first of our guides to help you navigate what’s on offer over this year, and we are dedicating this one to the drink that started it all – wine, oh glorious wine. There are wine tastings, multi-course luncheons with wine pairings, seminars, demonstrations, winemaker dinners and more. Here are our recommendations, if you appreciate a good drop:

CRUSH Grand Tasting | November 9

This is our flagship tasting event happening on the first weekend of the festival; a must-attend for any wine-lover. We get 70+ wineries in one place, each pouring the bottles that they wish to showcase. Sample and savour as you desire; it’s like creating your dream wine list! CRUSH Grand Tasting is lively, dynamic, and a great opportunity to discover a new favourite.

Pro tip: Opt for the CRUSH Early Entry ticket to be among the first to access the Grand Tasting room.

Cellar Door Grand Tasting | November 8

This is a similar style event to CRUSH, but with a key difference – all wines are top-shelf bottles (valued $25 and up, with many retailing much higher). Some are rare and difficult to find, but our on-site Liquor Store allows you to purchase your favourites on the night. Cellar Door is an intimate evening of exploration and savouring.

Pro tip: We’re offering value packages with our partners at Get your CRUSH and Cellar Door tickets with accommodation, all from $155 per person per night (hint hint… it’s as if you’re getting free accommodation).

Chefs Table Luncheons

We’ve invited some of the best chefs from renowned restaurants to prepare multi-course luncheons, held in some of the most impressive private homes in Whistler (which will remain secret until you are chauffeured there). Each chef partners with a winery of their choosing, and you’ll have the unique chance to meet the chefs and winemakers as you work your way through a special wine-paired menu. On the roster is:

Edible Canada with Tin Horn Creek | November 9
Wildebeest with Siren’s Call | November 9
Orgio Club | November 10
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar | November 16
Chef Rich Francis from the Red Chef Revival with Indigenous World Wines | November 16

Pro tip: Book now, these sell fast.

Culinary Stage Series

The culinary stage is a place where chefs and drink experts share their passion, expertise and skills with you. It’s like being at a live cooking show, and you get to enjoy all the creations – with drink pairings! There are varying themes, but the wine-lover in you could enjoy these:

Ethical Kitchen And Fort Berens Estate Winery | November 10
The Shape Of Wine Performance Riedel Tasting | November 10
Balancing Flavours with Chef Alana Maas And Lang Vineyards | November 16
Cicerone Vs Sommelier | November 16

Pro tip: The Culinary Stage events are wonderful value. Most tickets are $43 each and include multi-course menus with drink pairings. The Riedel Tasting is higher as you will take home some premium Riedel glassware, valued at $163.

Wine Seminars

We challenge you to find a more enjoyable topic for a seminar! Presented by some of the most passionate professionals in the business, there are around 25 wine seminars dedicated to arming you with engaging conversation for your next date or dinner party. You’ll find seminars such as Top Value Wines, Wine & Junk Food Reloaded, Discover Chianti Classico: An Italian Legend, BC Varietal Showdown, Wine & Charcuterie ft. Oyama Sausage Co., and the popular Pajama Party IV: Rosés and PJs (yes, everyone does wear pyjamas!)

Pro tip: As the list is so vast, the best way to see the topics and times at a glance is to visit our 2019 Schedule and filter by “Seminar”.

Winemaker Dinners

To conclude the festival roundup dedicated to our family of wine-lovers (if you’ve come this far, that includes you!), there are a number of winery dinners hosted by some of Whistler’s top restaurants. You are in for a treat as Araxi, Il Caminetto, The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, SIDECUT at the Four Seasons, and Aura at Nita Lake Lodge have some very special evenings planned for you.

Did you hear? The Scandinave Spa is hosting an indulgent evening Bubble Bath on November 8, where you’ll sip Champagne, enjoy canapés, and relax in the spa’s steam rooms, saunas and pools.

Ready to start planning? Here are our tips:

Cornucopia awarded “Best Wine Festival/Event”

We’re honored you voted us “Best Wine Festival/Event” in The Georgia Straight 2019 Golden Plates awards, for the second year running.

If you’re yet to see what the fuss is about, join us in Whistler November 7-17, 2019 for the ultimate celebration of bold tastes.