Cornucopia seminars offer diverse learning 

Discussion leaders to deliver talks on a wide range of beverage topics

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Those who remember the name Tom Vu will conjure up memories of his infomercial pushing wealth dreamers to attend his seminar to learn how to get rich fast.

"Come to my seminar," says the friendly Vietnamese entrepreneur, who came to the USA and created a system that brought him great wealth through real estate. With his excited, yet controlled delivery he'd be a fun pitchperson for the long list of seminars offered during Cornucopia.

Vu would have the masses lined up for the Cornucopia seminars with titles like "All You Need is Cheese" and "Absinthe — Risk or Reward?" or one of the many wine discussions.

The Cornucopia seminars will fill up without a fast-talking promoter like Vu because the festival organizers have pulled together an impressive list of industry experts to deliver talks on everything from gin and rum to beer. Vu moved on from real estate and more recently made a name for himself in the professional poker world. Unlike Vu's seminars in the late '80s, these seminars are a solid bet.

Barbara Philip, a Master of Wine, and her husband Iain Philip, a wine educator, will lead a seminar called "The Next Big Thing — Wine Trends" on Saturday, Nov. 16.

Barbara Philip says she loves delivering seminars and notes the sessions she delivers with her husband don't lull participants into a sleepy state.

"We have the greatest props ever," she says from her Vancouver office.

Of course, she's referring to the wine used in the seminars delivered by the couple.

"It just adds a depth to it, a depth of fun, a depth of interest," Philip says.

"One of the best things is to look at people's faces and just see the light bulbs go on," says Philip as she explains what she gets from the audiences she works with and the individuals discover something they didn't know before or fall in love with a wine they previously didn't appreciate.

Kurtis Kolt is another seminar presenter. One of his topics will be craft beer. Whether he's talking about wine or beer Kolt says he likes to keep things casual.

"I like to share my enthusiasm and my goal is to communicate to people why certain wines or styles excite me," he says a week out from Cornucopia.

He compares learning about beverages to understanding art.

"Once you learn a little bit more you get a little bit more out of it and appreciate it more," says Kolt.

The seminars primarily take place at the Whistler Conference Centre with costs starting at $29 and rising from there. Check the Cornucopia website for more information on the various seminars on offer.



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