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Urban sophistication, intimate setting

Apres restaurant a reflection of the quality food and wine the region produces

My immediate reaction, walking in to the new Apres restaurant on Main street, is Wow! The room, which occupies the space which used to house Mailboxes Etc., has been transformed into a sophisticated and elegant 56-seat dining room. The decor, a contemporary design of clean lines with curved accents, is decidedly sexy and urban. When lit by candle light in the evening, the atmosphere is at once inviting and intimate.

This is precisely what Apres strives to offer its patrons, a welcoming environment conducive to the enjoyment of good food and wine, with one major distinction, all the food and all the wine hails from the West Coast. Manager Marcus Sawatsky, is excited about the opportunity to highlight the bounty of our region.

"This area yields world class products from the ground, the ocean and the bottle," he explains enthusiastically, "we are proud of B.C. in the world of food and wine and we want to share that with everyone."

The restaurant is the creation of partners Chris Cheney and Julia McKinnell. After finding the space they began working to transform it into a restaurant last summer. They opened Apres over the Christmas holidays.

After the initial once over I begin to notice how function follows form. The walls, a mixture of colours, frosted glass and backlit wine bottles, house a subtle display of wine preservation and storage systems. The extensive wine list, which includes more than 40 different wines available by the glass, is made up entirely of vintages from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. The list is organized according to geographical region, complete with maps of each major wine producing area.

For the initiate to the wine world, this additional information helps to understand the interplay between climate, soil and grape type that contribute to the myriad of wines available. With such an extensive but concentrated focus on local vineyards, Marcus hopes to get people more comfortable with sampling different wines and trying new ones. Indeed, the list includes a selection of different wines in two ounce portions for a set price, also called "flights" of wine.

Sampling a flight of wine provides an opportunity to try different wines with similar vintages (or sometimes the same wine with different vintages) to get an idea of how aroma and taste can vary. Currently, Marcus has selected three different flights to choose from: west coast Chardonnay, pacific Pinot Noir and big red blends from the Americas. His interest is in educating people about wine in an interactive environment so the flights represent contrasting styles of wine. Wine aficionados will be pleasantly surprised by the reasonable pricing of wines.

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