Fast Food 

Million-dollar wine challenge coming

Saturday’s Grad Tour de France wine tasting at the Roundhouse Lodge brings some of best known names in French wines to Whistler, but next year much of the wine world will be in Vancouver for the Chardonnay of the Century — Million Dollar Challenge.

The contest is the creation of UBC professor Dr. Hennie van Vuuren, director of the B.C. Wine Research Centre. The centre was created two years ago and operates as part of the UBC agriculture faculty. It works in partnership with the scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Davis, the University of Bordeaux, the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre at Summerland, Okanagan University College and the wine industry. The centre’s purpose is to elevate the quality and visibility of Canadian wine. That’s where the contest comes in.

The competition is intended to not only honour the world’s finest chardonnays but to also allow staff at the centre to conduct research on the best examples of chardonnay.

Some big names in the wine world have signed on for the competition, including John Avery, chairman of the Institute of Wine Masters in London, and New York Times wine editor Frank Prial. Total prize purse will be $1 million, with the top wine awarded $500,000. The competition is expected to be held every four years in Vancouver, with the focus on a different varietal each time.

Meanwhile, get up to the Roundhouse Saturday between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. for Select Wine Merchants’ special event. Tickets are $65, available through Whistler Mountain’s Guest Relations.

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