UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 11 | July
Sage source for tasting rare BC wines
Bistro's cellar sports some star-quality wines
by Don Wells staff writer
The surging popularity of both water from France and wine from
Canada represents a rather peculiar shift in gastronomic convention.
While the former is indeed puzzling, the latter surely is not, especially
for anyone who has followed the success of some of BC's upstart
wineries. Sadly, however, the problem is one of availability.
Campus oenophiles frustrated by the dearth of BC's best can take
heart. Sage Bistro in the University Centre is truly an oasis, particularly
for those perpetually on the lookout for all-too-rare vintages from
the Okanagan's Blue Mountain and Burrowing Owl vineyards.
For the most part, these wines can only be purchased from the
vintner or in select private stores and fine restaurants. Enter
Gary Edmundson, University Centre manager and the visionary behind
the resurgence of the former Faculty Club as a popular lunch destination.
The former chef at Star Anise insists that the task of building
a cellar is never complete. But how does he manage to outperform
virtually every other Vancouver eatery for both availability and
"I've got a lot of friends," he says wryly. "I also stay on top
of allocations and date of releases, and when I find something I
like, I take big hits."
How big? The 1996 Blue Mountain striped label reserve pinot noir
has long been sold out, but Edmundson is still sitting on a sizable
allotment. And the punchline is that he insists on a mere ten-dollar
mark-up, rather than the 100-to-150 per cent that is the industry
Recently, Edmundson initiated a tapas menu and patio service from
3:30 p.m., enabling those for whom lunch is a desk-bound activity
to quaff a carafe in natural splendour and with culinary elegance.