22nd Wine Expo Offers New Shopping Technology

Wine Expo chair Bill Vance is constantly looking for ways to offer local wine-lovers a first class event experience. However, even he is surprised by all that is new for the 22nd version of this popular annual event in Moncton.

“I am always looking for ways to increase enjoyment and satisfaction at the Expo,” says Vance. But for 2012, this motivation has taken him into new territory. In fact, if everything works according to plan, the 2012 World Wine & Food Expo will offer attendees a first-time-in-Canada ability to use technology to track their favourite wines.

At previous year’s Wine Expos, Vance noticed that many people use their wine catalogue to mark their favourite wines. The problem is they often lose their catalogue by the end of the event. Vance figures these people won’t go to the on-site wine store to shop because they can’t possibly remember which wines were their favourites.

For the first time, Wine Expo attendees will be able to use their smartphones to track their favourite wines.

So Vance searched and ultimately found a new software company that will allow festival attendees to use their smartphone to scan their favourites and add them to a shopping list for later reference and use at the NB Liquor on-site store.

ZapTap is a Fredericton based tech company that specializes in using smartphones to enhance the shopping/retail experience. Company president Yan Simard is excited to work with the Wine Expo, and Vance is very happy to be using local talent to do something that has never been done before.

“Bill is high-energy and he knows what he wants. He has challenged us to join him to break new ground and expand the customer experience. I think people will love our technology,” says Simard.

The 2012 Wine Expo is also offering the largest ever line-up of wine dinners during the week. These include a Gourmet tasting of food and wine prepared in conjunction with Mdme. Monique Roussel, a Cordon Bleu trained Chef and part owner of Moncton’s gourmet food shop Les Gourmandes. This dinner, which will include caviar, foie gras, Champagne and Sauternes, is a fundraiser in support of the Capitol Theatre.

Another event will feature Canada’s best-known food writer, Chef Lucy Waverman, at a fundraising dinner for the Frye Festival Foundation. Ms. Waverman is also a Cordon-Blue trained chef, has written eight cookbooks, and is currently head food writer and editor for the Globe and Mail newspaper. The Wine Expo and her support for the Frye Foundation will allow her to visit the Maritimes for the first time.

And the Wine Expo will go green this year. All posters are being printed on special biodegradable and recycled paper, and the energy used at the Coliseum Complex will be 100% offset with renewable energy thanks to event sponsor Bullfrog Power.

Vance is confident that these new “tweaks” will continue to educate, excite and entertain every local wine lover.

“We’ve been growing interest in and enjoyment of wine for 22 years. I think this year is going to be the most exciting year ever!”

Of course the rest of the week is filled with wine seminar luncheons, restaurant dinners and the ever-popular Grand Tasting sessions, which again boast a near-record selection of wines available for tasting and buying.

The four Grand Tasting sessions are scheduled for the Moncton Coliseum Complex on Friday, November 9th and Saturday, November 10th and will feature over 360 wines. Tickets are just $57.50 per person (including all taxes and fees).

Many events sold out in less than 30 minutes last year and those interested in tickets should consider buying early.

All tickets go on sale Saturday, October 6th at 10am on the tickets.moncton.ca website. A complete list of seminar, wine dinner and other event information can be obtained at www.wineexpo.ca.