Let’s start off with a bit of a history lesson, shall we?
The Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival (RMWFF) got its start 20 years ago by three rag-tag friends working as beer brand reps in Ontario. After attending beverage trade shows out east, it struck them that they could do the same thing out in Calgary, where such an event didn’t yet exist. It was a “rocky” start (pun intended) but in 1997, the first annual Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival was hosted, with 30 booths and 1000 guests.
As a self-professed “ideas man”, Mike realized he could use the help of Cathy Cook, event planner extraordinaire and our Festival Director. With Cathy’s help, the second RMWFF grew to 60 booths in its second year, and 120 booths in the fourth.
Fast forward to today, the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival has grown to a staff of 16 and has become one of Alberta’s largest and most anticipated wine and food events, with hundreds of booths and over 25, 000 guests each year. During the Festival, guests sample and learn about a variety of different beverages like fine wines, premium spirits and quality beers. On top of that, local chefs from the best restaurants in the province are in attendance, serving up delicious fare to pair with the wonderful assortment of beverages.
But it doesn’t stop there. After a few Festivals and hundreds of samples later, the owners started to learn a thing or two about wine, spirits, and beer. They took over Winefest in 2007, expanded the event to Edmonton, and recently opened up Rocky Mountain Wine, Spirits & Beer, a Calgary liquor store which will keep the fun going all year round, not just on Festival weekends.
So there you have it: the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival history in a nutshell. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that great things happen when you mix good people with a little wine.