Wine Fest is back for its 42nd year of showcasing wines from around the world
France is this year’s theme region for the Vancouver International Wine Festival, running from Saturday, February 22 to Sunday, March 1 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. There's also an emphasis on rosé—so go ahead and use the hashtag #RoséAllDay throughout the week.
In addition, there are bottles from 15 countries and 163 wineries over the eight days and since there are 57 events happening, we’ve broken down the festival to give you some guidance on where to fill your glass...
1. Bacchanalia Gala
Christine McAvoyEvery year, the Bacchanalia Gala kicks off the festival and this time it’s taking place on Saturday, February 22. Guests will get to put on their finest, bid on rare wines and items at the auction, and make their way through some of the best wine and food of the festival. Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival is once again the beneficiary partner of the VIWF, so it’s all for a great cause.
2. Wine Minglers
Christine McAvoyThree different Wine Minglers are taking place this year and the first one, Ca c'est cool is a kickoff for the theme country of France. California Crush is back, and remember when we mentioned rosé? There’s a whole Saturday mingler called Rah, Rah Rosé dedicated to it. The parties are a great way to try a lot of wines in a more intimate room than the big tasting room, and generally also include food and entertainment.
3. Winery Dinners
Christine McAvoyThe Winery Dinners tend to sell out quickly, so you have to jump on them now! You get an intimate dinner, with the winemakers, at restaurants all over the city featuring dishes and vino that have been carefully paired. Now, will you choose your favourite restaurant or a winery that you’ve always wanted to sample?
Christine McAvoyThink of yourself as a wine connoisseur? An amateur sommelier in the making? Well, you can further you wine know-how at several seminars the general public can attended throughout the festival. Sign up for Wine 101 on grape varietals or regions alongside winemakers and experts.
5. Lunches & Brunch
throughout the festival, and the Vintners Brunch
on the last day of the long wine week, are some of the best events of the festival. This year, there’s a rosé brunch, the annual PICA Kitchen Party, and a few other spectacular wine and food pairings mid-afternoon to enjoy. They are some of the most popular events, and the annual Vintners Brunch always sells out. The brunch is my favourite event of the festival as it wraps up the entire week with 14 restaurants/caterers matched with wineries to create a dish and wine pairing. Last year’s winner was Bauhaus Restaurant and Louis M Martini Winery, and there is always a judges' and a people’s choice award, so you too can vote for your favourite.
6. Tasting Room
The busiest spot for consumers during the week is the International Festival Tastings
. Your ticket gives you endless options for wines to sample and winemakers to meet, as the wineries fill the big room at the Convention Centre corner to corner. The room can be overwhelming, so I suggest trying something from each country and then going from there!. And definitely check out the rosé booth. If you want a little reprieve from the crowds and lines, try the Delta Airlines Tasting Lounge, which gives you access to the main room, but your ticket gets you an exclusive place to sip and sit and snack in comfort as well.