The 40th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival will kick off next month, running from February 24th to March 4th

Boasting 173 wineries from 15 countries coming to pour wine at 51 events over the eight days, there is truly something for everyone at the 2018 Vancouver International Wine Festival.

Each year there is a theme country, and the 2018 edition will feature wines from Iberian Peninsula neighbours Spain and Portugal.

Overwhelmed? Don’t worry! Here is a breakdown of some of the main attractions and what to look for when tickets go on sale to the public on January 10th...


1. Festival tastings

Vancouver International Wine FestivalChristine McAvoyThe International Festival Tastings are probably the best bang for your buck. You can choose from three evenings (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) from 7 to 10 p.m., or the matinee on the Saturday from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday night or Saturday afternoon is usually a smaller attendance and you will have more room to move around and speak to the wine makers. There’s also a BC Liquor wine shop, where you can try and nab your favourite bottles (another reason to go on Thursday!).
There are snacks available, but nothing substantial, so make sure you eat before you go—and, of course, don’t drink and drive (there are free transit tickets available!).


2. Winery dinners

Vancouver International Wine FestivalChristine McAvoyThere are so many Winery Dinners to choose from over the festival week—which match excellent Vancouver restaurants with wineries from all over the world. If you prefer to have your wines paired, and to have a full sit-down meal, a winery dinner is for you. You can make your pick by the wine style (from region to grape), or base it on the restaurant. Either way, you can’t really go wrong!


3. Savour Spain

Vancouver International Wine FestivalChristine McAvoyThe real kick-off to the festival (outside of the annual Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction) will be Savour Spain—a party featuring Spanish wine and tapas. Each year the theme country gets a welcome party and it’s a great way to get introduced to the region. Again this is a ‘grazing’ event and not a full meal, so plan accordingly!


4. Have lunch

Vancouver International Wine FestivalChristine McAvoyIf lunch is more your thing, you have quite a few options on the Saturday of the festival. PICA is having a kitchen party; there are two sit-down lunches (at either La Terrazza or LIFT Bar & Grill) with full wine pairings; or you can try the grazing lunch featuring the wines of Spain and Portugal. Each has its benefits, but the grazing lunch always has great food and a plethora of winemakers to chat with—plus amazing views of the North Shore!


Go for brunch

Vancouver International Wine FestivalChristine McAvoyA highlight of the festival that will definitely sell out is the Vintners Brunch. It’s the last event of the week and one of the most popular. Restaurants and caterers each pair a dish with a specific wine of the world, and you can help decide the People’s Choice Award. Not only do you get to taste so many different foods and wines, there’s also a live band and dancing after the meal is over. Don’t hesitate on this one!