Thirsty? Vancouver International Wine Fest 2013 Preview

Photo courtesy of Vancouver International Wine Festival. Photos by Dave Niddrie –

Chardonnay lovers, raise your glasses.

The lineup for the 2013 Vancouver International Wine Festival, Feb. 25-March 3, has been announced, and this year’s focus is everyone’s favourite crisp, refreshing white wine, Chardonnay.  The 35th instalment of the annual wine fest (one of the world’s biggest) will feature 180 wineries from 15 countries, with a special focus on California, the theme region.  All told, an astounding 1,701 different wines will be poured over the course of seven days.

The festival features more than 60 events, from lavish wine-paired dinners, lunches and brunches at top Vancouver restaurants to wine seminars where you can brush up on your oenology (that’s the study and science of wine) and a gala auction in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver featuring some of the world’s rarest and most coveted vintage bottles.

But the unquestioned highlight is the International Festival Tasting Room at the Vancouver Convention Centre (Feb. 28, March 1 and March 2).  Thousands of wine lovers descend on the Centre every year for a wild night that’s equal parts party and wine tasting.  This year, hundreds of wineries will be serving 790 wines from around the world in one enormous ballroom – a can’t-miss event for anyone who enjoys an occasional tipple ($85 in advance; $95 regular price).

Photo courtesy of Vancouver International Wine Festival. Photos by Dave Niddrie –

Each festival highlights a different global wine region, and this year’s theme region happens to be right next door.  California’s viticultural history dates all the way back to the 18th century, when Spanish missionaries planted the region’s first vines.

But it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that California got serious about making world-class wines. (The turning point came in 1976, when California vintners topped their French counterparts in red and white categories at the Judgement of Paris wine competition.)  Today, there are around 1,200 wineries in the state, more than 60 of which will be in attendance at the Vancouver Wine Fest (including Robert Mondavi and Francis Ford Coppola wineries, among many others).

Tickets for events go on sale Jan. 8 (The International Festival Tasting Rooms tend to sell out fast).  For all the details on the 2013 Vancouver International Wine Festival and to purchase tickets, check out the official website.

Any wine lovers out there?  What’s your favourite wine fest event? 

Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond?  Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza. 


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