2012 Playhouse Wine Festival Preview (Tix on sale today)

With holiday hangovers still fresh, wine is probably the last thing on your mind.  But it’s never too early to start thinking about the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.

This year’s festival – one of the biggest ever – is coming up Feb. 27-March 4.  Tickets go on sale Jan. 10, and the most popular events always sell out fast.  Here’s the low down on what to expect. 

First of all, the festival is hands-down the premier wine show in Canada.  This year, the week-long gala will feature 181 wineries from 15 different countries.  They’ll be serving more than 1,700 different wines to an estimated 25,000 attendees at 64 separate wine-themed events.

Every year, the wine festival chooses a theme region.  This year’s region is Chile, the New World powerhouse that produces some of the best and most accessible wines anywhere today.  Because of its uniquely diverse geography (Chile is the narrowest country in the world) and Mediterranean climate, Chile makes everything from crisp Sauvignon Blancs to zesty Rieslings and spicy Syrahs, as well as their signature Carmeneres.

Vancouver International Wine Festival

Events at this year’s wine festival range from educational seminars to wine minglers, grazing events and multi-course winery dinners held at the city’s best restaurants.  But, of course, the highlight is the International Festival Tasting, where all 181 wineries gather in the Vancouver Convention Centre for the mother of all wine tastings.  The International Festival Tasting is hugely popular, a wild time and sells out fast, so it’s probably worth looking into tickets now.  For the true oenophiles out there, what sets the tasting apart is the fact that principals from every winery (winemakers, owners or executives) are on hand, pouring their own wines and sharing intimate information on their products.

Finally, each year’s festival has a global focus: a particular grape or type of wine that gets a special spotlight.  This year’s global focus is on the king of varietals: Cabernet.  Almost everyone knows Cabernet from the ubiquitous red Cabernet Sauvignon.  But its genetic cousin, Cabernet Franc, offers a refreshing and less-explored alternative.

Anyone been to an International Festival Tasting in the past?  How was it? 

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