Highlights of the 2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival

The 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival. Photo by Jeff Vinnick.

The 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival. Photo by Jeff Vinnick.

Tickets are now on sale for the 38th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival. And this year’s spotlight country is one that you may have heard of in regards to wine – Italy.

This means that wines from different regions in the country will be the subject of seminars, dinners and other special events. Of course, wine from a number of other territories will be poured, sipped and savoured by the tens of thousands of oenophiles who flock to this popular event. Let’s look at some of this year’s highlights.

International Festival Tastings (Feb. 25-27, Vancouver Convention Centre) – This is the big one, held over three nights and one afternoon. All participating wineries and their principals will be gathered on one floor of the Vancouver Convention Centre. Regional tasting stations from Australia, British Columbia and New Zealand, as well as many wine and food-related exhibitors will keep participants tippling keenly and eagerly.

Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction: A Venetian Masquerade (Feb. 20, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 West Georgia St.) – One of the most spectacular wine events in the city, the Bacchanalia is an evening of wine and food pairings and a chance to enhance your wine cellar. The five-course meal, overseen by the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s executive chef, Cameron Ballendine, will featuring pairings with nine wines from Italy, Australia, Spain, Croatia, France and Portugal. Auctions will include unique culinary experiences, excursions and extravaganzas. Throughout the evening, patrons will also have the opportunity to bid on rare and unique wines, including a bottle of 1906 Château Latour, valued at $10,000. This is a black tie event; masks are encouraged.


The 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival. Photo by Jeff Vinnick.

Winery dinners – There are a number of winery dinners taking place the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the festival. These feature wine-and-food pairings specific to different regions and grapes. On Feb. 22, for instance, Market Dine, Washington Wine pairs wines from Washington State’s Chateau Ste. Michelle with Pacific Coast dining courtesy of the Shangri-La Hotel’s MARKET by Jean-Georges.

Wine seminars – This year’s seminars are focussed on Italian wines. On Feb. 25, for example, for Amaronley: Only Amarone, wine educator Iain Philip and Vinitaly International Academy Certified Italian Wine Ambassador Michaela Morris will delve into the intricacies of the Veneto region’s most celebrated wine, Amarone della Valpolicella.

Wine minglers – In these informal events, patrons browse from station to station, pairing wine and food. Feb. 24’s California Cruisin’ is one of three minglers at this year’s fest; minglers will sample offering from vineyards of the Golden State along with some delish tapas.

For more info on these and other events, visit vanwinefest.ca. Proceeds from the event go towards the annual Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, held every summer in Vancouver.

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