Raise Your Glass for the Vancouver International Wine Festival

Canada Place, Photo: Rick Chung/YVArcade

The 45th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival (VIWF) welcomes 149 wineries from 12 countries around the world when it returns for eight days of wine-centric events, seminars, tastings, and dinners from February 24 to March 3 in support of the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

VIWF starts with the annual black-tie Bacchanalia Gala dinner and auction, a spectacular evening of wine and food pairings, hosted at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on Feb. 2.

 

Discover Italy

Canada Place, Photo: VIWF

This year, the festival’s theme is “Discover Italy,” with 71 wineries and their winemakers from Italy travelling to Vancouver to share wines from their storied terroirs. They’ll be joined by 78 wineries from 11 additional countries. More than a quarter of the wineries featured will be making their festival debut in 2024.

This is the year to discover the acclaimed wines of Italy from 13 different Italian regions featured at the festival. While Italy contributes around a fifth of the world’s wine, much of its composition and history remain relatively unknown, according to festival keynote speaker and wine educator Filippo Bartolotta.

 

International Festival Tastings

Vancouver Convention Centre, Photo: Rick Chung/YVArcade

The Tasting Room (February 29 to March 2) at the Vancouver Convention Centre is where all 149 participating wineries gather to pour 800 select wines in a massive hall setting. It’s perfect for any wine expert or newbie to discover exciting new wines or rediscover old favourites surrounded by Vancouver’s beautiful Waterfront.

The room will also feature tasting stations featuring wines from California, New Zealand, Italy, and sparkling wines from around the world. There will also be wine-friendly food and beverage exhibitors offering tasting samples to complement the wines.

 

Wine Pairing Dinners

Carlino Restaurant, Photo: VIWF

One of the best ways to fully embrace and enjoy your wine festival experience is by attending one of VIWF’s many sit-down dinners featuring special menus paired with carefully selected wine pairings and hosted at renowned restaurants like La Terrazza, Giardino, Cioppino’s, Provence Marinaside, among many others.

These dinners provide a whole evening of wining and dining together, seated with other wine enthusiasts and festival goers.

Notable dinners:

 

Also, make sure to savour more of Vancouver’s culinary scene outside the festival. Downtown has plenty of great restaurants to pair with any wine event on your own. Italian ristorantes perfect for extending any day of imbibing include Giardino, Lupo, Italian Kitchen, Tutto, Di Beppe, Acquafarina, or Cibo Trattoria.

 

Seminars & Other Events

Spring Fling, Photo: VIWF

Another fun way to taste wine and learn simultaneously is by attending one of VIWF’s informative wine seminars, fun minglers, or lively lunches focused on different wine-specific topics and spearheaded by some of the most respected wine experts from across the globe.

These events are designed to be approachable for newcomers looking to expand their wine knowledge or feel more confident picking the perfect bottle to pair with any meal.

 

Wine Fest Facts

Canada Place, Photo: Rick Chung/YVArcade

VIWF 2024 by the numbers:

  • ~18,000 admissions
  • 12 countries / 149 wineries
  • 42 events / 23 venues
  • 33 public events / 9 trade-only events
  • ~25 participating restaurants, hotels, caterers
  • ~1,150 wines, including:
  • ~800 wines in the Tasting Room
  • ~350 wines at special events (dinners, seminars, etc.)
  • 20,000 bottles poured and/or purchased
  • Tasting Room size (at VCC West): 55,000 square feet

 

Mandy M. Lau, Photo: VIWF

The festival is produced by the Vancouver International Wine Festival Society and serves three mandates:

  • to provide an informative, educational, and entertaining wine experience for the public and trade;
  • be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and festival partners;
  • and raise funds for the performing arts.

 

Since its inception in 1979, the festival has raised more than $10 million for local arts organizations.

To browse the full schedule of events and purchase tickets, visit VIWF’s website or download the brochure.

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