Canada’s premier food and wine event is back, and for 8 days, April 22-30, Vancouver Convention
Centre, and other venues around the city, will play host to over 35 exciting events. This year the festival celebrates the wines of South America with a selection of more than 40 wineries from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, alongside producers from Europe, North America, and Australasia.
The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, April 22nd, at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, kicks off the festival in style. An evening of wines thoughtfully paired with an exquisite five-course menu topped off with music, dancing, and the chance to bid on live, silent and online auctions. Raising funds for Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, the legendary auctions feature rare wines, epicurean getaways, and unique culinary experiences.
If you are looking to explore a wine region more closely, the festival has a diverse line-up of dinners and wine parties held at some of Vancouver’s best restaurants, ranging from multi-course sit-down fine dining experiences to fun taco pairings, and everything in between. These events showcase some of the top wineries of South America, European houses in Italy and Spain, California and BC wineries including a dinner celebrating WineAlign’s top Canadian winery of 2022, CedarCreek.
The heart of the festival is the International Festival Tastings, April 27-29, featuring all 148 participating wineries from 17 countries. Wine enthusiasts have the opportunity to sample more than 800 wines on the tasting room floor from participating wineries and at 5 regional and theme tasting stations. Whether you are interested in learning more about a particular style or blend, or more about wines from a certain region, this is the ultimate tasting experience. The room also features wine and food-related exhibitors, perfect to sample and browse during breaks from wine tasting
This year, take a wine tour of South America and sample from 44 wineries from 4 countries. Learn about the region’s indigenous grapes and its wine and food traditions directly from the producers who are making the trip north. From Carmenere to Malbec, Torrontés to Tannat, the wines of South America are sure to please your palate.
Regional tasting stations provide a deeper dive into the wines of California, the Rioja in Spain, New Zealand, more South American wines and sparkling wines from around the world. Interest in sparkling wine is a trend on the rise and the festival is exploring bubbles from a global perspective. While French Champagne is the traditional go-to for a special occasion toast, winemakers around the world are producing sparklers that are perfect for everyday drinking – think French Crémant, Spanish Cava, and Italian Prosecco.
Closer to home, B.C. has risen to the challenge to create award-winning sparkling wines in recent years. Festival-goers can sip and sample for a fun and informative comparative tasting experience. The International Festival Tastings include an on-site BCLiquor wine shop, where you can purchase wines featured in the room and have them shipped directly to your local BC Liquor for pick up
Leading into the weekend there are a selection of informative happy-hour wine seminars. Topics range from the influence of glassware on wine to a deep dive into how the Californian landscape affects its wines. These informative seminars showcase wines from some of the world’s great vineyards.
Weekend events include three Saturday lunches on April 29th and a finale Sunday brunch on the 30th. Enjoy the PICA Kitchen Party where Vancouver Chefs create small bites pairing with international wines. The Dine Italia lunch is an annual culinary treat of timeless Italian fare paired with Italy’s top wines. The wines of South America are saluted in style against a stunning North Shore backdrop at Sabor Sudamericano. Wrapping up the festival is the Spring Fling Brunch on April 30th featuring a grazing buffet, live music and a spectacular selection of brunch-worthy wines from around the world.
While at VanWineFest, check out some of the award-winning restaurants in the nearby neighbourhood hubs of Gastown, Coal Harbour, Chinatown, Mount Pleasant and Yaletown. Whether you are interested in dining at one of the newly minted Michelin star restaurants or a more casual experience, there are plenty of options in the downtown core for international cuisine with excellent wine lists to put your wine knowledge to work. Round out your trip by spending an afternoon browsing the public market at Granville Island and taking in some of the city’s fine cultural attractions.
To complete your spring weekend getaway to Vancouver, you can receive a free ticket to an International Festival Tasting, one of four sessions on April 27-29, when you book a room at one of 42 downtown hotels through StayVancouverHotels.com.
Tickets and information about all festival events are available through VanWineFest.ca.