Plan the perfect food and wine getaway in downtown Vancouver to enjoy the 45th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival, February 24 to March 3. Festival week kicks off with spectacular winery dinners, wine parties and engaging seminars, capped off in the final weekend with the International Festival Tastings. Round out your stay by taking in downtown Vancouver’s vibrant bar and dining scene as well as stocking up on gourmet goods in the city.
Discover more about the culture, cuisine and wines of this year’s theme country Italy. Europe’s magical boot is out in full force with 71 Italian wineries from 13 distinct regions spanning the northern Alps to the southern islands, with a diverse range of unique grape varieties and wine styles. It is an incredible opportunity to explore the storied terroirs of Piedmont, Tuscany and Veneto and check out exciting, but perhaps lesser-known wine regions, such as Puglia and Sicily. The winemakers behind the labels are at the festival to explain more about the rich history of their wineries and the current wine renaissance happening all over Italy’s classic regions.
Festival week starts in style with the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on February 24, followed by winery dinners pairing local top restaurants with international fine wines, February 26-28. If you decide to visit mid-week, there are casual walk-around minglers, themed for both Italy and California to Discover delle Venezie DOC on Tuesday, February 24, and California Wines Sun Fest on Wednesday, February 28.
Heading into the closing weekend, there is a series of late afternoon wine seminars, moderated by local and visiting wine experts joined by a panel of visiting vine stars. Learn more about specific regions and the world’s top terroirs at Golden State Vineyard Visions on Friday, March 1 and The Global Cru on Saturday, March 2.
Not only will all Italian wineries be in the Tasting Room for the International Festival Tastings, but you can also taste wines from 76 additional wineries representing 11 countries from Europe, South America, the US, Australia and New Zealand. BC’s home-grown wine community is also well represented with 27 wineries from across the province’s diverse growing regions. Taste wines produced in Lillooet, the Okanagan Valley, Vancouver Island, and even the Fraser Valley. There are also regional tasting stations to sample line-ups of sparkling wines from around the world or dive deeper into the wines of California, Italy and New Zealand.
There is more to the International Festival Tastings than wine. Sample international sweet and savoury bites from Italy and Spain, enjoy taste treats from speciality food purveyors, and cleanse your palate with on-trend hot and cold beverages.
Exclusive festival wines are available to purchase directly at the onsite BCLIQUOR wine shop. Shop and then ship to a convenient local store for pick up when you get home.
There are four International Festival Tasting sessions to choose from, Thursday February 29 to Saturday, March 2.
While in the city, you can experience some of the award-winning restaurants in the nearby neighbourhoods of Gastown, Coal Harbour, Chinatown, Mount Pleasant and Yaletown. Choose from 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 taking a stroll through Granville Island’s gourmet public market and immersing yourself in the city’s cultural attractions.
To make it easier to plan your weekend getaway to Vancouver, the festival has teamed up with StayVancouverHotels.com. When you book a stay at one of 43 downtown hotels, you will receive a free ticket to the International Festival Tasting session of your choice, February 29-March 2.
The upcoming festival is all about discovery, with abundant opportunities to find new wines, new regions, and new favourites. Visit VanWineFest.com for all the details on events and ticketing and start planning your winter wine getaway.