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Column: I’ll be California dreamin’ at the Vancouver International Wine Festival

Don’t miss the best wine time in Canada
Vancouver International Wine Festival
The Vancouver International Wine Festival has been named the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash for six years running. Photo: Submitted

It’s never too early to start planning for the Vancouver International Wine Festival.

The 41st annual festival is happening Feb. 23 to March 3, 2019.

“VIWF 2019 will welcome 160 different producers from 15 countries, 53 of them from the theme region of California,” says David Hopgood, chair of the Winery Selection Committee.

Each participating winery will be represented by a winery principal, the vine stars, who come to Vancouver every year to share and discuss their wines with festivalgoers.

“Eighteen of these wineries are based in Napa, so you can expect spectacular Cabernet Sauvignons in the Tasting Room and at special events throughout festival week. But California will also be showcasing its diversity and varieties through wineries from all over the state,” says Hopgood.

 “The Old World is well-represented with a wide range of wines from France and Italy, as well as Croatia, Romania (a first), Germany, Portugal, and Spain.”

Hopgood adds, “The New World will showcase wines from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, with North America additionally represented with wineries from Washington, Oregon, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and, of course, British Columbia. As well, there will be high-end Sake from three producers. More than one-quarter of the wineries are brand new to the festival, so there will be many wines for patrons to discover.”

The festival is headquartered at the Vancouver Convention Centre. In addition, more than 20 other restaurants and venues around the city will host winery dinners, lunches, seminars and wine minglers.

The sumptuous Bacchanalia Gala Dinner which benefits the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, kicks off the festival on Saturday, Feb.23 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver; tickets and tables are on sale now.

The heart of the festival is the Tasting Room, where all 160 wineries will gather for four International Festival Tastings. Discounted advance tickets for the International Festival Tastings go on sale Thursday, Nov. 1 at 9:30 a.m. Festivalgoers can get a free ticket if they book one of 37 downtown hotels via from Nov. 1 to Feb. 14, while supplies last.

The festival has been named the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash for six years running. The festival is produced by the Vancouver International Wine Festival Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and festival partners and raise funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society.

Since inception in 1979, the festival has raised $9.2 million for the performing arts. Major sponsors are Delta Air Lines and the Vancouver Sun; major industry partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, BC Liquor Stores, and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. The festival is made possible through the gracious support of participating countries’ consulates and embassies.

All public events go on sale Wednesday, January 9 at 9:30 a.m.

For more information about the Vancouver International Wine Festival go to

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