Raise a glass to Canada’s best wine event

My best tip for learning about wine is to make sure you attend the Vancouver International Wine Festival. The 40th annual festival runs from Feb. 24 to March 4 and is Canada’s premier wine event.

Its mission is to provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for consumers and trade, and to raise money for Bard on the Beach.

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This year, Spain and Portugal are the featured countries. But there areevents from 14 countries andyou can taste over 1,500 wines.

The festival typically features 40 public events. The heart of the festival is the Tasting Room, where the public can choose from about 780 wines at four international festival tastings.

If you can only attend one event, this is the one. The Thursday, March 1 evening Tasting Room ($89) is the least crowded. If you really want to get the most out of this venue, attend three evenings and have a strategy: whites on one night, reds on the second and sparkling and dessert wines on the third.

Want a more intimate event? Attend a seminar like the Fladgate Partnership on Feb. 28 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. ($125). David Guimaraens, winemaker of the iconic Port Houses Taylor Fladgate and Fonseca will guide you through an elegant vintage port tasting.

If you want to learn about one of Spain’s most celebrated wine dynasties, attend Torres: History Builds Future on March 1 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ($65). Miguel Torres Maczassek of the Torres Group leads this tasty seminar. For five generations, Torres has been a leader in Spanish winemaking, combining tradition with innovation.

Want a broader focus? Be at Great Red Grapes, on March 1from 5:15 pm to 6:30 pm ($75). Thirteen international wine principals will be pouring and discussing their premium reds. Barolo, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Burgundy, Malbec and more!

Prefer to enjoy delicious food with your wine? Sign up for the spectacular wine dinners. Among the 15 choices are the Spanish Faustino Dinner at Ancora  ($225), and the Portuguese Graham’s Port Dinner at Bodega on Main ($145), both on Feb. 27.

Crave Italian? There’s Tuscany Shines at Cioppino’s on Feb. 27($225), The Italian Dinner Party at Yew Seafood & Bar on Feb. 28 ($175), and The Night of the Barolo at Federico’s Supper Club on the 28 ($175).

And if you’re thirsty for some extravaganza, the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner and Auction ($450) at the Fairmont on Feb. 24is a must. Enjoy a five-course banquet paired with nine premium wines, music, dancing and an auction.

Tickets for these events plus lunches, brunches and wine minglers are now on sale and often sell out quickly. Visit Vanwinefest.ca

Eric Hanson is a Richmond wine educator and will be researching and raising a glass or two at the wine festival.

Ehanson0705@gmail.com

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