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Column: Takeaways from the 2024 Vancouver International Wine Festival

The theme country for next year's festival is the United States.

The International Wine Festival has concluded another year but I always like to reflect on takeaways from the festival that will assist me in preparing for next year’s festival.

Book early

I was surprised that most dinners were sold out within one day of announcing the event. To avoid disappointment next year, sign up for updates at so that once dinners and seminars are announced, you can book them. Next year’s festival runs from Feb. 22 to March 2, 2025.

Typically, the Bacchanalian Gala is held on the first day (February 22, 2025), wine dinners are scheduled Monday through Wednesday (Feb. 24 to 26, 2025), and most wine seminars are in the afternoon of Thursday or Friday  (Feb. 27 and 28, 2025).

The International Wine Festival Tasting Room is open Thursday to Saturday (Feb. 27 to March 1, 2025). There is one closing event on Sunday (March 2, 2025) around noon.  Knowing this schedule, you should try to plan ahead.

Reservations for wine dinners are normally released in mid-January 2025

Take advantage of the on-site liquor store

Many wines available for tasting in the International Tasting Room are available for purchase on a one-time basis at the on-site liquor store.

Very rarely do you get a chance to taste a wine before you buy it so if there is a wine you enjoy, don’t be shy to ask for a second sample before you purchase. 

You can visit the on-site liquor store multiple times and purchased wines can be shipped to a BC Liquor Store near you.

Consider buying a Super Pass

With the many wines available for tasting, you will find it difficult to taste all the wines on your list in one night.

For next year, you may want to consider purchasing a  Super Pass, that will get you access to six tastings (four public tasting sessions and two trade tastings in the tasting room) plus a ticket to the Festival Toast VIP reception.

If you purchase a Super Pass early, you save hundreds of dollars and get access to events not normally available to the public.


I was thrilled to try Soave wines from Inama Winery. Their Soave Classico wine is available at select BC Liquor Stores.

Soave is a dry white wine made in the Veneto region with the Garganega grape varietal. Inama is a Soave specialist and all of the wines, from a basic Soave Classico to their single vineyard offerings are excellent.

B.C. wines

I was quite impressed with the offerings of B.C. wineries at the wine festival.

Irrespective of the theme country, B.C. wineries always have a strong presence at the wine festival. Three B.C. wineries that impressed me at the festival were Nk’Mip Cellars, Blue Grouse Vineyards and Blasted Church Vineyards.

U.S. wines

Next year’s theme country is the U.S.A. I look forward to tasting wines we normally don’t get to taste in B.C. and I am particularly hopeful that Louis M Martini, Robert Mondavi and Signorello will return to the festival next year.

My wine pick of the month is the  Dominio de Tares 2020 Bierzo Baltos. This winery was established in 2002 in the El Bierzo region in Spain. 

They specialize in making wines with local grape varietals and this wine is made with the Mencia grape, which is known for its spicy and floral notes.

The grapes used to produce this wine are hand harvested bunch by bunch, fermented with its natural wild yeasts, aged for 4-6 months in French oak and then aged an additional 12 months in a bottle before release. 

You will get a medium-bodied, expressive wine with black cherry, blackberry, balsamic vinegar, orange peel and mineral elements. It has a 91-point Wine Spectator rating and will drink until 2028. Reduced this month at BC Liquor Stores from $32.99 to $28.99.

Until next time, happy drinking!

Tony Kwan is a Richmond News columnist. Lawyer by day, a food and wine lover by night, Kwan is an epicurean who writes about wine, food and enjoying all that life has to offer.