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Column: The wine world is back

Two biggest wine festivals returns to Vancouver this year.

After two years of very few wine events, there are two exciting celebrations in Vancouver to mark the end of the drought. California Wines and Second Harvest invite you to take an exploratory trip to California Wine Country and discover the many vintners and wineries of the Golden State this Monday evening, April 25th.

Soak up the sunshine during the California Wine Experience, an educational, immersive walk-around tasting event that showcases more than 400 wines from Golden State. During the two-and-a-half-hour experience, sample wines from many regions and meet with winery representatives to learn more about what makes their wines so special. There’s never been a better time to Taste California! And you don’t even have to cross the border!

This major California wine event is this Monday, April 25 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. Tickets are $150.

The California Wine Experience is a fundraiser for Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization and a global thought leader on perishable food redistribution.

In May, the wine world comes to Vancouver for Canada’s premier wine show. The Vancouver International Wine Festival (VIWF) is one of the biggest and oldest wine events in the world, offering something for every level of wine drinker, collector and trade professional. In 2022, 101 wineries from 14 countries will be attending the festival to pour and discuss their wines at 27 events over seven days, May 16 – 22 at the Vancouver Convention Centre and other city venues.

The grandest event is the 2022 Bacchanalia Gala Dinner and Auction presented by National Bank Private Banking 1859. It features ten outstanding wines paired with an exquisite five-course menu prepared by Fairmont Hotel’s culinary team led by Executive Chef David Baarschers.

The evening will be topped off with live music and dancing as well auctions featuring rare wines, foodie getaways featuring chefs and sommeliers from the West Coast’s top restaurants. All proceeds from the Bacchanalia Gala support Bard on the Beach.

The heart of the festival is the International Festival Tastings at the Vancouver Convention Centre, where each winery will pour 4-5 wines for the public at four International Festival Tastings and for the hospitality industry at two Trade Tastings.

The room also features food suppliers and industry exhibitors, including media and suppliers. Included in the price of each ticket is the opportunity to shop at the onsite BC Liquor Store where all wines served at the International Festival Tastings are available for purchase and can be delivered at no charge to any BC Liquor Store.

Additional wines are served at special events orbiting the tasting room, including wine seminars, trade events, and food and wine pairing affairs at top Vancouver restaurants and hotels.

BC leads the pack with 40 wineries participating. The majority of them are from the Okanagan such as Burrowing Owl, Kismet, Culmina, LA FRENZ, Haywire, and Phantom Creek. But Fort Berens and Harper’s Trail are located in Kamloops while Unsworth is from the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, and Valley Commons is located in Fort Langley in the Fraser Valley.

Fourteen American wineries will represent California, Spain has nine wineries at this year’s festival, Croatia has three representatives, while France brings three wineries. Germany, Australia, Argentina, Japan, and Uruguay are represented by one winery from their lands, including Georgia, which makes its inaugural appearance. For tickets and more juicy details, visit Vancouver's Wine Festival website.