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Column: What to expect at Vancouver International Wine Festival 2023

Seminars and dinners are held throughout the festival.

The Vancouver International Wine Festival is back this year and events are scheduled between April 22-30, 2023.  It is Canada’s premier wine show and one of the biggest and oldest wine events in the world.  This year, the festival will feature 36 events with 147 wineries from 17 countries.  The funds raised at the festival benefit the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, which is Western Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare Festival and which runs during the summer at SenĚ“ákw/Vanier Park.

Although most people know the VIWF for the festival tastings that occur on April 27 to 29, 2023, there are so many other events to attend for wine lovers.  I wrote an article a few years ago about how to navigate the wine festival like a pro (which you can find here) and in an upcoming article, I will give you my advice on what booths you should visit and which wines you taste at this year’s festival.

I find the festival tasting nights q fun and nice place to have a great social evening enjoying wines with friends.  But for those who want to learn a bit more about wine, you should check out the various dinners and seminars that are also offered.  These may be a bit more serious but nevertheless, these are very useful in furthering your wine knowledge.  Highlighted below are some events I will be attending or that I suggest wine lovers should consider attending.

There are three  great seminars that I would recommend attending.  The first is on April 27, 2023 on the topic of The Shape of Wine.  This seminar is led by Riedel’s Regional Manager Alysha Harker.  Riedel is a company famous for making different types of wine glasses to accentuate the flavors and aromas of different types of wines.  At this seminar, you will discover how glass shape changes your wine experience as you sample Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon in Riedel Veloce glassware. You also get a set of glasses to take home (a $178 value)! 

The second is on April 28, 2023, on the topic of Global Cru.  The concept of Cru is used in many wine regions to denote a vineyard or group of vineyards recognized for their superior quality. This seminar will allow participants to taste wines from Cru vineyard from all around the world to discover what makes their terroir and wines so special. 

The last seminar I recommend is called La Crema de la Crema, which will occur on April 29, 2023. This seminar will highlight some of most interesting wines served at the wine festival from South American wine producers. 

There are some great wine dinners showcasing wineries that are participating in the wine festival.  I find wine dinners very educational as you not only learn about wines from representatives of the wineries but also get to try how these wines pair food.  The dinners are held at different restaurants in Vancouver so you get the added bonus of trying food at a restaurant you may not be familiar with.  I am very excited about attending the Masi dinner at the Vancouver Club on April 26, 2023.  This dinner will celebrate the 250th harvest of the Boscaini family in the prized vineyards of Vaio dei Masi, a little valley in the heart of Valpolicella Classica. Unfortunately this dinner and many others are already sold out, but one dinner that still has seats available is the Best of Uruguay dinner on the same night at Hydra Estiatorio Mediterranean Café Bar.  This dinner will feature the wines of Bodega Garzon. 

There also many lunches and wine minglers to attend.  Another highlight of the festival is the Bacchanalian Gala Dinner and Auction on April 22, 2023.  This is one of the most spectacular wine and food events in the city with a Champagne reception followed by nine additional wines paired with a five-course menu prepared by the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s culinary team. The gala has music, dancing and silent/live auctions that will feature rare wines, trips and unique culinary experiences.  For more information about all these events, please visit the VIWF tickets page here

Until next time, happy drinking!

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