VANCOUVER, BC (February 27, 2019)—Vancouver’s annual wine lovers’ delight, but dishwashers’ nightmare, is well underway. The 41st Vancouver International Wine Festival is in full swing around town. It’s a great week for wine and food lovers, but not so much for those who have to deal with 82,000 wine glasses by the time the festival wraps up on Sunday. To say nothing of countless plates, cups and cutlery.
By March 3, a projected 25,000 wine lovers will have sniffed, swirled and sipped from a selection of 1,450 wines from 16 countries at 54 events. In total, festival goers will have sampled from or stocked their cellars with some 42,000 bottles of wine.
VanWineFest is headquartered at the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is the site of the Tasting Room, the 53,000 square foot hub of the festival with its stunning views of the harbour and mountains, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is home to four International Festival Tastings and two Trade Tastings, presented by ContainerWorld. Dinners and other events are hosted by top restaurants and hotels throughout the city. The 12 events in the Trade Days Conference, the wine business part of the show, also take place at VCC. Trade events are available only to those in the hospitality and wine industry and registration is required.
Most events are sold out. The exceptions are the Thursday and Friday evening International Festival Tastings and the Trade Tastings, which have limited tickets remaining. A limited number of tickets for the sold out Saturday International Festival Tastings will be available onsite one hour prior to each event.
VanWineFest by the Numbers
- 41st annual (founded 1979)
- 8 days (Bacchanalia Gala Feb 23; festival week Feb 25-March 3)
- 25,000 admissions in 2018 (97% of all available tickets were sold)
- 16 countries
- 160 wineries
- 54 events, including tastings, seminars, winery dinners, minglers, lunches, brunch and more
- 26 venues
- 50 participating restaurants, hotels, caterers
- 1,450 wines, including:
- 725 at International Festival Tastings
- 146 additional wines at Trade Tastings
- 575 at special events (dinners, seminars, etc.)
- 2019 theme: Dream Big: California Style, with 53 wineries from California. See all wineries here.
- 42,000 bottles sampled and/or purchased
- 82,000 wine glasses used
- 450 volunteers
- Beneficiary: Since 1979, VanWineFest has raised $9.2 million for the performing arts. The festival was a founded as a fundraiser for the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company and continued as such until it closed in 2012. Since 2013, proceeds have gone to Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival; the fest contributed $280,000 to Bard in 2018. Last Saturday’s Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction raised $233,500; the total 2019 donation to Bard will be announced at the opening of the 2019 Bard season.
Don’t Wine and Drive
Whether you’re on four wheels or two, festival goers are strongly urged to leave them at home.
- Pick up a free Compass ticket from the Get Home Safe booth, courtesy of BC Liquor Stores, as you exit the Tasting Room.
- Or take a cab or a limo– it’s considerably cheaper than having your car towed from a spot check, to say nothing of the other nasty consequences. “Taking a cab home is the cheapest car insurance you can buy,” says Randy Kaardal, past chair of the VIWF board of directors.
- Or make a weekend of it and book a downtown hotel via festival partner StayVancouverHotels.com which offers compelling incentives. (The VanWineFest ticket offer is now sold out, but do check other rewards.)
The festival closes on Sunday with the always-popular Vintners Brunch, sponsored by the Vancouver Sun. For complete details on the festival, go to www.vanwinefest.ca.
How to Purchase Tickets
Phone: 604-873-3311, toll free 1-877-321-3121 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.)
In person: Onsite at Vancouver Convention Centre West on Thursday, February 28 and Friday, March 1, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, March 2, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Stay in Touch
For more information and to sign up for e-news, go to VanWineFest.ca
Twitter: follow @VanWineFest for news on tickets and sold-out events. Join the conversation at #VIWF.
Facebook & Instagram: @VanWineFest
ABOUT VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL
Canada’s premier wine show will mark its 41st edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 23 to March 3, 2019. The festival features California Wines and will showcase 160 wineries from 15 countries (including 53 wineries from California) pouring ~1,450 wines at 54 events to a projected 25,000 admissions. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction opens the festival on Saturday, February 23 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The Trade Days Conference runs Wednesday, February 27 to Friday, March 1. 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 our participating countries’ consulates and embassies
ABOUT WINE INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA
Established in 1934 and based in San Francisco, Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of more than 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. Wine Institute’s California Wine Export Program has more than 175 member wineries exporting to 138 countries. The program’s 15 representative offices conduct activities in 25 countries around the globe. The Wine Institute’s Canadian office coordinates a number of promotional activities every year designed to educate and inform media, trade, stakeholders and consumers about the quality and diversity of products available from the Golden State. For more information on the Wine Institute of California, visit the website at www.discovercaliforniawines.com and www.calwine.ca
ABOUT BARD ON THE BEACH SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Celebrating its 30th season in 2019, Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals. It is presented on the waterfront in Kitsilano’s Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver’s downtown core. Bard on the Beach offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas and popular special events in two performance tents every June through September. In 2018, attendance was 108,000 and almost 1.9 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception. Next year’s festival dates are June 5 to September 21, 2019, and the lineup includes The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare in Love, All’s Well That Ends Well and Coriolanus. Bard also offers a range of education programs, including Young Shakespeareans workshops for 8-18 year-olds at its Vanier Park site during the summer, and the Riotous Youth program for 19 to 24-year-olds. During the school term, Bard also offers workshops for educators and youth in schools and community centres throughout BC’s Lower Mainland, as well as at its administrative home, the BMO Theatre Centre (162 West 1st Avenue). Full details and education program information are at bardonthebeach.org.