The 2017 Vancouver International Wine Festival ends this weekend. But if you haven’t experienced the nine-day festival this year – or even if you have, and you want more – tickets are still available for some events.
While the seminars and many of the tastings are sold-out, oenophiles can still indulge in some fine Canadian wines at the Celebrating Canada’s 150th lunch on Saturday, Feb. 18. All 76 participating Canadian wineries will be there, with wines to accompany a menu featuring coast-to-coast delicacies, including West Coast king crab and Nova Scotia-style pan-fried oysters.
For the more casual wine drinker, tickets are still left for two sessions of one of the wine fest’s most popular events.
That, of course, would be the International Festival Tasting.
Held in its usual home one the second floor the Vancouver Convention Centre (1055 Canada Place), the tasting kicked off last night, Thursday Feb. 16. Wine enthusiasts from all over the world packed the room, with many swarming the area hosting this year’s feature country, Canada (to coincide with the nation’s 150th anniversary).
B.C. was well-represented, with 60 wineries from all over the province, including pours from the Okanagan Valley, the Cowichan Valley, and more. Some highlights for this fan of full-bodied reds included Black Hills’ 2014 Syrah, Hester Valley’s The Judge (a blend), and Tantalus Vineyards’ 2015 Juveniles Pinot Noir.
Also representing were the provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia. For a refreshing white, try a Chardonnay from Closson Chase, located in Prince Edward County in Northern Ontario. From the East Coast, a bubbly fan could do worse than L’Acadie Vineyards’ Vintage Cuvée 2014.
Of course, plenty of other countries are represented at the international tasting as well, from Argentina (we quite enjoyed the 2011 Santiago Graffigna from the Graffigna winery, San Juan) to Australia (tip: bring up the upcoming reunion tour of Midnight Oil with the folks at Majella Wines, of Coonawarra – or, really, with anyone manning the Australian tables who looks old enough to recall the ’80s rock band from Down Under), to Japan (represented by one sake maker, Yoshi No Gawa Saké Co., from Nigata).
The wine fest also offers a chance to catch up with B.C.’s neighbouring Pacific Northwest wine regions, including Oregon’s Willamette Valley (Elk Cove Vineyards is pouring some nice Pinots) and Washington’s Columbia Valley (be sure to hit up Columbia Crest for some smashing Cabernet Sauvignons).
All told, the tasting room features 182 wineries. Saturday night’s session is sold-out, but tickets for the Friday night tasting (tonight, Feb 17) and the Saturday Feb 18 matinee (2:30-5 p.m.) are still available. Visit vanwinefest.ca for tickets and more info.