A mid-afternoon wine tasting: Now there’s an idea whose time has come.
Advance tickets for the Vancouver International Wine Festival, Feb. 24-March 2, are now on sale, and the 36th annual instalment is offering up some intriguing new twists.
Each year, the festival draws more than 20,000 wine lovers to Vancouver for a solid week of gala wine tastings, wine-paired dinners, seminars, lunches and even boozy brunches. This year’s fest will feature no fewer than 178 wineries from 14 countries, pouring 1,750 different wines at 54 events.
Of course, the highlight as always is the International Festival Tasting Room, Feb. 27-March 1. All 178 wineries pile into the Vancouver Convention Centre for the mother of all wine tastings. Picture thousands of people sipping hundreds of the world’s best wines over the course of several hours – all in one huge room with sweeping views of Coal Harbour – and you get the idea.
As in past years, International Festival Tastings will be held on three consecutive evenings, Thursday, Feb. 27-Saturday, March 1, from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. ($89 or $79 early-bird through Dec. 31). But for 2014, organizers have also introduced a very handy afternoon tasting on Saturday, March 1, from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. ($68 or $58 early-bird through Dec. 31).
Here’s guessing that the afternoon tasting, with its lower prices and daytime hours, ends up selling out fast and becoming a regular feature of the fest.
Lovers of French wine are in for a treat this year, as the theme country is France. Some 52 French wineries will be on hand, representing some of the world’s most storied wine regions, including Alsace, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Rhone, the South of France and Champagne.
On the subject of Champagne, the “global focus” for the 2014 fest is bubbly. Sparkling wine lovers will find plenty of opportunities to fill their glasses with a lineup that includes eight official Champagne houses, as well as dozens of Cavas, Proseccos and other sparklers from around the world.
Apart from the International Festival Tasting, more than 50 smaller satellite events are held throughout the week at restaurants, hotels and other venues around Vancouver. Advance tickets to the International Festival Tasting are now available on the Vancouver International Wine Festival website.