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Vancouver International Wine Festival

Wine Glass and Festival Crowds

The Vancouver International Wine Festival is a major food and wine event. It features wineries from around the world at various Vancouver venues in the spring.

The festival normally happens in February. In 2022, however, it runs from May 16 to 22 (which includes the Victoria Day Long Weekend).

Tickets for the International Festival Tastings events for this year went on sale as of March 2. Those events happen on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of May 19 to 21. Tickets for all other public events went on sale between April 6 and 20. Events sell out, so buy your tickets as soon as you can!

 


Visit the official Vancouver International Wine Festival website for tickets and full details about its various events.


 

Vancouver International Wine Festival

 


This article features information about the following topics:

Past & Present Festivals | Wineries | About the Festival | Admission Prices | | Festival Video Festival Events | Bacchanalia Gala | Trade Days Conference | Tasting Room Events | Other Festival Events | Tips & Advice | Other Information

Click on any of the above topic links to jump to specific information, or continue reading to learn all about the festival.


 

The Vancouver Wine Festival

The Vancouver International Wine Festival takes place in the spring each year. It features around 1500 wines from 15 or so countries at close to 6 dozen events over the course of the festival. In a typical year close to 25,000 attendees participate.

In 2021 the event was going to run from February 20th until the 28th. Because of COVID-19, however, the festival was cancelled. It is happening in 2022. Its dates are May 16th to May 22nd.

In years when it doesn’t get cancelled, each year the festival has a special focus on a different wine growing region of the world. 2017’s focus was Canada. In 2018 it was the Iberian Peninsula (i.e., Spain and Portugal), in 2019 California, and in 2020 France. In 2021 the featured region was going to be South Africa.

Celebrating its 43rd anniversary, the 2021 Vancouver International Wine Festival was going to feature wine from around 15 countries and over 160 different wineries. In 2020 the featured region was France and about one quarter of participating wineries were from that country. In 2021 there would have been an extra number of South African participants.

This year’s event will be slightly smaller than usual because of the global pandemic. Rather than having over 50 events, there will probably be about 30, which is still a lot. In 2022, the festival features 14 countries and 101 wineries. Many of the wines are from British Columbia, but there are also a number from Italy and America. In 2023, the theme will be South America.

 


Click Vancouver Wine Festival for the event’s official website.


 

Wine Festival's California Beach Party
California Wine Beach Party in 2022

 

2022 Festival Wines & Wineries

In 2022 there are 101 wineries representing 14 countries. Participating countries and the numbers of their wineries in 2022 are as follows:

Canada (41), Italy (18), USA (14), Spain (9), Croatia (4), France (3), Argentina (1), Australia (1), Chile (1), Georgia (1), Germany (1), Japan (1) and Uruguay (1).

There are also 5 multi-national wineries featured this year.

In 2020 the featured region was France. That country was represented by 43 wineries (out of the 164 total at the event).

 

StayVancouverHotels.com

 


TIP: Make a night out of your Vancouver International Wine Festival experience and stay a night at a downtown hotel. StayVancouverHotels.com has been a proud sponsor of the event and offers exceptional deals.


 

About the Wine Festival

The Vancouver International Wine Festival is an event that exists to do three things. Its purpose is to (1) educate and entertain the public with wine experiences, (2) promote the wine industry, and (3) financially support the Bard on the Beach Shakespearean festival.

The wine festival is an impressive event. From humble beginnings in 1979, it has grown to become, arguably, Canada’s best and most prestigious wine show. It’s also one of the largest and oldest wine festivals on the planet.

The festival features some 50 or so events each year, of which about 40 are open to the public. Another dozen or so are for people in the wine, wine-related and hospitality industries.

Around four dozen hotels and restaurants participate each year, and 150+ wineries serve over 1400 wines. To give you an idea about the scale of the event, 42,000 bottles of wine are typically opened and/or purchased annually at the festival.

For a list of wineries that participated in 2022, click Festival Participants.

 

Sampling Wines at the Festival
Wine Samples at the Festival

 

Admission Prices

Tickets to events at the wine festival in 2022 range from about $70 to $575 or so. Prices include wine, of course, and food when it is a food event. Also included in the price though are tips, taxes and service charges.

Tickets are generally purchased for individual events, but multi-passes are also available. Tickets for the general public go on sale in January each year and by mid-February most events have typically already sold out. Click Wine Festival Tickets for further details.

All ticket prices include wine samples, taxes, tips and other service charges. Admission prices also include food at food-related events.

 


Click Vancouver Wine Festival for the event’s official website.


 

Vancouver Wine Festival Video

To give you an idea of what to expect at the festival, check out the following video. It shows scenes of the Festival Tasting event (in 2020) and a Wine Seminar (in 2019) at the Vancouver Convention Centre. It also shows a scene of people socializing at the auction event just before the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner (from 2019).

 

 

Wine Festival Events

The wine festival features a number of events and it usually runs for nine days (although just seven in 2022). Events include the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner, International Festival Tastings, wine seminars, winery dinners, wine parties and more. Not all events sell out every year, but most do!

In a typical year, seven out of the nine days of the festival are open to the general public. All nine days, including the first two, are open to participants in the wine and hospitality industries.

The Vancouver International Wine Festival features numerous food and wine-tasting events. Some of the most popular are listed below. For more details see our article about the Wine Festival Events or visit the official VIFF website at vanwinefest.ca.

 

Christopher Gaze at Bacchanalia Reception
Bard Founder Christopher Gaze at Bacchanalia Gala

 

Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction

May 17, 2022

The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction is a grand event that sells out early every year. In 2022, the black tie affair takes place on Tuesday, May 17, at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver at 900 West Georgia Street.

This year, the event costs $575 per person. It’s one of Vancouver’s premier evenings of the year. The night includes a fancy 5-course dinner with wine pairings, live music and dancing.

At the event the live and silent auctions generate over $225,000, and, in 2020, the raffle for two Delta Air Lines tickets raised an additional $20,000. That means a quarter of a million dollars raised at the gala, from which the net proceeds benefit the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

Click Bacchanalia Gala Dinner for more information.

 


Click Vancouver Wine Festival for the event’s official website.


 

Vancouver International Wine Festival

 

Trade Days Conference

May 19 & 20, 2022

The Trade Days Conference takes place over three days during the festival most years (but just two in 2022). It’s open to people in the wine, hotel and restaurant industries. The Conference features seminars, networking events and access to a few extra wines not available at festival events open to the general public.

The Trade Days Conference usually runs on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the festival and it comprises about a dozen of the festival’s over 50 events. In a typical year as many as 7000 people attend.

For more details click Trade Days in 2022.

 

The Tasting Room

May 19 to May 21, 2022

The main attraction at the Vancouver International Wine Festival is the Tasting Room. It usually features over 750 wines at four International Festival Tastings events. However, there will likely be less wines included in 2022, due to coronavirus-related supply chain issues. Also, the capacity of each event will likely be at about 50%, so expect to see less people than in normal years.

In 2022 the International Festival Tastings take place at the following times and prices.

  • Thursday, May 19, from 7 to 10 pm ($109)
  • Friday, May 20, from 7 to 10 pm ($119)
  • Saturday, May 21, from 2:30 to 5 pm ($109)
  • Saturday, May 21, from 7 to 10 pm ($129)

The Tasting Room events take place in Ballroom C at the Vancouver Convention Centre‘s VCC West location at 1055 Canada Place. A few years ago they had a special focus on wines from Spain and Portugal, a couple of years ago the focus was California and this past year it was France. In 2021, the featured region was going to be South Africa.

The four International Festival Tastings are usually all pretty much identical, although the Thursday event is typically the least crowded and the one on Saturday afternoon is half an hour shorter. Prices for each also vary slightly.

Click International Festival Tastings for more information.

 

Wine Sampling at the Festival

 

Other Events at the Festival

Other popular events at the Vancouver International Wine Festival include the Delta Air Lines Tasting Lounge (which may not be taking place in 2022) and various dinners and parties.

Several different wine seminars also take place over the course of the Wine Festival each year. Prices start at about $70 and each features different wines, moderators and panelists. They provide exceptional opportunities to learn about wine.

Over a dozen different winery dinners also happen with prices ranging from around $150 to $225 per person, not including the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction headliner event for which tickets are about $575.

 


Click Vancouver Wine Festival for the event’s official website.


 

Vancouver Wine Workshop Attendees
Wine Tasting Seminar

 

Tips and Advice

Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your experience at the Vancouver International Wine Festival.

TIP #1: If you’re a wine enthusiast and can afford the tickets, go! It’s not every city that hosts one of the continent’s most prestigious wine festivals! It’s a great event!

TIP #2: Reserve your tickets early. Popular events can sell out weeks in advance!

TIP #3: Make a note of which wines you like so you can remember them for another time. You’ll get to sample many, so don’t forget which ones are your favourites!

TIP #4: The International Festival Tastings at the Convention Centre are the festival’s main events. Book your tickets to these extra early. Also, if you can, go to the one on the Thursday evening as it’s the least crowded and will offer the best opportunity for chatting with the vendors.

TIP #5: Wines are available for sale at the Wine Shop at the four International Festival Tastings events. Just don’t forget to plan in advance how to carry all your purchases home afterwards!

TIP #6: There are always great food samples at the International Festival Tastings. You still need to eat before you go, but there is a nice selection of gourmet items to try. One of our favourite treats at the event are the samples at ARC Iberico Imports. This local company specializes in Spanish meats and delicacies and they attend the International Festival Tastings most years.

 

ARC Iberico at VIWF
ARC Iberico at the International Tastings

 

Other Information

To learn more about the wine festival see the Vancouver International Wine Festival‘s website.

For a list of other things to do in the Lower Mainland, check out any of the following: