Taste the World at the Vancouver International Wine Festival
Every February the wine world descends on Vancouver to celebrate wine with the Vancouver International Wine Festival. Now in its 38th year, the Vancouver International Wine Festival is one of the biggest and oldest wine events in the world and offers something for every level of wine drinker, collector and trade professional. Each year a different country is spotlighted - in 2016 it was Italy - but some 15 different countries are represented by around 170 wineries who travel to the city to pour and discuss their wines at more than 50 events over eight days.
It is quite an affair. While attending in 2016, I had the pleasure of attending a few different signature events. My favorite was the special evening tasting put on by Ruffino, which included an opportunity to meet the winemaker and taste a special varietal only being poured at the event. It was held in a hip warehouse space converted into Tuscany for the evening, complete with a gelato stand, complementary music and small Italian bites.
But the heart of the festival is inside the Vancouver Convention Centre where both public and trading tastings are held twice daily for some 750 different wines. These are separated by region with the theme region - this year it was Italy - in a special section of the tasting room space.
More than 600 additional wines are served at special events, like the Ruffino one I attended, orbiting the tasting room, including a gala dinner and auction, wine seminars, trade events, and food and wine pairing affairs at top Vancouver restaurants and hotels.