Celebrating its 35th year of bringing the world of wine to Vancouver, the 2013 festival welcomes California as its Theme Region and puts the Global Focus on Chardonnay. The festival runs from February 25 to March 3. One of North America’s most exciting gatherings of leading winemakers and their wares, this year’s festival will feature 176 wineries from 15 countries, attracting 25,000 participants to the Festival’s seven days of tastings, dinners, seminars and wine minglers at the Vancouver Convention Centre and top restaurants, hotels and venues.
Tickets go on sale on Tuesday January 8th and you will want to get them early for all the events and especially for the dinners that often sell out quickly.
THEME REGION: CALIFORNIA WINES
California will once again star as VanWineFest’s Theme Region, as it did most recently in 2004, and at the festival’s inception in 1979. While that first event featured only a single exhibitor, Robert Mondavi Winery, 63 of this year’s 176 wineries hail from the Golden State. With appellations ranging from coastal, to mountainous, to desert, California boasts an extensive range of terroirs that produce wines of unsurpassed excellence. Whether personal taste leans towards a complex Pinot Noir, a creamy Chardonnay, a rich Cabernet Sauvignon, or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, festivalgoers will have the opportunity to sample these favourites and many more, showcased by wineries from California’s 12 AVA regions.
A SNEAK PEEK AT SOME OF THIS YEAR’S CALIFORNIA WINE EVENTS
A Tour of California – Monday, February 25
California is home to some of the leading vintners in the world, capable of translating nuances of diverse terroirs into wine that is vibrant and complex. This winery dinner, held at the renowned MARKET by Jean-Georges, will take you on a taste-tour of California’s most iconic wine regions and up and coming areas. Sip on famed California varietals and hidden gems only sold directly from the wineries (Edna Valley Vineyard, Bridlewood Estate Winery, Louis M Martini and Apothic), while enjoying a beautifully paired menu prepared by Executive Chef Wayne Harris.
California Cruisin’ – Tuesday, February 26
Kick start your Festival experience the Cali way with an evening of sipping, snacking and socializing with some of California’s biggest wine stars at Vancouver’s chicest dual establishment, Brix Restaurant and George Ultra Lounge. With over 20 of California’s top vintners pouring a selection of their finest wines, specially created California themed tapas by Executive Chef Chris Bisaro, and beats you can’t help but dance to, this event promises to be the ultimate wine mingler experience.
Regional Superstars of California – Friday, March 1
Wine educator DJ Kearney surveys the diversity of California’s wine growing regions and leads you on a tasting to explore some of California’s highest quality wines. Join a panel of esteemed vintners whose goal is to craft wines that fully reflect the different terroirs California offers through wines that express both their origin and identity.
Savour California Flavour – Saturday, March 2
This wine-tasting, food-grazing spectacular in the Theme Region section of the Tasting Room is an excellent way to experience the best VanWineFest has to offer, West Coast style. Nosh, sip and mingle your way around this gastronomic showcase while admiring the magnificent backdrop of the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet. Meant to be a full sensory experience, exceptional wines from over 60 California wineries, exquisitely prepared canapés and lively music and entertainment will create an event to be reminisced about for years to come.
GLOBAL FOCUS: CHARDONNAY
Chardonnay is arguably one of the most popular varietals in the world. An incredibly versatile grape, it can be rich, fruity, buttery and bright and pairs wonderfully with a wide range of foods. Malleable and responsive, Chardonnay lends itself well to a range of styles, such as crisp, dry examples from France’s famous Burgundy region, bold, fruit-forward New World representations from California, and elegant, savoury Blanc de Blancs bubbles from Champagne. Thanks to its adaptability, Chardonnay remains a varietal that is grown and enjoyed the world over.
A TASTE OF THIS YEAR’S CHARDONNAY EVENTS
All About Chardonnay – Thursday, February 28
Winemaking is an art, and this comparative tasting is designed to show off the versatility of Chardonnay and the impact a winemaker’s personal approach has on the finished product. Countless variables contribute to the representation of the varietal, from growing conditions and techniques to production methods and aging procedures. During this seminar, differing styles are tasted side by side in order to appreciate the adaptability of this grape.
A Chardonnay Kitchen Party – Saturday, March 2
Don’t the best parties always end up in the kitchen? That’s the idea behind this celebration of all things Chardonnay, held at the stylish Miele Showroom. Join Hired Belly Tim Pawsey and Chef Dana Reinhardt as they introduce guests to beautifully prepared foods to pair with Chardonnay. Designed as a marketplace mingler, attendees are encouraged to browse the stations and get a comprehensive sense of the impressive versatility of this grape.
Tickets to the ever-popular Vancouver International Wine Festival, presented by The Vancouver Sun, go on sale January 8, 2013. Beginning at 9:30 am, tickets may be purchased online at vanwinefest.ca, in person at 305-456 West Broadway, or by phoning the box office at 604-873-3311 or toll-free at 1-877-321-3121. Many of the festival’s coveted 55 events are expected to sell out in the first few days of onsale, so wine lovers are encouraged to buy early.
To view this year’s participating wineries visit vanwinefest.ca/page412.htm
Full festival details are online at VanWineFest.ca and on twitter @VanWineFest.
A passionate supporter of the arts, VanWineFest is proud to have the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival as its charitable partner.
By: Richard Wolak