Next World Chardonnay

Tuesday, February 28, 4:30-6 p.m.

Recap by Karl Kliperchuk, MyWinePal

Our moderator was Anthony Gismondi and panellist was Randy Ullom from Jackson Family Wines & Kendall-Jackson wines. Randy lives and works in California, but learned about wine and his love of wine in an extended trip to Chile as a young adult. Randy noted that as you go from north to south along the coast, the flavours of the Chardonnay grape from (the north) crisp green apple -> ripe apple -> pear -> lemon lime -> tropical fruit (in the south). The Northern California coast gets daily fog which comes in at night and slowly burns off in the morning. The fog helps keep the grapes cooler through the growing season, which helps make the growing season longer so that the grapes can reach full phenolic ripeness. The closer to the coast, of course, the more fog you get. Elevation also affects temperature, so grapes growing at higher elevations along mountainsides in California will also get a longer growing season.


Moderator: Anthony Gismondi
Panelist: Randy Ullom

Grapes Unknown

Thursday, February 28, 5:15-6:45 p.m.

Recap by Debbie Trenholm, Savvy Company

Coming soon!

Moderator: James Nevison
Panelists: Massimo Di Lenardo, Charlie Geoghegan, Jane Glee, Katharine Anderson Groethe, Dražan Krolo, David Phillips, Miron Radic, Iva Rudolf, Giovanni Silvestri, Maria Sosa, Sara Triggs

Pinot’s Siren Call of Seduction

Thursday, February 28, 5:15-6:45 p.m.

Recap by Bill Tieleman, Wine Barbarian

“Pinot Noir is other worldly when it’s hitting you spot on,” says Shirley Brooks of Elk Cove Vineyards in Oregon. “It’s entirely mysterious.” That was the consensus when 9 winery principals from around the world gathered at the Vancouver International Wine Festival seminar appropriately titled “Pinot’s Siren Call of Seduction“ on Thursday, hosted by wine writer and educator Paul Wagner. Jean-Claude Boisett from Burgundy added his voice to that, saying: “Pinot shows its face, disappears, then comes back.“ And Justin Seidenfeld of California’s Rodney Strong Vineyards summed up the feeling of the panel when he said: “It’s the one varietal that drives us nuts! But it’s that one great Pinot Noir that keeps you coming back for more.” Added Darryl Brooker of Mission Hill Family Estate: “The fun is, you never get it right!” While many rhapsodized about the mysterious nature of Pinot Noir, Thomas Price of Jackson Family Wines in Oregon was also practical. “Pinot Noir is really about layers – it is so versatile,” he said. “Pinot Noir takes on the place and the personality of who makes it more than any other grape.“ In the end, those attending got a master class in masterful winemaking that illustrated Pinot Noir is totally seductive no matter where it is grown, from New Zealand to France to the United States and Canada.

Moderator: Paul Wagner
Panelists: Ross Baker, Jean-Charles Boisset, Darryl Brooker, Shirley Brooks, Matt Dumayne, Randy Fabian, Gina Gallo, Thomas Price, Rick Sayre


RMW: A Visionary Journey

Thursday, February 28, 5:15-6:45 p.m.

Recap by Karen Wright, Savvy Company

Guided by the unduly modest Geneviève Janssens, Mark de Vere enthusiastically shared with us the history, evolution, innovation and vision of the Robert Mondavi Winery.

Read the full recap.

Moderator: Mark de Vere MW
Panelist: Genevieve Janssens


The Icons of Napa Valley

Friday, March 1, 5:15-6:45 p.m.

Recap by Sid Cross 

DJ stated Napa Valley has 56,000 acres of grape vines with 20000 of them high reputation Cabernet Sauvignon. Ten Napa Valley wines were presented with insider knowledge supplied by a principal from each winery.

Read more at The International Wine & Food Society

Moderator: DJ Kearney
Panelists: Gillian Ballance MS, Brian Bostwick, Mark de Vere MW, Harvest Duhig, Michael Eddy, Thomas Price, Brooke Shenk, Jon Ruel, Maryanne Wedner, Russ Weis


Rhône Around the World

Friday, March 1, 5:15-6:45 p.m.

Recap by Karl Kliperchuk, MyWinePal

When you think of Rhône wines, what comes to your mind? Probably Syrah from the northern Rhône; Hermitage, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône. Both red wines. But, there are also white wines in the Rhône. Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier are all white grapes grown in the Rhône Valley. Viognier is sometimes co-fermented with Syrah to extract more colour from the Syrah grape and to add a floral component to the wine. In today’s tasting, we first tasted through 4 white Rhône wines, followed by 8 red Rhône wines.

Read more at MyWinePal

Moderators: Mark Shipway, Jon Bonné
Panelists: Ross Baker, Donal Black, Frédéric Chaudière, Bernard Duseigneur, Bodhi Edwards, Garron Elmes, Loren Gil, Matt Herde, Sam Holmes, Austin Hope


Next Gen California

Saturday, March 2, 5:15-6:45 p.m.

Recap by Gloria Chang,

The inimitable wine educator DJ Kearney led a panel of California wine stalwarts, including Gallo, Hope Family Wines, Lange Twins Family Winery and Vineyard, Wagner Family of Wine, and Signorello Estate at the 2019 Vancouver International Wine Festival’s Next Gen California wine seminar. Many of the panelists were second and third generation wine visionaries, who gathered to speak of their red wines – for which California is generally known and loved. But this time Cabernet Sauvignon was joined by Pinot Noir, Merlot, Petite Sirah, and Syrah from a variety of American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) including Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and Santa Lucia Highlands (part of Monterey County).

As this year’s wine festival theme region, California has lots to boast about. It is the leading wine-producing state in the U.S., making more than 81 per cent of all American wine. If California were a nation, it would be the fourth leading wine-producing country in the world, behind France, Italy, and Spain. Cheers to California Wine!

Moderator: DJ Kearney
Panelists: Jamie Benziger, Harvest Duhig, Gina Gallo, Ralf Holdenried, Austin Hope, Randy Lange, Justin Seidenfeld, Ray Signorello, Melissa Stackhouse


Ravenswood’s Godfather of Zin

Saturday, March 2, 5:15-6:45 p.m.

Recap by Barbara Wild, Good Wine Gal

It was a full house Saturday evening at 5:15 pm as the wine lovers packed into the last of the seminars at the VIWF 2019. Joel Petersen was ready. At 72 year of age, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Understated with few airs and lots of stories, he’s the guy you with whom you want to spend time. He’s been toiling in the vines and in the winery since 1973 making his mark in Sonoma. He started Ravenswood in 1976. That was the year of “Judgement in Paris”. It put California on the map. Fortuitous I say! Turns out, one of his secrets is – he learned to taste with his dad at the age of 10. While other kids were playing sports with their friends, Joel was tasting wine.

Read more at Good Wine Gal.

Panelist: Joel Peterson


The Shape of Wine

Saturday, March 2, 5:15-6:45 p.m.

Recap by Adrian Brijbassi,

Tell most people the shape of their glass will alter the taste of the wine they drink and you’re likely to get a look that questions your sobriety. At Riedel’s Shape of Wine seminar, however, attendees left impressed, if not incredulous, at the evidence that was literally presented on their palates. The session at the 2019 Vancouver International Wine Festival showed that wine’s taste does indeed change depending on the width and height of the glass its poured into. The reasons are scientific and date to the founding of Riedel Crystal in Austria in the 18th century. As the seminar showed, the shape of the glass should grow with each component in the wine. So, a tall, slender glass like those typically used for white wine are for drinking Riesling and other sweet wines that are unoaked and overwhelmingly fruit-forward. A glass that is globe-shaped should be used with wines that have fruit and were also aged in a barrel, such as Chardonnay. Barrel-aged wines with fruit and plenty of skin, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends, are ideally served in a massive glass that allows for oxygen to soften the thickness of the tannin, leading to a flavour that’s elegant and silky. At the least, you can take the knowledge from this seminar and turn it into a fun party trick. At best, you have forever transformed your wine-drinking experiences for the better.

Moderator: Alysha Harker
: Cecilia Carrasco, Randy Picton, Sam Temme, Karl Wente


PICA Kitchen Party

Saturday, March 2, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Recap by Hanson Do, Nosh & Nibble

With great wine comes great food pairing responsibility. The 2019 edition of the Vancouver International Wine Festival saw the return of another festival favourite: the PICA Kitchen Party. Featuring 9 wines, 8 chefs, 6 kitchens, and a whole ton of food and beverage, not a soul left famished during this 2.5 grazing event hosted by the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts.

Read more at Nosh & Nibble.


Vintners Brunch

Sunday, March 3, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Recap by Tim Pawsey, HiredBelly

Vintners Brunch is for many still their VanWineFest highlight. It’s easy to see why. The setting is dazzling, especially on a day like this past Sunday, when the North Shore Mountains and harbour seem almost on the edge of the room. It’s also a great party, one of few events that comes with live music. And while I haven’t been to all 31, I do recall one reason, in part, why it became so popular. Way back when, in the festival’s early days, dancing at a tasting was definitely edgy! In fact dancing at any licensed event was frowned on, if not forbidden by liquor control. Not to mention, on a Sunday, at that. Happily, we’ve a come a long way.



Festival Recap

Saturday, February 23-Sunday, March 3, 2019

Recap by Sid Cross

Another success for Canada’s premier wine show at the 41st Vancouver International Wine Festival (@VanWineFest & #VIWF) February 23 to March 3, 2019 featuring 160 wineries from 16 countries each with a representative winery principal in attendance. Many tasting events, seminars, trade day conferences, lunches, dinners, and fund raising Bacchanalia Dinner + Auction. Almost 1500 wines to try and taste with the theme region this year being 53 California wineries. Your scribe has an endurance record of actively participating in all 41 of these Festivals. Great memories. Remember well that first one back in February 1979 featuring only the Robert Mondavi winery with Michael Mondavi leading a component solutions tasting of acids, tannins, and other important elements followed by barrel samples of the 1978 vintage matched with their 1977 Fume Blanc, 1976 Pinot Noir, and 1975 Cabernet Sauvignon. Fun to reminisce about those while tasting the same varieties but from 2017 Fume Blanc and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon 40 years later with winemaker Genevieve Janssens & Mark de Vere MW. Even better wines now!

Read more at The International Wine & Food Society.