Dishwashers weep

Wine lovers rejoice!
39th VanWineFest serves up 82,000 wine glasses; 42,000 bottles of wine

Vancouver, BC (February 15, 2017) – It’s a bad week for dishwashers but a great week for wine lovers.

The 39th Vancouver International Wine Festival is in full swing all around town, and by the time it wraps up Sunday night, dishwashers will have dealt with 82,000 wine glasses. And countless plates, cups and cutlery.

And 25,000 wine lovers will have sniffed, swirled and sipped from a selection of 1,700 wines by 180 wineries from 16 countries at 54 events. In total, festivalgoers will have sampled from or stocked their cellars with some 43,000 bottles of wine.

VanWineFest is headquartered at the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is the site of the Tasting Room, the hub of the festival, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is home to four International Festival Tastings and two Trade Tastings, presented by ContainerWorld. Most of the 14 events in the Trade Days Conference, presented by Sysco, also take place at VCC. Dinners and other events are hosted by top restaurants and hotels throughout the city.

Three of the International Festival Tastings (Thursday and Friday evenings, and Saturday matinee) each have a few tickets left, but all are on the going-fast list. Tickets range from $79 to $95, but if you wait until day-of to buy, add $10 (a limited number of tickets will be released one hour prior to each tasting).

The fabulous Saturday theme region lunch, Celebrating Canada’s 150th, $109 all-in, invites you to “taste across Canada” with a 17-item coast to coast menu and 76 charming Canadian vine stars pouring 152 wines. With lunch! And you can Discover Ontario’s Cool at a Thursday afternoon seminar – lifelong learning, wine-style. See all available public events here.

Both Trade Tastings are still available, but only to those who work in the wine and hospitality industry; trade registration is required. Check availability of all Trade Days events here.

VanWineFest by the numbers

  • 39th annual (founded 1979)
  • 8 days (Bacchanalia Gala Feb 11; festival Feb 13-19)
  • 24,783 admissions in 2016 (99% of all available tickets were sold)
  • 16 countries
  • 180 wineries
  • 54 events, including tastings, seminars, winery dinners, minglers, lunches, brunch and more
  • 28 venues
  • 50 participating restaurants, hotels, caterers
  • 1,700+ wines, including
    o   780+ at International Festival Tastings
    o   170+ additional wines at Trade Tastings
    o   750+ at special events (dinners, seminars, etc.)
  • 2017 theme: The Wine World Celebrates Canada, with 76 wineries from British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia, serving 300 wines (included in the above total wine count)
  • 43,000 bottles sampled and/or purchased
  • 82,000 wine glasses used
  • 450 volunteers
  • Beneficiary: Since inception in 1979, VanWineFest has raised $8.7 million for the performing arts. Since 2013, proceeds have gone to Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival; the fest contributed $235,000 to Bard in 2015.

Don’t Wine and Drive
Whether you’re on four wheels or two, festivalgoers are strongly urged to leave the wheels at home.

  • Pick up a free transit ticket from the Get Home Safe booth, courtesy of BC Liquor Stores, as you exit the Tasting Room.
  • Or take a cab or a limo – it’s considerably cheaper than having your car towed from a spot check, to say nothing of the other nasty consequences. “Taking a cab home is the cheapest car insurance you can buy,” says Randy Kaardal, chair of the VIWF board of directors.
  • Or make a weekend of it and book a downtown hotel via festival partner, which offers compelling incentives. (The free ticket offer with beVancouver booking is now sold out, but do check other rewards.

The festival closes on Sunday with several sold-out events, including the always-popular Vintners Brunch, presented by the Vancouver Sun.

Phone: 604-873-3311, toll free 1-877-321-3121 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.)
In person: Onsite at VCC West, Thursday, February 16, and Friday, February 17 – 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday, February 18, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
All ticket prices include wine, food (if a food event), gratuities, taxes and service charge.

Stay in Touch:
For more information, go to and sign up for VanWineFest E-News.
Facebook & Instagram: /VanWineFest
Twitter: follow @VanWineFest for news on tickets and sold-out events. Join the conversation at #VIWF.

Canada’s premier wine show marks its 39th edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 11 to 19, 2017. The festival features The Wine World Celebrates Canada as the theme. The festival will showcase 180 wineries from 16 countries (including 76 wineries from Canada) pouring a projected 1,700 wines at 54 events to a projected 25,000 admissions. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction opens the festival on Saturday, February 11 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The Trade Days Conference, presented by Sysco, takes place Wednesday, February 15 to Friday, February 17. The festival has been named the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Industry Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash for four years running.

The festival is produced by the Vancouver International Wine Festival Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and festival partners; and raise funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. Since inception in 1979, the festival has raised $8.7 million for the performing arts. Major sponsors are Delta Air Lines and the Vancouver Sun; major industry partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, Canadian Vintners Association and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. The festival is made possible through the gracious support of our participating countries’ consulates and embassies.

Wines of Canada is a collaborative initiative of the Canadian Vintners Association and regional wine associations – British Columbia Wine Institute, Wine Marketing Association of Ontario, Vignerons indépendants du Québec and the Winery Association of Nova Scotia – to bring the country’s best wines to the world. Partial funding for this project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the AgriMarketing program through Growing Forward 2.

Celebrating its 27th season in 2016, Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals. It is presented on the waterfront in Kitsilano’s Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver’s downtown core. Bard on the Beach offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas and popular special events in two performance tents every June through September. In 2016, attendance exceeded 100,000 and more than 1.4 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception. This year’s festival dates are June 1 to September 23, 2017 and the lineup includes Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, plus a special limited-run presentation of Shylock. Bard also offers a range of education programs, including Young Shakespeareans Workshops for 8 to 18-year-olds at its Vanier Park site during the summer, and Riotous Youth for 19 to 24-year-olds. During the school term, Bard also offers workshops for educators and youth in schools and community centres throughout BC’s Lower Mainland, as well as at its new administrative home, the BMO Theatre Centre (162 West 1st Avenue). Full details and education program information are at


Nicola Humphrey
Milk Creative Communications
C: 778-885-6683
O: 604-844-9570

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