Media Facts 2018
41st Vancouver International Wine Festival – February 23-March 3, 2019
2019 Quick Facts
- 41st annual (founded 1979)
- 8 days, Feb 23-Mar 3 (Bacchanalia Gala, Feb 23)
- 25,000+ admissions (97% of tickets sold in 2018)
- 16 countries
- 160 wineries; including 53 from featured region California
- 54 events (20 are California events) at ~25 venues
- 42 public events; 12 trade-only events
- ~ 50 participating restaurants, hotels, caterers
- 1,500 wines projected, including an estimated:
- ~ 750 wines at International Festival Tastings
- ~ 150 additional wines at Trade Tastings
- ~ 600 wines at special events (dinners, seminars, etc)
- 42,000 bottles poured and/or purchased (2018 stats)
- 82,000 wine glasses used (2018 stats)
- Tasting Room size (at VCC): 53,000 square feet
Beneficiary – Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
Since 1979, VIWF has raised $9.2 million for the performing arts. Our beneficiary since 2013 is Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. VIWF has raised more than $1.2 million for Bard since, including $280,000 in 2018. The festival was created as a fundraiser for the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company, continuing as such for 33 years until that company closed in 2012.
Where is it?
The festival is headquartered at the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) downtown. The Tasting Room, most seminars and trade events take place at VCC. Other special events (dinners, lunches, wine minglers and the Bacchanalia Gala) take place at some 20+ venues all around the city, including many of Vancouver’s top restaurants and hotels.
Vancouver International Wine Festival has been described as “the largest wine festival in the Americas” with 25,000+ admissions. It is Canada’s premier wine show and widely considered to be one of the best wine events in the world. At age 41, it is also among the oldest. Its slogan is “The Wine World is Here”. For the past six years, VIWF has been voted the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash.
The festival typically features over 50 events; about 40 are public events and the rest are for trade only. The heart of the festival is the Tasting Room, where the public can choose from ~750 wines at four International Festival Tastings (IFT), and industry professionals can sample those plus an additional ~150 wines at two Trade Tastings. The special events that orbit the Tasting Room (seminars, vintage tastings, winery dinners, lunches, brunches, wine minglers, etc.) serve another ~600 wines.
The 3-day Trade Days Conference (February 27-March 1) offers the trade opportunities to grow their wine knowledge at seminars, tastings and networking lunches. VIWF presents coveted Celebrating Excellence trade awards include Sommelier of the Year (chosen by CAPS), Spirited Industry Professional (SIP Award), Wine Program Excellence and Vintners Brunch Pairing Competition; they are announced at the Celebrating Excellence: Annual Awards Lunch.
This international festival typically serves wines from ~15 countries. There is a focus on a different region or country every year (California for 2019); the featured region has its own section in the Tasting Room and offers thematic seminars and food and wine events throughout the week.
Featured countries or themes
2019 featured region/theme
- Dream Big: California Style (53 wineries)
Past themes/featured countries
- 2018 – Viva Iberia: Portugal (20 wineries) and Spain (38 wineries)
- 2017 – The Wine World Celebrates Canada
- 2016 – Italia!
- 2015 – Savour Australia
- 2014 – France Bon Appétit
- 2013 – California Wines
- 2012 – Wines of Chile
- 2011 – Wines from Spain
- 2010 – Wines of Argentina & New Zealand Wines
- 2009 – Celebrate British Columbia
- 2008 – Vino Italiano: Innovation by Tradition
- 2007 – Australian Wine: A World of Difference
- 2006 – Wine Regions of France
- 2005 – Taste the new South Africa
- 2004 – Discover the Wine Regions of California
- 2003 – Showcasing Wines of Chile
- 2002 – Germany & Portugal
- 2001 – Spain
- 2000 – Italy
- 1999 – Australia
- 1998 – California
- 1997 – Canada
- 1996 – Bordeaux
What’s the big deal?
Vine stars – the rock stars of the wine world come to Vancouver for VIWF. As a condition of participation, every winery must have a winery principal (winemaker, owner, senior executive) present in the Tasting Room and at their special events.
Stove stars – the rock stars of BC’s vibrant culinary scene are here too. More than 50 of the province’s most celebrated restaurants and chefs, hotels, caterers and food suppliers participate.
VIWF has three primary mandates. It provides an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for consumers and trade, serves as a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry, and raises money for the performing arts in Vancouver.
Social: #VIWF @VanWineFest
Box office and key tickets-on-sale info
Box office 604-873-3311 or toll free 1-877-321-3121
- Nov 1 – advance tickets (save $, limited #) on sale for:
- International Festival Tastings
- Gold Pass
- Delta Air Lines Tasting Lounge
- Dec 1 – Trade Days passes on sale
- Dec 15 – Advance sale ends; regular rates apply
- Jan 9 – all consumer events on sale
- Jan 23 – all Trade Days events on
Updated October 2018