Gala Raises $165,000+ for Bard

The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, presented by National Bank Private Banking 1859, the sparkling centrepiece of the Vancouver International Wine Festival, took place Saturday, February 24, at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Live and silent auctions and the wine wall raised more than $145,000, while the sold-out raffle for two round-trip business-class tickets to anywhere Delta Air Lines flies in Europe, donated by Delta Air Lines, raised an additional $20,000.

The evening featured special guests, Honorary Gala Chair Howard Soon, C.M., and Academy and Tony-award winning actress Marcia Gay Harden. Ms. Harden spoke eloquently about the transformative nature of theatre in her life and the hope it brings to the lives of young people in these troubled times. She encouraged guests to bid often and high, as net proceeds of this annual fundraiser benefit the festival’s charitable partner Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

“It was an extraordinary honour to have Marcia Gay Harden at the Gala, adding star power to an already glittering night” says Bard on the Beach Artistic Director Christopher Gaze. “And we were thrilled to be back in the BC Ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, where guests enjoyed an incredible evening of wine and food. Once the Delta Air Lines raffle prize was awarded, the dance floor was packed! The funds the Gala raised will give our unique Education programs even more impact and this generous support will help us teach and inspire thousands of young people across British Columbia. All of us at Bard say a huge thank you to the organizing team and to everyone who attended.”

The evening began with a Prosecco wine reception, where roving volunteers helped guests register for the online Silent Auction. Following the reception, guests savoured nine spectacular wines perfectly paired with five courses created by the Fairmont’s executive chef, David Baarschers.

Throughout dinner, guests were able to place their bids using their mobile phones on silent auction lots of exclusive and rare wines and wine experiences, while Masters of Ceremonies Sophie Lui of Global BC and Christopher Gaze kept the evening flowing. During the dinner, Tim Ellison from The Vancouver Club hosted the exciting Live Auction, which featured once-in-a-lifetime wine lots and sensational packages.

“Private Banking 1859 is so proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction for the fourth consecutive year,” says Haleh Alexander, Regional Vice President, British Columbia, of National Bank Private Banking 1859. “This wonderful event, which supports Bard on the Beach’s mission to educate youth in the world of arts and culture, aligns so well with our values. I look forward to the evening every year.”

The sold-out raffle for two Delta One International Business Class tickets, donated by Delta Air Lines, raised an additional $20,000. Net proceeds from the 2024 festival, contributed to Bard on the Beach, will be announced at VIWF’s fiscal year-end and in conjunction with the opening of the Bard on the Beach season in June. Next year’s Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction is scheduled for February 22, 2025.

The following dinner wines were generously donated by the wineries and their agents:

Tommasi Viticoltori Filodora Prosecco DOC NV, Veneto, Italy
Vini Tonon Camúl Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Millesimato Brut DOCG 2022, Veneto, Italy
Cantine Volpi La Zerba Colli Tortonesi DOC Timorasso Derthona 2021, Piedmont, Italy
Azienda Agricola Bocale di Valentini Bocale Spoleto DOC Trebbiano Spoletino 2021, Umbria, Italy
Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione 2019, Tuscany, Italy
Azienda Agricola Marziano Abbona “Papà Celso” Dogliani DOCG 2021, Piedmont, Italy
Tenuta di Arceno
Strada al Sasso Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione 2019, Tuscany, Italy
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2018, Tuscany, Italy
Giuseppe Campagnola Caterina Zardini Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico Riserva 2018, Veneto, Italy
MASI Agricola Mezzanella Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG Classico Amandorlato 2017, Veneto, Italy 

Guests were surprised with a bonus wine during the cheese course:

Azienda Agricola Marziano Abbona Tistin Roero Arneis DOCG 2022, Piedmont, Italy

Tickets are still available for select events during Festival week.

Online: 24/7 
604-873-3311, toll free 1-877-321-3121 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.)
All ticket prices include wine, food (if a food event), gratuities, taxes and service charge.

Stay In Touch
For more information about the Vancouver International Wine Festival go to and read our Quick Facts.

Twitter: Follow @VanWineFest for announcements, including e-news, festival updates & media releases. Join the conversation at #VIWF.
Facebook / Instagram: @VanWineFest

Canada’s premier wine show marks its 45th edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 24-March 3, 2024. The festival is showcasing 147 wineries from 12 countries, featured in 42 events over eight days. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, presented by National Bank Private Banking 1859, is the main fundraising event of the festival and kicked off the festival on Saturday, February 24 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Trade Days takes place Wednesday, February 28-Friday, March 1. The festival is consistently ranked the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash, and was named one of the world’s top 10 wine trade shows by Wine International Association. 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 more than $10 million for the performing arts. Major sponsors are Delta Air Lines and The Vancouver Sun; major industry partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, BCLIQUOR, and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. The Vancouver International Wine Festival gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.

Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals, presented on the waterfront at Sen?á?w/Vanier Park. The festival offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas, and popular special events in two performance tents every June through September. Over 2 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception, growing to annual attendance close to 100,000. This year’s festival dates are June 11 to September 28, 2024, and scheduled plays include Twelfth Night, Hamlet, The Comedy of Errors, and Measure for Measure. Bard also offers a range of education programs for learners from eight to 80. Full details and education program information are at

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  • Elena Ferrucci

    I love Marcia Gay Harden,she looks soo fabulous and she is a wonderful actress !!! I hope she can send me a autograph .

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