2024 Festival Explored Italy and More

The 2024 Vancouver International Wine Festival closed on Sunday, March 3 after eight days of tastings and special events. The theme of the 45th annual festival was Discover Italy, and 71 wineries representing 13 iconic Italian wine regions brought their style, substance, and spectacular wines to the International Festival Tasting Room over six sessions, as well as to seminars, minglers, lunches, and dinners throughout festival week. In all, 147 wineries from 12 countries gathered in Vancouver for Canada’s premier wine show.

“Vancouver’s annual celebration of the grape was another wonderful week of wine and food,” says Harry Hertscheg, executive director of the festival. “We brought the world of wine to members of the public and trade, featuring hundreds of wines exclusive to the festival, raised more than $165,000 for our charitable beneficiary, Bard on the Beach, and showcased Vancouver’s award-winning culinary scene through winery dinners and other special events. Thank you to our keynote speaker, wine writer and educator Filippo Bartolotta, whose enthusiasm and passion was infectious and invigorating! We look forward to another incredible year in 2025, when we feature the wines of the USA.”

Some of the highlights and takeaways from the festival include:

Sergio Zingarelli Library Tasting
Tuesday, February 27, The Vancouver Club
An educational highlight of the festival included this eight-vintage (2012-2019) library vertical seminar of Rocca Delle Macíe’s (RDM) Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, led by Italian wine expert Filippo Bartolotta and RDM President Sergio Zingarelli. “Your scribe has been concerned with the differing quantities of [Gran Selezione] by producers with some restricting it only to their best vineyards like [Sergio Zingarelli] by RDM while others using almost all their grapes to trade off the [Gran Selezione] hierarchy. This needs tweaking but thankfully all the grapes seem to be ripening better in [Chianti Classico] as a result of global warming to the consumer’s advantage in the wines.” Sid Cross, International Wine & Food Society

Rethinking Food & Wine Pairing Lunch
Wednesday, February 28, The Vancouver Club
“Those attending the Rethinking Food & Wine Pairings seminar and keynote speech got more than just food for thought – they enjoyed a fabulous lunch with multiple and adjustable wine pairing options led by Evan Goldstein MS – and then a dynamic talk from renowned wine and food writer Filippo Bartolotta in – “3000 vs 30” – Italy versus the Okanagan in wine experience!” Bill Tieleman, WineBarbarian

Italy Reimagined Plenary
Thursday, February 29, Vancouver Convention Centre
“This conversation, led by Filippo Bartolotta, wine writer and educator, focused on reimagining Italian wines and different regions across Italy. Filippo noted that Italy has a rich 3000-year history in wine making, but it does not mean their wines have always been good. Wine making has evolved. He noted that when phylloxera hit Europe, southern Italy was spared so a wave of high-volume, low-quality wines were exported to the affected countries. There was no impetus to change until the Judgement of Paris when American wines won over French wines. Italian winemakers moved to make big, bold opulent style wines. Slowly tastes evolved so we now winemakers learned that you can have lightness in wines, consisting of precision, definition, and transparency.” Karl Kliparchuk, MyWinePal

Italy’s Lightness of Being Trade Seminar
Friday, March 1, Vancouver Convention Centre
“… Filippo Bartolotta, wine writer and educator, and Michaela Morris, wine writer and educator, [led] a tour of different wine regions in Italy focusing on the change in wine style in Italy, moving toward lightness…. Recently, winemakers learned that you can have lightness in wines, consisting of precision, definition, and transparency. Giving you elegance, like Jannik Sinner, a recent tennis star from Italy. Eight winery principals spoke to us about their wines. We covered Lambrusco, Timorasso, Soave, Greco, Nebbiolo, Chianti Classico wines and much more from Piedmont down to Sicily. Throughout the conversation, the speakers discussed how producers in each region are capturing brightness, acidity and balance to produce lighter style wines that still have flavour, precision, and complexity.” Karl Kliparchuk, MyWinePal

Napa Valley: Cabernet Takes Root Trade Seminar
Friday, March 1, Vancouver Convention Centre
“Eight excellent expensive young Cabs shown by moderator DJ Kearney with panelists Kurtis Ogasawara, Director of Winemaking at Robert Mondavi Winery, owner-proprietor Raymond Signorello, and Mark Williams, Senior Winemaker at Louis Martini. All eight wines showed excellent quality with that unique Napa Cab signature of big ripe intense fruit but with differing nuances of blueberries, blackberries, dark plums, coffee, chocolate, graphite, minerals, violets, mint, oak, and integrated tannins.” Sid Cross, International Wine & Food Society

Sustainable Future of BC Wine Trade Seminar
Friday, March 1, Vancouver Convention Centre
“In recent memory, BC’s winegrowers have confronted unprecedented adversity of scorching heat domes to relentless wildfires and catastrophic cold snaps, the urgency for sustainable practices has never been clearer. As Kelcie Jones aptly stated, ‘We are speaking to you at what is a watershed historical moment for our province.’ Yet, sustainability’s meaning is as varied amongst its producers as it is across BC’s diverse terroirs…. Ultimately, the path is multifaceted, requiring ongoing adaptation and understanding of local ecosystems. And in this, the panellists all agreed; it’s a journey of learning and innovation, where each vineyard’s unique challenges pave the way for resilient solutions thus ensuring a sustainable future for the BC wine industry.” Joanne DiGeso, SommWine

Challenge of the Red Titans Seminar
Friday, March 1, Vancouver Convention Centre
“Heaven for wine lovers might just look like this: take nine of Italy’s finest wineries from across the country, tell them to bring one of their best wines and send one of their principals to talk about it in Vancouver – and let an audience taste them all, hear from each and judge the results! That’s what Challenge of the Red Titans did at the festival – and the results were both stupendous and highly entertaining. From Veneto in the north to Sicily in the south and everywhere in Italy in between, the wines were spectacular! And the explanations – and trash talk – from and between the winery principals were both illuminating and hilarious.” Bill Tieleman, WineBarbarian

Golden State Vineyard Visions Seminar
Friday, March 1, Vancouver Convention Centre
“There is a new word on the block with regards to farming responsibly and it’s called ‘regenerative’. Gabriela Marble, from the certified organic and biodynamic winery Bonterra Organic Estates, gave the best definition of regenerative I’ve heard yet. ‘Sustainable farming is leaving the earth the way that we found it while regenerative means leaving the earth better than we found it.’” Joanne DiGeso, SommWine

The 46th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival runs February 22 to March 2, 2025, featuring the wines of the USA. Participating wineries will be announced in October 2024 and advance tickets to the International Festival Tastings and select events go on sale Wednesday, November 13 at 9:30 a.m.

Stay in Touch:
For more information, go to VanWineFest.ca
X: follow @VanWineFest for festival announcements, including e-news, media releases, and sold-out events. Join the conversation at #VIWF.
Facebook, LinkedIn & Instagram: @VanWineFest

Canada’s premier wine show marked its 45th edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 24-March 3, 2024. The festival showcased 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 took place Wednesday, February 28-Friday, March 1 and raised ~$165,000 for the festival’s charitable beneficiary, Bard on the Beach. 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 ~$10.2 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. The 46th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival will take place February 22-March 2, 2025.

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 21, 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 bardonthebeach.org.


Media Contact: 
Ruby Gillett, MILK Creative Communications
Photo galleries: Contact MILK for hi-res images

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