ITALIA! TAKES CENTRE STAGE IN THE ACURA TASTING ROOM

A limited number of discounted advance tickets to the 38th Vancouver International Wine Festival go on sale November 3 at 9:30 a.m. The festival runs February 20 to 28, 2016, welcoming 156 wineries from 14 countries. All wineries and their principals gather in the Acura Tasting Room to showcase their wines at the four International Festival Tastings (February 25 to 27), available for $10 off the regular price until December 31, or while quantities last.

The 2016 festival features ITALIA! as the theme country with 60 wineries from nine iconic regions, nearly one third of which are participating for the first time. This marks the largest assembly of Italian wineries in VanWineFest history. “This gathering of Italian producers will allow Vancouver wine lovers to explore nine of Italy’s storied regions, discovering an extraordinary range of grapes – more than 50 varieties in the tasting room alone,” says VIWF winery selection chair David Hopgood. “No other country in the world could come close to offering such a diverse array of rare and exciting grape varieties.”

Overall, one out of five wineries is new to the 2016 festival, including wineries from New Mexico and Kamloops for the first time. The festival also features the return of 2015 festival first-timer, Croatia, now with two wineries, and Greece, which has a winery participating for the first time since 2011.

HO! HO! HO! ADVANCE TICKETS ON SALE NOVEMBER 3
Discounted passes and tickets to select events go on sale November 3 until December 31, or while quantities last. Tickets make a great holiday gift for the wine lover on your list and you won’t have to battle any Black Friday crowds to get these bargains. The advance sale offers savings on International Festival Tasting tickets and associated events. To get a ticket for zero dollars, simply book a stay at a downtown hotel via beVancouver.com. See details below.

INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL TASTINGS HIGHLIGHTS
See the full list of participating wineries

Festivalgoers can save $10 off the regular price of International Festival Tasting tickets (Thursday, February 25, Friday, February 26 and Saturday, February 27). Advance tickets for evening tastings, 7 to 10 p.m., are $79 for Thursday and $85 for Friday and Saturday. The Saturday matinee tasting from 2:30 to 5 p.m., which this year offers an extra half hour of tasting against the stunning backdrop of Coal Harbour, is available for the low advance price of $65. Only 250 tickets are available at the advance rate for each of the four sessions. Once they sell out, tickets can be purchased at regular prices.

The Acura Tasting Room at the Vancouver Convention Centre is where all 156 participating wineries gather to pour 700+ select wines. Discover exciting new wines, or return to your favourites, sipping from premium wine glasses. The room will also feature regional tasting stations from Australia, British Columbia and New Zealand as well as wine and food related exhibitors.

Theme Country: ITALIA!
Theme country Italy takes centre stage at the International Festival Tastings, with all 60 wineries showcased in the sophisticated ITALIA! section. ITALIA! will feature wines from nine distinct regions, including Veneto, Tuscany and Piedmont, as well as regional tasting stations presenting wines from the key viticultural regions of Chianti Classico and Valpolicella.

Vine Stars
What makes VanWineFest unique is the presence of global “vine stars” – winemakers, proprietors, senior executives—who come to Vancouver every year to pour and discuss their wines with festivalgoers. Each winery will be represented in the room by a principal, someone closely involved in the wine-production process. Seek out the royal blue lanyards at tastings and special events to meet our vine stars face-to-face.

More Room, Smaller crowds
Both the Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon sessions are guaranteed to have a lower capacity than Friday and Saturday evening, offering more room and more time to interact with winery principals.

BC Liquor Stores Festival Wine Shop
Included in the price of each ticket is the opportunity to shop at the on-site BC Liquor Store where wines from all participating wineries will be available for purchase. Purchased wines can be shipped at no cost to your nearest BC Liquor Store for pick-up after the festival. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch will also help everybody Get Home Safe by providing a complimentary transit ticket to patrons as they leave the tastings.

Buy the Case – Shop the World
Festival partners BC Liquor Distribution Branch and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association (IVSA) have teamed up to allow festivalgoers to order case lots of select wines. Wines available by the case will be identified with a neck tag. Place orders for those must-have wines directly at the participating winery tables and they’ll be delivered to your closest BC Liquor Store within two weeks of the conclusion of the festival.

DELTA AIR LINES TASTING LOUNGE
Enjoy an enhanced International Festival Tasting experience with tickets to the exclusive Friday and Saturday evening Delta Air Lines Tasting Lounge (formerly the Gold Pass Tasting Lounge) and still save $10 (advance rate $170). Located in the Ocean Foyer in VCC West, right next to the Acura Tasting Room, the lounge is open 5:45 to 9 p.m. and offers easy access to the corresponding International Festival Tasting. Select wines, light bites and artisanal cheeses are served.

GOLD PASSES
For those wanting the full tasting experience, Gold Passes go on sale for only $475, a $20 savings. Gold Passes include access to six tastings (four public IFTs and two Trade Tastings, presented by ContainerWorld), the Delta Air Lines Tasting Lounge and the exclusive Festival Toast VIP reception. Purchased individually, the Gold Pass events are valued at $682.

FREE TICKET WITH HOTEL BOOKING
For a third consecutive year, Vancouver Hotel Destination Association offers a free International Festival Tasting ticket (a $75 to $95 value at regular rates) to festivalgoers who book a stay via beVancouver.com at any of its 35 participating downtown hotels. Quantities are limited and Saturday evening sold out well in advance in 2015, so book early. The beVancouver.com initiative is an important cornerstone of the festival’s Don’t Wine and Drive program.

HOW TO PURCHASE ADVANCE TICKETS (Nov. 3-Dec. 31, while quantities last)
Online: VanWineFest.ca
Phone: 604-873-3311, toll free 1-877-321-3121 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.)
In person: 305–456 West Broadway, Vancouver (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.)

SAVE THE DATES
All public events go on sale Tuesday, January 12 at 9:30 a.m.
All Trade Days Conference events, presented by Sysco, go on sale Tuesday, January 26 at 9:30 a.m.

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