It’s a bad week for dishwashers but a great week for wine lovers.

By the time the 38th Vancouver International Wine Festival, which is in full swing all around town, wraps up Sunday night, dishwashers will have dealt with 82,000 wine glasses.

And 25,000 wine lovers will have sniffed, swirled and sipped from a selection of 1,470 wines by 155 wineries from 14 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 Acura 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 10 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.

All public tastings are sold out, as are most trade events. The two Trade Tastings have a limited number of tickets left, but only to those who work in the wine and hospitality industry; trade registration is required. To check availability, see the Festival at a Glance at

VanWineFest by the numbers

  • 38th annual (founded 1979)
  • 8 days (Bacchanalia Gala Feb 20; festival Feb 22-28)
  • 24,678 admissions in 2015* (97% of all available tickets were sold)
  • 14 countries
  • 155 wineries
  • 54 events, including 22 winery dinners
  • 28 venues
  • ~ 50 participating restaurants, hotels, caterers
  • 1,470+ wines, including:
    o 700+ at International Festival Tastings
    o 145+ additional wines at Trade Tastings
    o 625+ at special events (dinners, seminars, etc.)
  • 43,000 bottles sampled and/or purchased
  • 82,000 wine glasses used
  • 2016 theme country: ITALY (60 wineries and 240 wines)
  • 450 volunteers
  • Beneficiary: Since inception in 1979, VanWineFest has raised $8.5 million for the performing arts. Since 2013, proceeds have gone to Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival; the fest contributed $175,000 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 from the Get Home Safe booth, courtesy of BC Liquor Stores, as you exit the Acura 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 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. A record number of festivalgoers took advantage of the festival’s hotel offer, which gave a free International Festival Tasting ticket (worth up to $95) to anyone who booked a downtown hotel via beVancouver. That offer is now sold out, but do check other incentives.

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

Stay in Touch:
Twitter and Instagram @VanWineFest. Facebook: /VanWineFest. Join the conversation at #VIWF.

Published by uncorkbc

Join me as I explore the best of BC Wine, one bottle at a time!

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