Dishwashers weep, wine lovers rejoice

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The 39th Vancouver International Wine Festival is in full swing all around town, and by the time it wraps up Sunday night, dishwashers will have dealt with 82,000 wine glasses. And countless plates, cups and cutlery.

And 25,000 wine lovers will have sniffed, swirled and sipped from a selection of 1,700 wines by 180 wineries from 16 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 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 14 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.

Three of the International Festival Tastings (Thursday and Friday evenings, and Saturday matinee) each have a few tickets left, but all are on the going-fast list. Tickets range from $79 to $95, but if you wait until day-of to buy, add $10 (a limited number of tickets will be released one hour prior to each tasting).

The fabulous Saturday theme region lunch, Celebrating Canada’s 150th, $109 all-in, invites you to “taste across Canada” with a 17-item coast to coast menu and 76 charming Canadian vine stars pouring 152 wines. With lunch! And you can Discover Ontario’s Cool at a Thursday afternoon seminar – lifelong learning, wine-style. See all available public events here.

Both Trade Tastings are still available, but only to those who work in the wine and hospitality industry; trade registration is required. Check availability of all Trade Days events here.

VanWineFest by the numbers

  • 39th annual (founded 1979)
    ·  8 days (Bacchanalia Gala Feb 11; festival Feb 13-19)
    ·  24,783 admissions in 2016 (99% of all available tickets were sold)
    ·  16 countries
    ·  180 wineries
    ·  54 events, including tastings, seminars, winery dinners, minglers, lunches, brunch and more
    ·  28 venues
    ·  ~ 50 participating restaurants, hotels, caterers
    ·  1,700+ wines, including
    o   780+ at International Festival Tastings
    o   170+ additional wines at Trade Tastings
    o   750+ at special events (dinners, seminars, etc.)
    ·  2017 theme: The Wine World Celebrates Canada, with 76 wineries from British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia, serving 300 wines (included in the above total wine count)
    ·  43,000 bottles sampled and/or purchased
    ·  82,000 wine glasses used
    ·  450 volunteers
    ·  Beneficiary: Since inception in 1979, VanWineFest has raised $8.7 million for the performing arts. Since 2013, proceeds have gone to Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival; the fest contributed $235,000 to Bard in 2015.

HOW TO PURCHASE TICKETS
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: Onsite at VCC West, Thursday, February 16, and Friday, February 179 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday, February 18, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
All ticket prices include wine, food (if a food event), gratuities, taxes and service charge.

*Release from the Vancouver International Wine Festival

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BC’s ICONIC Sparkling will POP at Wine Fest!

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Each year, the Vancouver International Wine Festival focuses on a different country, and this year- just in time to kick off 150 year birthday celebrations- it’s all about CANADA, with 76 wineries from British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. We have so much to celebrate within our very own BC Wine Industry, from being one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, to growing unique varietals, to offering premium tasting room experiences, and producing award-winning wines, we have so much to be proud of!

One winery in Kelowna, Summerland Pyramid Winery, has done an exceptional job to help put BC Wine on the world map of wine and we have Stephen Cipes to thank for that!

stephenStephen Cipes, Founder/Proprietor of Summerhill Pyramid Winery, first visited the Okanagan back in 1986 and purchased some land. He was immediately told to then suit up and start spraying pesticides, a practice not many would question, even to this day. But Stephen did, knowing how important the Okanagan Lake was to future generations and instantly chose to never use them in his vineyards as they are toxic chemicals that don’t belong in the wine making process. Today, Summerhill Pyramid Winery is proud to be BC’s first certified organic winery, with organically and biodynamically, 100% BC grown grapes in ever bottle.

As you drive up to visit the winery, which is located in Kelowna overlooking Okanagan Lake (a breathtaking viewpoint!), you will notice a very rare site for Canada- a Pyramid. That’s right, a real Pyramid similar to those you would see scattered throughout Egypt. This sacred Pyramid was built specifically with precision Sacred Geometry, with one main goal: to create stillness and harmony. Steven got the idea to build the pyramid following a trip to France. In France, he learned that there is a marriage period 30 days before sparkling wine is added to the shelf for purchase. While walking thru cellars in France, he noticed the roman arch cellars made with sacred geometry, which left him with a tingling feeling throughout his body. He wanted to recreate that exact feeling and has done so with the Winery Pyramid, which is second to the Great Pyramid of Egypt for alignment and precision- the only of its kind in north America. A trip to the Okanagan wouldn’t be complete without touring this unique space (*the most talked about experience at a BC winery!), which has daily tours, running at 12, 2, 4 and 6pm.

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The Pyramid also has a very important role for the winery and its wine- it cellars every single bottle of award-winning Cipes Brut, a traditional-method sparkling wine- which is a perfect blend of organic Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. It is believed that the effect of sacred geometry on liquids is significant, proven with some of the world’s highest honours in wine, including gold medals from England, France, Japan, California, just to name a few. It was also recently awarded a double Gold Medal in the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition. Steven started making Sparkling Wine back in 1989 with his first bottle of Cipes. He believes the Okanagan is one of the most ideal places to make bubbles as our weather (hot days, cool evenings) allow grapes to mature just right, resulting in highly flavourable grapes perfect for bubbles. I always have a bottle of Cipes Brut in my cellar, it is the perfect bubbles for any occasion!

Steven is particularly excited about coming to the Vancouver for the International Wine Festival this year. He knows that BC Wine is one of the best kept secrets and is excited for what’s to come in our industry, especially with our ability to grow more varietals then ever imagined. After a conversation with him, you will be left feeling so inspired- he is one of the most passionate people in the industry! If you have time during the festival, be sure to visit the Tasting Room floor to meet Stephen Cipes and his team from Summerhill Pyramid Winery. You can even have a chance to taste Canada’s most awarded wine, the Cipes Sparkling Wine!

Summerhill Pyramid Winery- fun facts!

  • It’s the most visited winery in Canada
  • Has an average of 1,000-3,000 visitors per day
  • Is home to north America’s ONLY pyramid
  • 1st certified organic winery in BC
  • Most awarded wine in Canada- the Cipes Sparkling Wine
  • Sunset Bistro Restaurant offering farm to table dishes

There are still tickets available to  the following International Tasting Room Events, where you can taste Summerhill Pyramid Winery wines (and Cipes!) along with over 800 wines from 15 countries around the world. You won’t want to miss it, Vancouver!

Be sure to follow along #VIWF