From February 25 to March 3, Vancouver will be soaked, but not just with rain. The Vancouver International Wine Festival is a week of Chardonnay-drenched wine dinners, Pinot-heavy public events and tastings, tastings, tastings! This year, California is the focus. Here are five public happenings that promise lots of spirited vino conversation and the discovery of new wine cellar mainstays.
Natural Balance: Bonterra and Oru
Organic wine from Mendocino County meets sophisticated Pacific Northwest cuisine at this dinner, hosted at Oru in the beautiful Pacific Rim Hotel. $145; February 25, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Oru at Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.
Blind Testing Challenge
Think you have the nose to identify wines without any help from the label? Put your palate to the test at this lively and engaging event, which features seven wines to be tried and identified. Prizes and a bit of boasting up for grabs. $30; February 27, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts.
International Festival Tasting
More than 170 wines in one room make for some serious tasting time. Wineries from around the world are featured, but the showcase is in line with this year’s Region of California theme and its focus on Chardonnay. Rooms will be organized by country, which makes for easy navigation, OK https://kiosk.eztix.co/kiosk-optimised-event/11152/11262. $95; February 28, 7 p.m.-10 p.m., Vancouver Convention Centre.
25 Under $25
Every year, this proves to be one of the most popular festival events. Wine expert and author James Nevison takes the crowd through a look at top quality labels (Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2011and Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut NV, for example) with very agreeable price tags. $49; March 2, 4:30-6:30 p.m. at District 319.
Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction
The crown jewel of Wine Fest events, this gala dinner, hosted at the historic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, promises to be a posh evening of amazing food and wine. It starts with a wine reception, followed by a five-course dinner prepared by Fairmont executive chef Cameron Ballendine, which includes nine wine pairings from some of the top wineries in the world. The auction is a chance for true oenophiles to grow their collection with rare and unique varietals, many donated from private cellars, that will likely never be available again. $395; February 26 at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
Photo Courtesy of David Niddrie