’09 Vancouver Wine Festival Gears Into Action

February 4, 2009 

It is now less than a couple of months away from what is definitely the BC wine event of the year – the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. I have just gone through the barrage of media releases and I have to say that the lineup of events is pretty impressive. As always, many of these events will sell out quickly (last year 10 events sold out on the first day) so heed this warning to plan your week and get in early to buy tickets. Tickets for the public events went on sale Jan 27th and Trade event tickets were made available on Feb 3rd.

At first, I must admit, I thought that it was a bit pointless having BC as the ‘theme region’ for 2009 when the wines are so readily available for tasting, but on further thought I am liking the idea more and more. The seminars the wine fest team have come up with provide some very interesting insights into what is happening in our little industry. This is a chance to both study BC wine in more depth and to conduct serious analyses of BC versus The World. Both will help BC wine evolve.

Some of the BC focused seminars that have caught my attention include: A Vertical Tasting of Oculus (after having just conducted two 10 Year Old BC wine tastings, this will be an interesting look at the ageability across a decade of wine); Osoyoos Larose Component and Vertical Tasting (ditto); Nota Bene Vertical Tasting (ditto again); Pinot-Rama! (a look at Pinot Varieties from BC and the rest of the world), BC Reds Reach for the Top (Trade Only) and Icons of BC (those hard to get wines). A full list of event descriptions is available here.

Here are some of the impressive festival numbers – 183 wineries, 1700+ wines, 15 countries represented and 61 events. The dates are March 23rd to the 29th, and after many years of practice I can guarantee you that you need to attend for at least a few days to get a real taste of the action. It certainly is not advised to attempt to taste the 700 wines in the tasting room in one evening. I’ve seen people try and its messy. You either need a very focused plan of attack, which is completely dull and boring, or you need to invest in a few nights of tasting. It will be worth it. For $89 a night, you can taste hundreds of dollars worth of wine and brush shoulders with the wine cognoscenti. For those who work in the Trade, there are some great multi-day packages available.

For tickets you can phone 604-873-3311 or visit www.playhousewinefest.com for more details. If for nothing else, the wine fest is a great networking opportunity and you are bound to learn a lot just by hanging around. After all, half of the wine world will be there.


Rhys Pender is a wine educator, freelance wine writer, wine judge and consultant to the industry. Visit his company Wine Plus+ online at www.wineplus.ca.

  • http://www.waldorfwine.com khristian

    More importantly,

    Rhys did you snag one of those NY Jets spitbuckets from Wine Library TV?