Vancouver to play host to wines from around the world for 41st time

VANCOUVER — It’s a sip that can take you across continents from sun-drenched California to the vineyards of Romania.

The Vancouver International Wine Festival celebrates its 41st year starting Feb. 23 as it offers the chance to taste more than 700 wines spanning 16 countries.

For the first time this year, wines from Romania will be featured alongside those of Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Croatia, said Harry Hertscheg, the festival’s executive director.

The festival focuses on a different region or country every year, and the featured region this time is California.

“It’s kind of like a dance. You can’t tell someone to dance with you. You have to invite them and they have to be interested,” said Hertscheg. “Last year we were dancing with Portugal and Spain and we had a great time, and the timing just seemed right with California. It hadn’t been the theme since 2013 — for six years. A lot has happened since.”

The featured region has its own section in the tasting room and offers seminars, as well as food and wine events throughout the week.

British Columbia was celebrated last year when the festival shone a spotlight on Canada as it celebrated its 150th birthday.

Although both British Columbia and California share the west coast, their wines are markedly different, said Hertscheg.

While climate plays a major role in the colour and taste of wines, he said the soil is also a significant factor.

“The reason wine is so interesting and special is because it comes from a place that has a certain kind of soil, a certain kind of climate.”

In B.C., the cool nights of the Okanagan don’t allow the grapes to get as ripe and sweet as they do in California, so the style of wine is a little more firm and structured, said Hertscheg.

John Skinner of Painted Rock Estate Winery in the Okanagan said the region’s cool climate gives the grapes bright acidity with crisp flavours that jump out at you.

“Because of warm days and cool nights we get very specific nuances to what we produce,” he said. “We aim to the premium market. That’s where we compete.”

The industry is young in B.C. and is just getting onto the world stage, he said.

“It isn’t just ice wine that we produce,” Skinner said, adding that the province produces some of the highest quality wines in the world.

Hertscheg said the international festival, which runs to March 3, will attract about 25,000 people. More than 30,000 bottles will be sold and tasted.

Hertscheg is looking forward to trying wines from Romania, which includes some that feature Dracula in their marketing.

“I’m not very familiar with Romanian wines so I’m excited to go and try them out,” he said. “They seem to like rich reds and they do have Dracula themed wines. It says Dracula on the label.”


If you go:

Dates: Feb. 23 to March 3

Venue: Festival is headquartered at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

Prices: Event prices range from $40 to $450.

Tickets: Tickets to public events go on sale Jan. 9.

Just Posted

Builders say it’s not the time for higher permit fees in Red Deer

Construction industry is hard hit by slow economy

Bighorn Country telephone town hall for Red Deer area set for Wednesday

Residents can phone in from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to hear about the project or ask questions

YouTube revises policy, bans dangerous prank videos

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — YouTube is trying to prevent otherwise bright people… Continue reading

May’s govt faces no-confidence vote after huge Brexit defeat

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a no-confidence vote Wednesday,… Continue reading

Olds-area school buses cancelled this morning

Red Deer Catholic buses will resume this afternoon

WATCH:2019 Canada Winter Games torchbearers announced

Sixteen torchbearers announced with others to be revealed during Opening Ceremonies

Hertl’s hat trick leads Sharks past Penguins 5-2

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tomas Hertl needed just three games to get… Continue reading

Starring role beckons for Canada’s Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich

BERLIN — Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies could be thrown in at the… Continue reading

Bus singer gives voice to Venezuela’s growing diaspora

LIMA, Peru — A year ago, Venezuelan migrant Reymar Perdomo was singing… Continue reading

Corey Hart to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame at Juno Awards

TORONTO — Crooner Corey Hart will join Canadian music royalty in the… Continue reading

Lucic, Kassian each score twice to power Oilers in 7-2 win over Sabres

EDMONTON — Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian each scored a pair of… Continue reading

Big Valley family gives back to community

Donates $24,560 to Stettler Health Foundation and Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital

Giordano notches three points to lead Flames in 7-1 blowout of Coyotes

CALGARY — Flames captain Mark Giordano celebrated his 800th NHL game in… Continue reading

All-female team out to prove women racers aren’t a gimmick

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Every racing series in the world is full… Continue reading

Most Read