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February 25 - March, 2013

35th annual Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival; inaugural year was 1979. The Festival’s board chair is Randal Kaardal. The Festival’s executive director is Harry Hertscheg.

The wine world is here for Canada’s premier wine show. The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival is one of the biggest and oldest wine events in the world, offering something for every level of wine drinker, collector and trade professional. Winery principals (winemaker, proprietor, senior executive) representing 180 selected wineries from 15 countries will be in attendance to pour and discuss their wines.  Every year, this international festival shines the spotlight on one country or region, and that region has more wineries, wines and events than any other.  There also is a global varietal focus.  For 2013, the regional theme is California and the Global Focus is Chardonnay.

The heart of the festival is the International Festival Tasting Room at the Vancouver Convention Centre, where some 790 wines are available for sampling.  About 900 additional wines are served at special events that orbit the tasting room, including a gala auction, wine seminars, trade events, and food and wine pairing affairs such as winery dinners, lunches and brunches at top Vancouver restaurants and hotels. 

Since its inception in 1979, the Festival has raised $7.8 million for the Playhouse Theatre Company.

See complete details at 

International Festival Tasting Room 2012 

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

  •     35th annual (founded 1979)
  •     Dates: February 25 - March 3, 2013
  •     2013 Theme Region: California
  •     2013 global focus: Chardonnay
  •     Since inception in 1979, the festival has raised $7.8 million for the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company
                    Note that the numbers below are for the 2012 festival. The 2013 festival is expected to be similar in scope; stats will be announced when available.
  •     15 countries
  •     180 wineries
  •     64 events
  •     7 days
  •     39 venues
  •     60+ restaurants and hotels participate
  •     1,701 wines

              (791 at International Festival Tastings)

              (171 additional wines at IFT trade tastings)

              (739 wines at special events)

  •       25,000 admissions
  •       30,000 bottles poured
  •       2012 theme region (Chile): 35 wineries serving 468 wines
  •       2012 global focus (Cabernets): ~220



2012 - Wines of Chile

  • 2011 - Wines from Spain
  • 2010 - Wines of Argentina & New Zealand Wine
  • 2009 – Celebrate British Columbia
  • 2008 – Vino Italiano: Innovation by Tradition
  • 2007 – Australian Wine: A World of Difference 
  • 2006 – Wine Regions of France
  • 2005 – Taste the new South Africa
  • 2004 – Discover the Wine Regions of California
  • 2003 – Showcasing Wines of Chile
  • 2002 – Germany & Portugal
  • 2001 – Spain
  • 2000 – Italy
  • 1999 – Australia
  • 1998 – California
  • 1997 – Canada
  • 1996 – Bordeaux




  • 2012 - Cabernet(s)
  • 2011 - Fortified Wine
  • 2010 - Rosé
  • 2009 – Pinot(s)
  • 2008 – Sparkling Wine
  • 2007 – Riesling
  • 2006 – Pinot Noir
  • 2005 – Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2004 – Syrah/Shiraz

The Festival is headquartered at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, 1055 Canada Place. The International Festival Tastings, most Trade Days events and public wine seminars are held at VCC. Other events are held at Vancouver’s top restaurants and hotels. In addition to the host venues, and restaurants, caterers and suppliers will participate in the festival’s two signature brunches, Vintners Brunch and Flavours of the Festival, taking place on Sunday, Mar 3.


There are (tbd) trade-only events over three days, Wednesday February 27  to Friday March 1, 2013.  The hub of Trade Days are the two afternoon Trade Tastings in the International Festival Tasting Room on the Thursday and Friday, which offers wines served at the public tastings in the evenings as well as  additional wines that are unlisted and not yet available in this marketplace.

The Trade Days special events include a Symposium on February 27th which last year was on Social Media.  The California focused opening Theme Plenary (February 28th), various seminars for buyers, servers, sommeliers and chefs, as well as the must-attend Trade Days Lunch (February 28th) and much-anticipated 10th Annual Awards Lunch (March 1st). Trade Days Conference tickets are restricted to members of the hospitality and food or beverage industry only and there is a registration process to ensure industry participation.                                                                                            


Bacchanalia Gala Dinner and Auction is at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on Tuesday, February 28, 2011. This is the centre piece of the festival and one of the most spectacular events in the city. The evening provides an unparalleled opportunity to enhance collectors’ wine cellars through auctions of rare, valuable and unusual wines, donated by some of the world’s top winemakers and private collectors. The auction also includes unique culinary experiences, excursions and extravaganzas. Meanwhile, the dinner is the ultimate in wine and food pairing, with a Champagne reception and five sensational courses paired with ten outstanding wines.

Event prices range from $29 to $475. Advance ticket rates end on (TBD) (Bacchanalia Gala; TBD).  Ticket prices are inclusive of HST and service charges (and gratuities for lunches and dinners in restaurants).

Tickets to public events go on sale Tuesday, January 8th at 9:30 am.  
Complete event information and ticket purchasing information, will be available online at by Fall of 2013.

The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival has three mandates. It provides an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for consumers and trade; it serves as a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry; and it is a primary fundraiser for the Playhouse Theatre Company, Western Canada’s largest theatre company dedicated exclusively to producing works of the contemporary repertoire.
Since inception in 1979, the Festival has raised $7.8 million for the Playhouse, enabling the company to mount 238 theatrical productions and create extensive educational and community outreach programs. The 2012 Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction raised $250,000.

2014 DATES
Announced soon.

Last updated: March 14, 2012


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