VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Vancouver International Wine Festival announced that 178 wineries will participate in next year’s 36th annual week-long event, which pays tribute to sparkling wine.
Festival organizers pointed out that 25 percent of the wineries entered will be pouring for the first time during festivities headquartered at the Vancouver Convention Centre. They are scheduled to pour 1,750 wines during 54 events from Feb. 24 to March 2.
“It important to wineries because it’s a real wine-educated clientele that’s attending,” said Walter Gehringer, winemaker of Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery in Oliver. “And from a consumer point of view, if you want to taste wines that you’ve never experienced before, you are going to be able to do that there.”
Three brands from Washington state are on board — Charles Smith/K Vintners, Chateau Ste. Michelle and Waterbrook.
Elk Cove Vineyards and King Estate will represent Oregon.
Nearly 30 provincial wineries, including Gehringer, are scheduled to participate in what used to be known as the Playhouse Festival.
This list from British Columbia takes in Artisan SakeMaker at Granville Island, Averill Creek Vineyard, Bench 1775, Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars, Burrowing Owl Winery, Cassini Cellars, Gray Monk Estate Winery, Haywire, Hester Creek Estate Winery, Jackson-Triggs Estate Winery, Lake Breeze Vineyard and Winery, Meyer Family Vineyards, Mission Hill Family Estate, Osoyoos Larose, Painted Rock Estate Winery, Poplar Grove, Sandhill, Steller’s Jay, Stoneboat Vineyards, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Tantalus Vineyards, Thornhaven Estates Winery, TIME Estate Winery, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Unsworth Vineyards and Wayne Gretzky Okanagan.
“We’re there about every third year,” Gehringer said. “It’s in our back yard, but it also serves a bit of a yardstick for us to measure up against other wines and reaffirm with the general public that ‘Yeah, we rank.’ We are competiton to these wines around the world — that we stand up to them side-by-side in a one-on-one comparison.”
This year’s theme country is France, but other countries will be represented, including Argentina, Australia, Chile, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and California.
“A lot of the wineries that are participating there for the first time from around the world are hoping to get a listing from the liquor board,” Gehringer said. “For the local people, I think their focus is to see all the neat and odd things that are out there.”
In yet another sign that news organizations are not dead, the Vancouver Sun continues to serve as the festival’s presenting sponsor.
Advance tickets go on sale Nov. 1. And in accordance with Canadian law, ticket holders must be at least age 19 to attend.