Vine stars from around the world will travel to Vancouver for the 37th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival, presented by The Vancouver Sun, February 20 to March 1.
Each of the 170 wineries from the 14 participating countries will send a top-tier representative to the festival to present their wines. They’ll participate in educational seminars, team up with Vancouver’s best restaurants for exclusive dinners and pour tastes of some of their top drops in the Acura Tasting Room. This year the theme country is Australia, so expect lively personalities, entertaining stories, and spectacular wines during festival week. For details on the 53 festival events, check out the interactive Festival at a Glance, updated regularly with sales status.
A limited number of advance tickets are on sale now for select events while supplies last. Festivalgoers who book a downtown hotel via beVancouver.com can get a free ticket to their choice of four International Festival Tastings, a saving of up to $89. All public events go on sale Tuesday, January 6 at 9:30 a.m. All trade events go on sale Tuesday, January 27 at 9:30 a.m.
THEME COUNTRY VINE STARS: AUSTRALIA
Australia will have an outstanding contingent of wineries and vine stars in Vancouver in 2015, representing the history, evolution and revolution of Australian wine over the past two centuries. The Savour Australia section of the room will be home to owners, winemakers, and senior winery executives, many of whose names you’ll find on their bottles.
Jim Chatto, Chief Winemaker, Evans & Tate
Jim joined the McWilliam’s team as Chief Winemaker in 2013, becoming only the fourth custodian at Mount Pleasant since 1921. Jim is responsible for the winemaking and stylistic direction of all McWilliam’s wines across its Australian portfolio. He was named “Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year” in 2009 and a “Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year” finalist in 2010. Jim is also a senior wine show judge with more than fifteen years’ experience across both regional and capital city shows. Meet Jim Chatto in Australia: East Meets West; Oceans, Altitudes & Attitudes; Restaurant Australia; Mod Oz.
Jane Ferrari, Ambassador/Winemaker, Yalumba
Jane Ferrari is not simply a Yalumba employee, she’s a company crusader. Born in Adelaide, brought up in Alice Springs and an inveterate traveller, she’s been around long enough to know that the blend of elements that make up Yalumba and the Barossa is rare indeed, and worth taking the time to introduce to wine drinkers. Jane’s a trained winemaker, a born story-teller, a canny judge of character (people or horses), an olive oil producer and custodian of a treasured gum-studded block of Barossa land. Meet Jane Ferrari at Shiraz: Aussie Superstar; Past, Present, Future: Two Centuries of Winemaking; All About Syrah; Restaurant Australia; 25 Under $25.
Matt Fowles, Proprietor, Fowles Wines
Matt Fowles, a former lawyer who swapped the vitriol for the vineyard, is an avid food and wine man. He’s the man behind the innovative Ladies who Shoot their Lunch wine – the world’s first wine blended to complement wild game meat. In 2007, Matt was selected as part of the “Future Leaders” program aimed at fostering the next generation of wine sector leaders. Meet Matt Fowles at Shiraz: Aussie Superstar; Past, Present, Future: Two Centuries of Winemaking; Excitement in a Glass; Geological Gems; Restaurant Australia.
William “Bill” Hardy, Brand Ambassador, Hardys
Bill Hardy is a fifth generation descendant of Thomas Hardy, who founded the wine business Thomas Hardy & Sons Pty Ltd, in 1853. He joined the family business as a trainee winemaker in 1972 and is currently Accolade Wines’ Corporate Oenologist and Hardys Brand Ambassador. Meet Bill Hardy at Oceans, Altitudes & Attitudes; 12th Annual Awards Lunch; Restaurant Australia; McLaren Vale Scarce Earth; Down Under with Bill Hardy.
Sue Hodder, Senior Winemaker, Wynns Coonawarra Estate
Sue Hodder is one of Australia’s best-known winemakers and this year celebrates her 23rd vintage with Wynns. Sue began her career as a viticulturalist and believes her early viticultural training – assessing vines, analyzing mature fruit and tasting the finished wine – gave her invaluable insight into the importance of the vineyard in quality winemaking. Sue has experience with vintages in noted wine regions around the world and has judged extensively in regional, national and international wine shows. Meet Sue Hodder at Savour Australia; Decades Apart; Past, Present, Future: Two Centuries of Winemaking; Wynns: Benchmark Terroir; Excitement in a Glass; 12th Annual Awards Lunch; Restaurant Australia.
Neil McGuigan, Chief Winemaker/CEO, McGuigan Wines
Neil McGuigan is one of Australia’s foremost winemakers with more than 30 years’ experience. He led the McGuigan Wines team to the prestigious title of International Winemaker of the Year and Australian Producer of the Year in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Alongside this, Neil also picked up the International White Winemaker of the Year in 2009, 2012 and 2013 at the International Wine Challenge, London. Neil is a respected wine judge at national and international levels. Meet Neil McGuigan at Decades Apart; Icons & Heroes; Past, Present, Future: Two Centuries of Winemaking; 12th Annual Awards Lunch; Restaurant Australia; Mod Oz.
Scott McWilliam, 6th Generation Winemaker, McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant
Scott McWilliam is a sixth generation winemaker, who began working in the family business at 14, helping out at Hanwood Estate in the Riverina. Since then he has established himself as one of Australia’s brightest and most promising young winemakers, being selected in the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Future Leaders program. Today, Scott is a Family Ambassador and a Senior Winemaker at the company. He is also an international wine judge with experience in all styles and origins of wine. Meet Scott McWilliam at Australia: East Meets West; Decades Apart; Shiraz: Aussie Superstar; Past, Present, Future: Two Centuries of Winemaking; Oceans, Altitudes & Attitudes; 12th Annual Awards Lunch; Restaurant Australia.
Bruce Tyrrell, Owner/Managing Director, Tyrrell’s
Bruce Tyrrell manages Tyrrell’s Wines as a family owned winery with the simple philosophy of striving to be one of Australia’s pre-eminent family owned wine companies, producing high-quality wines at all levels. Bruce is a Director of the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association and the Hunter Valley Research Foundation. In 2006, Bruce was awarded an Order of Australia medal in recognition of his contribution to the Australian wine sector. In 2009, he was named a Hunter Valley Living Legend at the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Awards. Meet Bruce Tyrrell at The Age of Semillon; Geological Gems; Restaurant Australia.
REST OF THE WORLD VINE STARS
Thirteen other countries are represented at VanWineFest, and the stars are shining just as brightly over the rest of the wine world. The Acura Tasting Room is the place to meet all 170 vine stars, but you’ll also find these great personalities at special events during the week.
Cynthia & David Enns, Proprietor & Winemaker, Laughing Stock Vineyards
Before opening Laughing Stock Vineyards, David and Cynthia Enns were movers and shakers in the financial industry. In 2003, however, they followed their hearts and invested their lives in the wine industry. David supplemented his wine knowledge with courses and workshops at UC Davis and apprenticed under top winemakers in the Okanagan Valley, while Cynthia transferred her MBA background to growing grapes instead of investments. In October 2014, they celebrated the 10th vintage of their flagship wine, Portfolio. Meet Cynthia & David Enns at A Decade of Portfolio; All About Syrah.
Ivica Kovačević, Winery Director, Stina
Ivica Kovačević represents the first Croatian winery to participate in the Festival: Stina, from the beautiful island of Brač in Dalmatia. In addition to his duties as Winery Director at Stina, Ivica is Chairman of Wines of Dalmatia and President of Wines of Croatia – Mosaic Wines. He earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Agriculture from the University of Zagreb. Meet Ivica Kovačević at Croatia Uncorked; Excitement in a Glass.
Brennon Leighton, Charles Smith Wines
Raised by artists and hippies in Santa Cruz, California, Brennon was born to rebel, but struggled to find an appropriate venue for his artistic impulses. After spending time in a punk rock band, he found his muse in winemaking. He worked as an assistant winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle and made waves as the winemaker at Efesté, before being lured away by Charles Smith to oversee his new Chardonnay project. Meet Brennon Leighton at All About Syrah; 25 Under $25.
Aurelio Montes, Founder/Export Manager, Montes
One of Chile’s most talented winemakers, Aurelio Montes is one of the fathers of Chile’s modern wine revolution. He began his career as a winemaker at Undurraga and San Pedro, but in 1987 he co-founded Montes with the aim of producing premium Chilean wines. He was named “Chilean Winemaker of the Year” in 1995 and “Personality of the Year 2002” by the National Agricultural Association. Montes was a pioneer in Apalta Valley, planting vineyards on hillsides, and was the first to plant Syrah in Colchagua. He is an Emeritus Member of the Chilean Wine Guild. Meet Aurelio Montes at Montes: 25 Years + Beyond; All About Syrah.
Joel Peterson, Founding Winemaker, Ravenswood
Affectionately known as the “Godfather of Zin”, Joel Peterson started out as a medical researcher who dabbled in winemaking. In 1976, however, he founded Ravenswood and made his first Zinfandel, becoming a winemaker who worked in a research lab on the side – at least until 1992 when Ravenswood hit the world stage. Joel is a current member and former president of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance, is on the Board of Directors for the Sonoma County Vintners, and is a founding member of Zinfandel Advocates and Producers. Meet Joel Peterson at California Cruisin’; 25 Under $25.
Sergio Zingarelli, President/Proprietor, Rocca delle Macìe
Sergio Zingarelli joined the family winery in 1984, concentrating first on the Italian market before developing Rocca delle Macìe’s international distribution network. He became Managing Director of Rocca delle Macìe in 1989 and was named President in 2000. Since 1995, Sergio has been a member of the Executive Board of the Chianti Classico Consortium and was named President in 2012. Meet Sergio Zingarelli at Passione e Territorio; Dine Italia.
How to Purchase Tickets
By phone: 604-873-3311, toll free 1-877-321-3121
In person: Box office: 305–456 West Broadway, Vancouver
Box office hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday to Friday
ABOUT VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL, PRESENTED BY THE VANCOUVER SUN
Canada’s premier wine show marks its 37th edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 20 to March 1, 2015, featuring Australia as the theme country and Syrah+Shiraz as the global focus. The festival will showcase 170 wineries from 14 countries (including 55 wineries from Australia) pouring 1,750+ wines at 53 events to a projected 25,000 admissions. The Acura Tasting Room features all 170 participating wineries, pouring 770+ wines over six sessions, February 26-28. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction opens the festival on Friday, February 20 at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Festival partner beVancouver.com offers a free International Festival Tasting ticket to festivalgoers who book a downtown hotel (while supplies last). Don’t Wine and Drive! The festival is produced by the Vancouver International Wine Festival Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and festival partners; and raise funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. Since 1979, the festival has raised $8.3 million for the performing arts. Major partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. For more information go to VanWineFest.ca.