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Vancouver International Wine Festival 2024: Highlights & Must-Try Wines

Read the highlights from VIWF 2024 including my zwine recommendations from the International Festival Tasting and The Global Cru Seminar.

Vancouver International Wine Festival - International Festival Tasting

One of my favourite local wine events to attend is the Vancouver International Wine Festival. It’s an annual week-long festival that brings the world of wine to our backyard! During the festival events including dinners, minglers, seminars, attendees, and the grande International Festival Tasting, attendees get the opportunity to taste wines from different regions and gain knowledge from industry experts. I had an incredible time tasting incredible wines, learning so much more about the wine world, and reconnecting with some familiar faces in the industry.

This year, I went to the International Festival Tasting and The Global Cru seminar - both of which were excellent events. I’ll share what happened at each event and wine recommendations that you should save for later.

International Festival Tasting

If you plan on going to Vancouver International Wine Festival in 2025, this is a MUST-SEE event, especially for first-timers. This is perhaps the one opportunity a year where locals can taste as many wines as they please from all over the world in one place. This year, 147 wineries attended serving over 1000 wines! Italy was this year’s highlighted country, so half the space was dedicated to Italian wines, which was heaven for all Italian wine lovers. There were countless bottles of classic Italian wines like Prosecco, Barolo, Chianti, Brunello Di Montalcino, and Amarone, as well as uncommon Italian wines like Arneis and Primitivo.

In addition, wines from France, New Zealand, Croatia, Argentina, Australia, the United States, and of course, Canada were available to taste. A country that surprised me this year was Croatia. Croatian wines are great, yet so underrated and aren't easily accessible here, so it was great to have the opportunity to try and learn about their wines. Another notable country at this festival is Argentina. I love tasting their wines because they’re high-quality, yet so affordable, so I always keep note of their wines to buy later. In moments when I wanted to pause my wine tasting, I'd head over to the non-wine booths for charcuterie, gelato, coffee, and tea. D’oro Gelato, Rishi Tea, Umbria Coffee, and Arc Imports showed up to provide attendees with tasty treats.

Here are my top 10 wine recommendations from the event:

  1. San Marzano Primitivo Puglia IGP, Italy

  2. Vietti Robero Arneis 2022 DOCG, Italy (shown in left image above)

  3. Cantina Di Negrar Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore DOC, Italy

  4. Hester Creek The Judge 2020 BC VQA, Okanagan Valley

  5. NK'MIP Cellars Riesling 2020 BC VQA, Okanagan Valley

  6. Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2014 BC VQA, Okanagan Valley

  7. Duca Di Saragnano Aglianico Primitivo Puglia IGT, Italy (shown in middle image above)

  8. Cantine Losito TROSÉ Puglia, Italy (shown in right image above)

  9. Squealing Pig Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, New Zealand

  10. UKO Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Mendoza, Argentina

The Global Cru Seminar

Vancouver International Wine Festival - The Global Cru Seminar

For those who fancy a more relaxed, educational tasting event, seminars are a great option. At the Global Cru seminar, we tasted 10 superior “Cru” quality wines while a panel of 10 representatives from each winery spoke about the region’s terroir and the story behind their wine. The wines were from France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Australia, Canada, and the United States, all ranging from $25 to $250! Not only were all the wines incredible, but the speakers provided interesting details and spoke so humbly about their wine. Thankfully, no debates or fights broke out over who’s wine was the best, which does happen in the wine industry. Below, you’ll find all the wines I tasted at this event and some notes on each one. I recommend you try all of them, of course, but what makes wine great is sharing it with wonderful people.

  1. Azienda Agricola Inama, Foscarino Soave Classico DOC - $48 Veneto, Italy Made from Garganega grapes grown in volcanic soil, this wine carries a soft minerality with floral notes. A food-friendly wine.

  2. Moraine Estate Winery, Viognier 2022 - $25 Naramata, BC Grown in desert terroir next to the Okanagan Lake, this grape varietal is thick-skinned and lightly pressed, boasting notes of a summer tropical fruit bouquet.

  3. Gérard Bertrand, Clos du Temple Rosé 2021 - $250 Languedoc-Cabrieres, France Gérard Bertrand attempted to make a Grand Cru rosé here, which is why this wine carries a high price. This rosé surprised me with its golden colour. Carrying notes of subtle stone fruit and florals this wine was made to impress.

  4. Maison Louis Jadot, Beaune 1er Cru Boucherottes, Domaine des Héritiers 2017 - $115 Burgundy (Bourgogne), France Made from Pinot Noir grapes, this Premier Cru Burgundy is perfectly balanced carrying dark fruit and oak notes, savoury tannins, and a high acidity. This age-worthy wine deserves a place in the cellar.

  5. Ricasoli, Colledilà Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione Gaiole 2020 - $95 Tuscany, Italy Using 100% single-vineyard, Sangiovese grapes grown in limestone soil, this wine is structured and robust with smooth tannins and a lasting finish. 1 of 4 gran selezione wines from Ricasoli.

  6. Damilano, Barolo Lecinquevigne DOCG 2018 - $65 Piedmont, Italy Made from Nebbiolo grapes grown in dry farmland, this wine carries an elegant balance of rich flavours and heavy texture. A wine that’s meant to decant for many hours.

  7. Campo Eliseo, Toro 2017 - $78 Toro, Spain Made from Tinta da Toro (Tempranillo) grown in sandy soil, this bold wine carries black fruit, forest floor, and oak notes with savoury tannins and a high acidity.

  8. Vina Fakin, Istria Teran, Il Primo 2019 - $73 Istria, Croatia Made from Teran, an indigenous grape varietal grown in the Istria region with a mix of Mediterranean climate (warmer) and continental climate (cooler), this wine carries a unique balance of minerality, rich dark fruit and earth notes, and structure.

  9. Rathbone Wine Group, Xanadu Vinework Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 - $29 Margaret River, Australia Grown in a cool climate akin to Bordeaux, this Cabernet Sauvignon is unique carrying scents of grass, bay leaves, and herbs. It’s comparable to a Bordeaux for a fraction of the price.

  10. Signorelle Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon Padrone Napa Valley 2019 - $286 Napa Valley, California This wine is only made during a good year, so you’re guaranteed to have an amazing bottle of wine with every vintage you buy. This vintage boasts notes of black and red fruit, licorice, and tobacco and carries a bold texture.






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