Vancouver International Wine Festival 2019 Preview

I had the great pleasure of attending the Vancouver International Wine Festival 2019 Preview at the Blue Water Café.

California is the featured region this year and among others (almost 50 in total) you can sample wines from these familiar and well-respected wineries:

  • Bonterra Organic Vineyards
  • Gallo Signature Series
  • Geyser Peak
  • Jackson Family
  • Josh Cellars / Joseph Carr
  • Kendall-Jackson
  • Klinker Brick Winery
  • Lange Twins Family Winery
  • Louis M. Martini
  • Ravenswood
  • Share a Splash Wine Co.
  • Wagner Family of Wine
  • Wente
Vancouver International Wine Festival Executive Director, Harry Hertscheg explains what to expect at the 2019 event.

At the main event, you will find wineries from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Livermore Valley, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara County and Lodi.

Yes, wine from Transylvania!

At the preview, I sampled wines from Argentina, Australia, BC, California, Chile, Croatia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Oregon, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Washington.

Here are a few tasting notes on the wines I tasted:

Free Form Ancient Method 2017                                           BC
Pours with plenty of mousse, citrus and yeasty notes on the nose, bright, crisp and clean on the palate with lime lingering on the finish.  One of my top picks.


Geyser Peak River Ranches 2017 Sauvignon Blanc                California
Very pale straw with light intensity.  Varietal nose with grassy, herbaceous, citrus and mineral notes.  Medium body.  The flavours follow the nose.  Lingering finish.


Stina 2016 Posip                                                                     Croatia
A light, unique nose with hints of caramel.  Light on the palate.  Well balanced.  Good luncheon wine.  Serve chilled.  Surprised to see the 13% ABV as I expected it to be lower.


Voyager Estate 2018 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc                   Australia
Very pale straw with light intensity.  A well-integrated nose with inviting ripe stone fruit, gooseberry and delicate grassy notes.  Good balance with lots of weight on the tongue. A long, lingering finish.  A top pick.


Avansi Romantica Franciacorta Satén Brut NV                      Italy
This is a traditional method sparkling wine.  A delicate and inviting citrus nose.  Good mousse, delicate on the palate.  A very nice alternative to Prosecco.


Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch SV 2016 Chardonnay                California
Lemon yellow with medium-light intensity.  A well-integrated nose showing delicate pear, tropical fruit, butter and toast.  Well balanced.  The flavours echo the nose followed by a long finish.  A top pick.


Cannonball Eleven 2017 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay             California
Not what you expect from a California Chardonnay.  Straw coloured with medium-light intensity.  Juicy stone fruit on the nose.  Good balance.  The flavours reflect the nose followed by a medium finish.  Be sure to give it try.

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Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc 2016 Reserve                           California
Very pale colour with light intensity.  Well integrated oak and fruit.  A good example of this style of wine.  A good restaurant wine-by-the-glass selection.


Kendal-Jackson 2017 Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay             California
Just what you expect from California Chardonnay.  Good balance and body, varietal character on the nose and palate with a medium finish.


Lake Breeze 2017 Roussanne                                                 BC
Golden yellow with medium-light intensity.  A varietal nose showing aromas of lemon, white flowers, apricot, herbs and beeswax.  Well-balanced with good mouthfeel.  The flavours mirror the nose followed by long finish with lingering citrus notes.  A top pick.

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Felsengartenkellerei 2015 Schloss                                         Germany
For anyone who thinks that German Riesling means sweet wine, this one will dispel that belief.  Clean, crisp and refreshing.


Gallo Signature Series 2016 Santa Lucia Pinot Noir               California
Ruby red with medium intensity.  Ripe cherries, vanilla and spice on the nose. Good balance.  Flavours follow the nose.  A medium-plus finish.  Just what you expect from California Pinot.


Yealands Estate 2017 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir                  New Zealand
Ruby red colour with medium intensity.  Floral, perfume, and red cherries on the nose.  Well balanced.  The flavours mirror the nose followed by a medium-plus finish.  A top pick.


Painted Rock 2015 Cabernet Franc                                        BC
Garnet red with medium-deep intensity.  A varietal nose with aromas of berries, bell pepper, cassis, dust and spice.  Well balanced.  The flavours echo the nose followed by a lingering finish.   A top pick.


Klinker Brick 2015 Old Ghost Zinfandel                                 California
Garnet red with medium-deep intensity.  Big ripe juicy berries on the nose.  Very good balance.  Big fruit on the palate followed by a medium-long finish.  High alcohol (15.9% ABV) but in balance.  A top pick.


Lange Twins 2014 Midnight Reserve                                      California
An interesting Lodi blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Malbec, 12%Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot.  Red berries, blue berries, cherries, black currants and spice on the nose.  Good balance.  Blue berries dominate the palate followed by a medium-plus finish.  Be sure to give this one a try.


Liliac 2016 Feteasca Neagra                                                   Romania
How cool is it to be able to taste a wine from Transylvania?  Garnet red with medium-plus intensity.  The nose is somewhat reminiscent of Pinot Noir – game, violets and red cherries.  Good balance with medium body.  Pleasing fruit on the palate followed by a medium finish.  Don’t miss out on your chance to taste a wine from the land of Dracula.


Altesino 2013 Brunello di Montalcino                                    Italy
Garnet red with tinges of brick and medium intensity.  Varietal and well-integrated nose and palate.  Well balanced.  A medium-long finish.  Be sure to try this wine which is just coming into its own.


Other wines at the preview (no tasting notes):

Rocca delle Macie 2013 DOCG Chianti Classico                     Italy


Atteca 2016 Armas                                                                 Spain


Here are just a few of the reasons the VIWF, now in its 41st year, is one of the best and most respected wine festivals in the world.

  • Winery principals are in attendance
  • Fifty-four events stretched out over eight days
  • Three days of consumer festival tasting
  • 1450 wines from 160 wineries and 16 countries
  • Regional tasting tables where you can focus on the wines from one region
  • Gala dinner
  • Educational seminars
  • Winery lunches and dinners at some of Vancouver’s best restaurants
  • An onsite BC Liquor Store featuring all of the tasting room wines


Harry being interviewed for TV

The main tasting room events take place Thursday, February 28th and Friday, March 1st from 7 – 10 p.m. as well as a matinee tasting on Saturday March 2nd from 2:30 – 5:00.Advance tickets from $84 to $109.

Tickets went on sale January 9th and are available online at and by phone 604.873.3311 (Toll free 1.877.321.3121) Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Winery dinners and hotel offers are only available until February 14.

Please taste responsibly.  Make a plan to ‘Get Home Safe’.

(All photos – Sam Hauck)

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