Six things I learned at the 2017 Vancouver Int’l Wine Festival

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International Tasting Room at the 2017 Vancouver International Wine Festival

The International Tasting Room at the 2017 Vancouver International Wine Festival, Feb. 16. Robyn Hanson photo.

Nova Scotia makes wine, and other tidbits from this year’s festival.

I like wine but I’m no expert, so every year when the Vancouver International Wine Festival comes around I jump at the chance to work on developing my palate. Whether or not drinking craft beer for 51 weeks of the year and then binge-sampling dozens of varietals is an effective method of doing that is anyone’s guess.

Nevertheless, I learn a few things at every one of these events I’m able to attend (thanks to the folks at the VIWF and Milk Creative Communications for providing me with media credentials to one mingler and two international tastings). Here are six takeaways from this year’s 2017 Vancouver International Wine Festival.

 International Tasting Room at the 2017 Vancouver International Wine Festival

The International Tasting Room at the 2017 Vancouver International Wine Festival, Feb. 16. Robyn Hanson photo.

1. Nova Scotia makes wine. This year’s feature country was Canada (to tie in with the 150th anniversary of Confederation). B.C. was well-represented (with 80 wineries), but Ontario and Nova Scotia showed up, too, with strong showings from the former’s Closson Chase (their 2014 South Clos Chardonnay) and the latter’s L’Acadie Vineyards (their 2014 Vintage Cuvée).

The Wines of Canada mingler at The Permanent, 2017 Vancouver Int'l Wine Festival

The Wines of Canada mingler at The Permanent, 2017 Vancouver Int’l Wine Festival, Feb. 15 2017. Fainne Martin photo.

2. California wine-growers are of two minds about Trump. On Saturday afternoon at the International Tasting, I asked Joseph Lange of Lange Twins Collection of Family Wines how he and fellow wine-makers felt about an administration that is in denial about climate change. He said that while many disagreed with this position, there were others who were for the deregulation of the industry that they see coming. (He also said the disagreement wasn’t along generational lines.)

3. If you like it, buy it. This is something I should already have known from previous wine festival tastings. But I was reminded once again when, after returning to the International Tasting on Saturday afternoon, I went to the on-premise wine store for the Black Hills Syrah I’d tried on the Thursday night and – yep, you guessed it. Pffft. Gone like the wind.

4. There is something called Woodinville Wine Country, and you can taste a lot of Washington State wines there. The idea is that all the vintners from all the far-flung corners of the state gather in this one place to serve the needs of oenophiles. All told, there are 108 wineries and tasting rooms, according to woodinvillecountry.com. It’s located 30 minutes northeast of Seattle.

5. You can get more bang for your buck from Old World wines than New. This might sound counterintuitive, but as Vancouver/Seattle blogger Jacqueline Pruner told me, they’re still paying off the mortgages on their vineyards in the New World. Jacqueline, who was up for the wine festival, is also the one who told me about Woodinville. Read her blog heedthehedonist for more about wine and some of life’s other pleasures.

6. Festival-goers know how, or at least where, to party. Thanks to random chats with festival-goers, I’ve added two more wine events to my spring calendar. One is the California Wine Fair, April 24, 7 – 9:30 p.m, an annual fundraiser for the Arts Club; tickets are $90 at artsclub.com. The other is Dish ‘n’ Dazzle, May 18, 6:30-9:30 p.m., at the Vancouver Convention Centre East. It’s a fundraiser for the BC Hospitality Foundation, and this year features Chilean wines as well as a cocktail competition. Tickets are $89 at bchospitalityfoundation.com. So that’s two other nights this year I might not drink craft beer.

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