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The 35th Annual Vancouver International Wine Festival has released select tickets and packages for 2013. The upcoming festival will focus on California wines. Wine aficionados will have the opportunity to purchase discounted festival packages and International Festival Tasting tickets in advance of the official ticket release date on January 8, 2013.

Pouring Louis Martini Cab, our 3rd wine

2013 will be a very special year for the festival. In addition to being the 35th year of what is now one of North America’s largest wine festivals, this edition will also mark the first fundraising year for new charitable partner Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

The wildly popular International Festival Tasting is a unique chance to sip from rare bottles while discovering new treasures in the company of renowned winery principals. 2013’s Tasting Room will feature 176 wineries – 63 from the California, this year’s theme region. Advance tickets will also be available to two of the California Theme Region events as part of the Discover California Pack.

According to Rick Slomka, Canadian Director for California Wines, “California wines have increasingly become a preferred lifestyle choice for British Columbians and we take tremendous pride in being part of this vibrant and diverse community. We look forward to a week of fabulous events hosted by many of our premium wineries and exciting vintner personalities.”

Baba Ganoush with brie and seasonal fruit chutney
For those looking to amplify their wine festival experience, the advance ticket release also offers guests a chance to enjoy VIP treatment with a reduced-price Gold Pass. Gold Pass holders will have exclusive access to the Gold Pass Tasting Lounge, offering an assortment of the festival’s premium bottles, tasty appetizers, and sommeliers on hand to guide guests through wines from around the world. 

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1,000 advance tickets to the International Festival Tasting Room are also available. The 2013 festival is expected to entertain and educate over 25,000 thirsty wine enthusiasts and will feature 176 participating wineries from 15 countries.

Here are a few of the 2013 International Wine Festival highlights to mark on your calendar:

The Chardonnay Tasting Station will engage both connoisseurs and the curious with a range of chardonnays from around the world, poured by experts from the International Sommelier Guild. Regional Tasting Stations will take visitors through a series of sommelier-assisted wine flights highlighting the unique regional terroirs of BC, New Zealand, and South Africa, as well as a California Tasting Station, featuring wines from Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

Gold Pass
Enjoy VIP treatment with the Festival Gold Pass. Sample an assortment of premium bottles with the helpful guidance of sommeliers, and enjoy some early light bites before hitting the tasting floor. This pass includes three evenings in the International Festival Tasting Room (with priority access), two afternoons at the Trade Tasting sessions where you’ll rub elbows with Vancouver’s top sommeliers and restaurant owners, admission to the exclusive Curtain Raiser VIP reception on February 28, and Friday and Saturday entry to the exclusive Gold Pass Tasting Lounge which opens at 5:30 pm (well before the IFT).
Advance pass price: $445 (save $30! Ticket includes HST and ticket service charges).

Beef tartare with grainy mustard

Discover California Pack
Enjoy an afternoon and two evenings of celebrations with the Discover California Pack: the ultimate sipping experience that will take you from two of Yaletown’s vino hotspots – Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar and George Ultra Lounge – to a ballroom in the Vancouver Convention Centre West. Cap your California experience off with a tour through the International Festival Tasting Room on the night of your choice.

Package includes:
California Cruisin
Wine Mingler in Yaletown
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 8:30 pm to 11 pm
Venues: Brix Restaurant and George Ultra Lounge
(Available individually for $59, including HST and ticket service charges)

Savour California Flavour
Saturday Lunch in the Theme Region section of the Tasting Room
Date: Saturday, March 2, 2013, noon to 2:30 pm
Venue: Vancouver Convention Centre West
(Available individually for $99, including HST and ticket service charges)

Baja fish tacos, white corn tortillas, guacamole, hot sauce

For more information on the festival and to purchase tickets, visit the website, phone 604.873.3311 (toll-free 1.877.321.3121), or visit the VanWineFest Box Office at 305-456 West Broadway, Vancouver.

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