Canada’s Premier Wine Show 42nd Vancouver International Wine Festival Starts February 22 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, presented by Tesoro by Concert, kicked off the 42nd Vancouver International Wine Festival on February 22 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver with a spectacular evening of wine and food, topped by a thrilling live auction. Live and silent auctions raised $233,215, while the sold-out raffle for two Delta One International Business Class tickets, donated by Delta Air Lines, raised an additional $20,000. Donations brought the evening’s total to nearly $256,000. Net proceeds of this annual fundraiser benefit charitable partner Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.



The evening began with a Champagne reception and an opportunity to bid on a fantastic range of wines in the One Bid auction. Following the reception, guests savoured nine spectacular wines paired with five inventive courses created by the Fairmont’s executive chef, Colin Burslem.

Throughout dinner, guests were able to place their bids using their mobile phones on silent auction lots of unique and rare wines, while Master of Ceremonies Chris Gailus of Global BC kept the evening flowing. During the dinner, Howard E. Blank hosted the exciting Live Auction, which featured once-in-a-lifetime wine lots and spectacular packages.

Two Live Auction lots that generated lively bidding sold twice: two lucky bidders paid $7,000 each for a walk-on role in Love’s Labour’s Lost at Bard on the Beach this summer. The dinner for 10 in the Bearfoot Bistro wine cellar sold for $16,000, generating such excitement that André St. Jacques of the Bearfoot Bistro generously offered a second dinner if the final bid was matched. The sold-out raffle for two Delta One International Business Class tickets, donated by Delta Air Lines, raised an additional $20,000.

“What can I say? A sold-out room with amazing wines on auction and a meal that I will be dreaming of for weeks to come. Each year I think we just can’t make it better – well, our crowd this year proved me wrong again,” said Jana Maclagan, chair of the Bacchanalia Gala committee. “We ate, we laughed, we bid, and we danced. We raised a ton of money for Bard and I am thrilled to have been a part of it. We also created fantastic FOMO by selling out so early this year – and what a spectacular evening to have missed. See you next year everyone!”

Net proceeds from the 2020 festival, contributed to Bard on the Beach, will be announced at VIWF’s fiscal year-end and in conjunction with the opening of the Bard on the Beach season in June. The 2021 Bacchanalia Gala is scheduled for Saturday, February 20, 2021.

Canada’s premier wine show will mark its 42nd edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 22 to March 1, 2020. The festival features France and will showcase 163 wineries from 15 countries (including 42 wineries from France) pouring ~1,500 wines at 57 events to a projected 25,000 admissions. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction opens the festival on Saturday, February 22 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The Trade Days Conference runs Wednesday, February 26 to Friday, February 28. The festival has been named the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash for seven years running and was recently named the Best International Wine Festival – North America by LUX Life Magazine. 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 inception in 1979, the festival has raised nearly $9.5 million for the performing arts. Major sponsors are Delta Air Lines and the Vancouver Sun; major industry partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, BC Liquor Stores, and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. The festival is graciously co-hosted by our participating countries’ consulates and embassies.

Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals. It is presented on the waterfront in Kitsilano’s Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver’s downtown core. The festival offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas and popular special events in two performance tents every June through September. The 2019 festival drew 103,000 attendees and almost 2 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception. Next year’s festival dates are June 11 to September 26, 2020, and the 31st Season line-up will include A Midsummer Night’s DreamHenry VLove’s Labour’s Lost and Paradise Lost by Erin Shields. Bard also offers a range of education programs, including Young Shakespeareans workshops for 8-18 year-olds at its Vanier Park site during the summer, and the Riotous Youth program for 19 to 24-year-olds. During the school term, Bard also offers workshops for educators and youth in schools and community centres throughout BC’s Lower Mainland, as well as at its administrative home, the BMO Theatre Centre (162 West 1st Avenue). Full details and education program information are at


Reported by: Haley Kemp