2nd Annual Victoria International Wine Festival, 25th-26th September

Wine will flow at the second annual Victoria International Wine Festival on 25th and 26th September, when the Parkside Hotel and Spa will be transformed into a mecca for wine lovers.

The Festival is for anyone who enjoys wine and wants to learn more, Dave Bain, the driving force behind the Festival, observed many people in Victoria wanting to explore wine, but not knowing where to start. With eleven years’ experience in event planning, he saw a perfect opportunity to create somewhere for those people to come together, taste and learn.

Bain set out to create an environment where people feel welcome, ask questions and talk about wine. It seems he was successful. The majority of people attending last year’s inaugural Festival were “average consumers” and Bain is happy to report that the response was fantastic. So, he’s doing it again. Just bigger and better.

The Festival remains unabashedly international in focus. Bain notes that when consumers walk into a liquor store they are faced with hundreds of options from around the globe. The Festival deliberately reflects that reality and gives people a chance to taste the differences, ask questions and learn for themselves what to expect from each region.

There will be three public tastings over the two days

There will be three public tastings over the two days of the Festival. The capacity at these main events has increased from last year and there will be over thirty tables, each pouring 6-8 wines. A tasting room with that many wines can be daunting. Jacques Lacoste, one of the Festival sommeliers, advises to keep an open mind, forget old standbys and try something new. Bain notes that last year, some people opted to focus on just whites, or just reds. Whatever the tasting strategy, the risks are minimal when it’s perfectly acceptable to spit like a pro.

For those looking for a more in-depth educational experience, the Festival also offers three public seminars with renowned speakers. Details have yet to released, but two themes have been announced: one will feature the iconic Caymus wines from the Wagner Family in Napa Valley; and a second will offer “Speed Pairing” where participants explore the factors that can make or break a food and wine pairing. Bain reports that the seminars were extremely popular last year, with the “California versus Australia” seminar selling out quickly and the participants enjoying some lively discussions. All the seminars will be held in the top floor room at the Parkside, where the floor to ceiling windows provide a stunning backdrop.

New for this year, is a pop-up liquor store

New for this year, is a pop-up liquor store. Operated by Vintage Spirits, the store will allow attendees to purchase or order wines that they fall in love with at the Festival.

With this year’s Festival well in hand, Bain is looking to the future, He plans to grow the Festival, attracting world-recognized presenters and promoting Victoria’s reputation as an international city. Clearly, there is more to come.

Tickets for the main events are on sale now and can be bought online at www.viwf.com or in-person at Vintage Spirits, 653 Pandora Ave or the Parkside Hotel and Spa, 810 Humboldt Street. The Parkside Hotel is also offering special packages for this wishing to stay at the hotel.

Details of events can be found on the Victoria International Wine Festival Facebook page.

PS. The festival brochure listing all the wines available for sampling has just been released. See it here.

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