Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Romeo Meets Romanée

My annual appearances at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival are so ingrained in my DNA nowadays that I have to admit that, when I heard the Playhouse was closing its doors for the last time in March 2012, my concerns for the Wine Festival were as paramount as my sadness for the loss of a pillar of the Vancouver theatre and entertainment scene.   After all, the festival has grown into perhaps Canada's most celebrated wine show.  I was relieved - and a little surprised - to learn that the Wine Festival had become a separate society many years back and that it had simply kept the Playhouse name and continued to serve as a primary fundraiser for the artistic company.  Primary enough that the Wine Festival raised $7.8 million for the Playhouse between 1979 and last year.

Knowing that the festival itself would continue, the question turned to "who will now benefit from all the festival proceeds and fundraising efforts?"

We now know.

The Festival board of directors has chosen another long time stalwart on the Vancouver theatre scene - the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society - as its new beneficiary.  I'm not so sure that Shakespeare wrote much about wine in his works but we'll no doubt see more than a few allusions to Romeo & Romanée, to witches' brews and to  "Plumpy Bacchus with pink eye" in the months to come.

Some of the numbers for the 2012 Festival included the participation of 180 wineries from 15 countries.  Those wineries poured 30,000 bottles of 1700 different wines over 7 days and 64 events.  The Bard, himself, might be sufficiently tasked to pen a sonnet or prose to capture the Festival's essence for those who have never attended.

The 2013 edition of the newly minted Vancouver International Wine Festival takes place from February 25 through March 3.  Lovers of California Chardonnay will be in their element as the West Coast state is the year's theme region and Chardonnay will be the varietal featured in the festival's global focus.

I shall see you anon.

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