The Vancouver International Wine Festival takes over the city February 20 to March 1. With over 50 events—many of them already sold out—and hundreds of bottles of wines showcased, it’s no surprise that this festival is one of the most popular in Canada.
If you didn’t score tickets to Wine Fest, there are many restaurants, bars, and shops in Vancouver where wine is a priority and oenophiles can gain an education. Below, we look at some of the best places to taste wine in Vancouver.
Salt Tasting Room
Gastown’s Salt Tasting Room located in Blood Alley Square offers well-chosen wines by the glass along with cheese and charcuterie pairings. The small restaurant carries more than 70 bottles of wine, with many of them available by the glass, including sparkling, white, rosé, red, sherry, and fortified. For diners who prefer something else to sip on, Salt Tasting Room also serves a selection of craft beer, cider, and spirits. Specializing in artisanal cheeses and small-batch cured meats, guests are encouraged to create their own tasting plate based on the day’s chalkboard selections.
UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar
This downtown wine and cocktail bar below the Moda Hotel offers an impressive list of wines as well as cocktails. Sommelier Robert Stelmachuk keeps a cellar that focuses on Italian labels. Here, wines are offered by the glass or bottle. Alternatively, guests can leave the decision making in the hands of the experts and opt for a wine flight, which includes 2 ounce samples of three wines. A “Bubbles Flight” makes any day a celebration with samples of Prosecco, sparkling Riesling, and Cococciola. For an around-the-world tour, opt for the “New Empire” flight, which highlights wine-growing regions in New Zealand, Argentina, and Canada.
Vancouver Urban Winery
There’s no need to travel to the Okanagan with the Vancouver Urban Winery just outside of the downtown core. Located near Oppenheimer Park in Railtown, the Settlement Building houses a winery, brewery, and restaurant. Guests can pop in for wine tastings daily and select from a variety of flight options that highlight 25 “local” wines. At adjoining Belgard Kitchen, diners can pair these wines with chef Reuben Major’s modern comfort food. On weekends, stop by for brunch and start the weekend right with a wine tasting.
Legacy Liquor Store and Marquis Wine Cellars
Two wine stores make the cut because neither of these are regular liquor stores. In Olympic Village, Legacy Liquor Store not only carries an expansive selection of wines from around the world, but also hosts wine-tasting events on a regular basis. Many of these are free public tastings, and a calendar of events can be found on the Legacy Liquor Store website. Similarly in the West End, Marquis Wine Cellars is a speciality store that offers free wine tastings nearly daily and one of the largest selections in Canada.
The Wine Bar at Provence Marinaside
Enjoy a glass of wine with a view at the Wine Bar at Provence Marinaside. This intimate tasting room is steps from False Creek and focuses mainly on French wines and a few other Mediterranean countries, with over 50 bottles to choose from. Glasses of wine start as low as $7 and bottles run from $30 to around $150. To pair with the wines, enjoy French bistro-inspired bites, including grilled squid, spicy lamb sausage, and grilled artichokes. Daily deals means there is a reason to visit every day of the week.