Now in its 13th year, the Winnipeg Wine Festival has become one of the largest wine festivals in the country. As well as offering countless fun events, it's also the largest single fundraiser for Special Olympics Manitoba. The public tastings boast the highest attendance in the country, with well over 8,000 enjoying hundreds of wines from around the world! This year's theme country is Wine Australia (Canada was last year!), bringing up over 100 wines from 26 wineries to the public tastings. And you can feel good before even raising a glass: all proceeds from this unique fundraiser support Special Olympics Manitoba, whose mission is to enrich the lives of Manitobans with intellectual disabilities through active participation in sport.
Each year, the Winnipeg Wine Festival features a plethora of exciting events in the days leading up to the Gala Dinner on May 1st and the Public Tastings on the 2nd and 3rd. This year is no exception. This weekend included a walk-about "World of Wine" tasting tour at Tapestry by Amici, the always lovely dining room at Niakwa Golf & Country Club. Representatives were warm, welcoming, and eager to share knowledge about wines from across the globe. The happy faces and packed hall reflected the popularity of these events—as well as the fact that it had completely sold out! Tickets for these events go quickly, so make sure to get yours fast. This week features a range of events from luxury wine dinners to an Aussie-inspired party in the outback. As of this morning, you can still get your hands on tickets to the Wayne Gretzky Winemaker's Dinner at The Exchange Restaurant & Beer Market in the MTS Centre, Wednesday, April 30, where there'll be 6 paired courses including 7 wines (including the Icon 99, of which there were only twenty-four cases produced!). Tickets are also available for Pfeiffer Winemaker's Dinner at the beautiful McPhillips Station Casino on Sunday, May 4, where you'll be able to enjoy hand-picked hors d'oeuvres and four tantalizing courses to match the award-winning wines.
Tickets for the public wine tastings (Friday from 7:00-10:00 p.m.; Saturday from 1:00-4:00 and 7:00-10:00 p.m.) are available now at all Winnipeg Liquor Marts. Over 500 wines will be available to sample (make sure you have a safe way to get home!), and word has it that Saturday afternoon is the session to hit, being a bit less busy than the evenings (it'll be the middle of the night in theme country Australia, so drinking wine in the afternoon is all good!). The tastings are held at the RBC Convention Centre, and are arranged by country. It's an enormous grape-tastic adventure, and the abundance of options can be a tad overwhelming, so I suggest downloading the guide ahead of time here to plan your trip—whether than plan involves researching and highlighting meticulously, or just pointing at random numbers and hoping for the best. Either way, you're guaranteed to expand your palate, enjoy amazing wines, and equip yourself with impressive facts to pull out at your next wine and cheese party. Like this one! Did you know that Prince Charles—visiting Winnipeg next month!—powers his vintage Aston Martin on wine?
More information, guides and tickets are available over at the Winnipeg Wine Festival website—hopefully see you there!