Bacchanalia Gala Dinner & Auction

Master Winemaker Howard Soon NamedHonorary Chair of VanWineFest’s Bacchanalia Gala 2023

Vancouver, BC – written November 27, 2023 – Did you know that Vancouver has an International Wine Festival that will take place February 24th to March 3, 2024 at the Vancouver Convention Centre? They have some exciting news this year.

The Vancouver International Wine Festival and Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival are thrilled to announce that Howard Soon, C.M., will be the Honorary Chair of the 2024 Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, presented by National Bank Private Banking 1859.

Howard Soon has more than 43 years of experience in winemaking, beginning with Calona Vineyards. In 1997, he became the founding winemaker of Sandhill and is now the Master Winemaker for Vanessa Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley. In 2009, Howard became the only winemaker in history to receive all three top honours at the Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards when Sandhill won Red Wine of the Year, White Wine of the Year, and Winery of the Year.

His collaborative relationships with his growers and non-interventionist approach have consistently led to award-winning single-vineyard wines. He was the first winemaker in BC to release exclusively single-vineyard wines that capture terroir. His contribution to the BC wine industry was first recognized in 1998 by the Okanagan Wine Festival Society, receiving the Founders Award. He was the first BC winemaker to receive a Gold Medal at the Chardonnay du Monde competition in Burgundy, France. Among his many honours, in June 2019, Howard received an appointment to the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to the wine industry.                                                                 

Howard has been a longtime supporter of both Bard on the Beach and the Vancouver International Wine Festival. He was a popular guest on the Wine Wednesday virtual tastings during the pandemic and has supported the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction with valuable auction prizes. He also received the Spirited Industry Professional Award at the 2015 VIWF Awards Lunch. “Howard is a great friend of Bard on the Beach and VanWineFest,” says Christopher Gaze, Founding Artistic Director, Bard on the Beach. “I can’t think of a better ambassador for the Bacchanalia Gala, a vital fundraiser for Bard’s education and outreach programming.”

“The performing arts and wine are the perfect marriage,” says Soon. “I’m delighted to serve as the Honorary Chair of the Bacchanalia Gala and proud to support two of British Columbia’s finest institutions. This remarkable event showcases the best BC has to offer – be it from the world of theatre, wine, or cuisine, and does it with style and elegance.”

The 2024 festival will take place February 24-March 3 at the Vancouver Convention Centre and other venues in Vancouver.

  • Advance tickets (International Festival Tastings and Super Pass) and deal goes on sale now
  • Trade Days Pass goes on sale Wednesday, December 13 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Winery dinners go on sale Wednesday, January 3 at 9:30 a.m.
  • All remaining public events go on sale Wednesday, January 10 at 9:30 a.m.
  • All Trade Days events go on sale Wednesday, January 17 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Please note: There will not be a Vintners Brunch in 2024

One of the most spectacular wine and food events in the city, the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, presented by National Bank Private Banking 1859, kicks off the 45th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival on Saturday, February 24, 2024 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The evening starts with a Prosecco reception and features eight additional outstanding wines paired with an exquisite five-course menu prepared by the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s culinary team, led by Executive Chef David Baarschers. Live and silent auctions throughout the evening will feature unique and celebrated wines and epicurean experiences and are the province’s premier opportunity for wine collectors to obtain rare and older vintage wines.  

As well, Delta Air Lines has donated two round-trip Delta One tickets to anywhere Delta flies in Europe for the 2024 Gala Raffle. Raffle tickets will be available soon.

All proceeds from the Gala support Bard on the Beach. Since 1979, the Vancouver International Wine Festival has raised more than $10 million for the performing arts in Vancouver, including $2 million for Bard on the Beach’s artistic and educational programming. 


Tommasi Viticoltori Filodora Prosecco DOC NV, Veneto, Italy
Vini Tonon Camúl Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Millesimato Brut DOCG 2022, Veneto, Italy
Azienda Agricola Bocale di Valentini Bocale Spoleto DOC Trebbiano Spoletino 2021, Umbria, Italy
Cantine Volpi Colli Tortonesi DOC Timorasso 2021, Piedmont, Italy
Azienda Agricola Marziano Abbona “Papà Celso” Dogliani DOCG 2021, Piedmont, Italy
Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione 2018, Tuscany, Italy
Tenuta di Arceno Strada al Sasso Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione 2019, Tuscany, Italy
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2018, Tuscany, Italy
Giuseppe Campagnola Caterina Zardini Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico Riserva 2018, Veneto, Italy
MASI Agricola Angelorum Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG 2017, Veneto, Italy 

A limited number of individual Gala tickets are now available online or by phone. For information on full tables of 8, contact Tickets are $600 each or $4,800 for a table of 8. 

Online: 24/7 
Phone: 604-873-3311, toll-free 1-877-321-3121 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Ticket prices include wine, food, gratuities, taxes and service charge.

Stay In Touch
For more information about the Vancouver International Wine Festival go to and read our Quick Facts.

Twitter: Follow @VanWineFest for announcements, including e-news, festival updates & media releases. Join the conversation at #VIWF.
Facebook / Instagram: @VanWineFest

Canada’s premier wine show will mark its 45th edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 24-March 3, 2024. The festival will showcase 149 wineries from 12 countries, featured in 43 events over eight days. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, presented by National Bank Private Banking 1859, is the main fundraising event of the festival and kicks off the festival on Saturday, February 24 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Trade Days takes place Wednesday, February 28-Friday, March 1. The festival is consistently ranked the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash, and was named one of the world’s top 10 wine trade shows by Wine International Association. 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 more than $10 million for the performing arts. Major sponsors are Delta Air Lines and The Vancouver Sun; major industry partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, BCLIQUOR, and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. The Vancouver International Wine Festival gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.

Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals, presented on the waterfront at Sen̓áḵw/Vanier Park. The festival offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas, and popular special events in two performance tents every June through September. Over 2 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception, growing to annual attendance close to 100,000. Next year’s festival dates are June 11 to September 28, 2024, and scheduled plays include Twelfth Night, Hamlet, The Comedy of Errors, and Measure for Measure. Bard also offers a range of education programs for learners from eight to 80. Full details and education program information are at

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