Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction Raises funds for Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

IN BRIEF: The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction kicked off the 38th Vancouver International Wine Festival on February 20 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver with a spectacular evening of wine and food, topped by a thrilling live auction.

VANCOUVER, BC (February 22, 2016) — The 2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival started with a splash at the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on Saturday, February 20. Net proceeds of this annual fundraiser benefit charitable partner Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

The evening was styled as a Venetian masquerade in honour of VanWineFest theme country Italy, with many guests donning masks to top off their formal wear. Among the 400 guests attending were the Hon. Suzanne Anton, Minister of Justice and Attorney General; the Hon. Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Minster Responsible for Translink; and Vancouver City Councillor Elizabeth Ball.

“I am so pleased that our Venetian masquerade sparkled as brightly as our guests in our celebration of Italy and Bard on the Beach,” said Jana Maclagan, chair of the Bacchanalia Gala committee.  “Our generous donors and guests ensured that Gala’s contribution to the arts in Vancouver is thriving. It is a really great evening when you can tell friends a story that includes having dinner with the 32nd Baron of Brolio, bidding on a wine from 1906, dining at a table set with 88 glasses and eating a five-course Michelin-style meal – all while never setting foot on a plane. I am happy to report that the guest reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and many guests have already asked to reserve their table for next year. Thank you to all the volunteers and the staff at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver who put so much time and effort into making this evening look effortless!”

The gala began with a sparkling wine reception and an opportunity to bid on wines in the one-bid auction and food & wine related items in the Epicurean Auction.  Following the reception, guests savoured nine spectacular wines paired with five inventive courses created by the Fairmont’s executive chef, Cameron Ballendine.

Throughout dinner, guests were able to place their bids using electronic tablets on coveted silent auction items, including unique and rare wines, culinary excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences, while Master of Ceremonies Chris Gailus kept the evening flowing. During the cheese course, Howard Blank, the new President of Variety, took the crowd through the Live Auction, which featured once-in-a-lifetime wine lots and epicurean adventures.

Highlights of the competitive live auction included a bottle of 1906 Chateau Latour, which went for $8,500; a Millennium Bordeaux vintage collection of four bottles that raised $13,000; an Italian wine dinner with Umberto Menghi that brought in $10,500; and a trip for two to Italy, including visits to Giusti Wine and Barone Ricasoli wineries, that raised $7,500. In total, the live and silent auctions raised nearly $210,000, the best results since the last time Italy was the theme country. The sold-out raffle for two Delta One International Business Class tickets, donated by Delta Air Lines, raised an additional $20,000.

“It was so much fun to see so many supporters of the wine festival and Bard savouring the exquisite food and wines and dancing the night away,” said Christopher Gaze, Artistic Director of Bard on the Beach. “Our heartfelt gratitude and congratulations to our friends at the festival for all they do for Bard and for Vancouver – and for their success in staging Canada’s finest wine celebration!”

Net proceeds from the 2016 Festival, contributed to Bard on the Beach, will be announced at the festival’s year-end in June. The 2017 Bacchanalia Gala is scheduled for Saturday, February 11, 2017.

Bacchanalia Gala Dinner Wines:

Valdo Numero 10 Brut Metodo Classico NV, Veneto, Italy
Majella Minuet NV, Coonawarra, Australia
Miguel Torres Pazo das Bruxas Albariño Rías Baixas DO 2014, Galicia, Spain
Stina Pošip 2013, Dalmatia, Croatia
Famille Perrin Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc AOC 2012, Rhône, France
Fontanafredda Serralunga d’Alba Barolo DOCG 2010, Piedmont, Italy
Barone Ricasoli Colledilà Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2011, Tuscany, Italy
Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2011, Veneto, Italy
Gérard Bertrand Chateau La Sauvageonne Terrasses du Larzac AOC Grand Vin 2011, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny Port NV, Douro Valley, Portugal

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Canada’s premier wine show marks its 38th edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 20 to 28, 2016. The festival features Italy as the theme country. The festival is showcasing 155 wineries from 14 countries (including 60 wineries from Italy) pouring 1,470+ wines at 54 events to a projected 25,000 admissions. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction opened the festival on Saturday, February 20 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. 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 $8.5 million for the performing arts. Major sponsors are The Vancouver Sun, the official newspaper, and Delta Air Lines, the official air line. Major industry partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. The festival is made possible through the gracious support of our participating countries’ consulates and embassies. For more information about the Vancouver International Wine Festival go to


Celebrating its 27th season in 2016, Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals. It is presented on the waterfront in Kitsilano’s Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver’s downtown core. The Festival offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas and popular special events in two performance tents every June through September. In 2015, Festival attendance exceeded 90,000 and more than 1.4 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception. The 2016 Festival dates are June 3 to September 24 and the lineup includes The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Pericles. Bard also offers a range of education programs, including Young Shakespeareans Workshops for 8-18 year-olds at its Vanier Park site during the summer, and Riotous Youth for 19 to 24-year-olds. During the school term, The Festival also offers workshops for educators and youth in schools and community centres throughout BC’s Lower Mainland, as well as at its new administrative home, the BMO Theatre Centre (164 West 1st Avenue). Full Festival details and education program information is at


Media Contact:

Nicola Humphrey
Heth PR
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