Two Vancouver festivals join forces for fundraising


To help combat losses, Bard on the Beach and the Vancouver International Wine Festival are teaming up to raise funds for their Bacchanalia Online Auction.

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COVID-19 forced the shuttering of the Vancouver International Wine Festival (VIWF) and the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in 2021.

To help combat the losses associated with the cancellations, the festivals are teaming up to raise funds with a Bacchanalia Online Auction, inspired by the wine festival’s long-running gala and auction event.

“The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner and Auction has earned a reputation for offering an unparalleled opportunity for the wine collectors and serious wine aficionados to stock up their cellars with unique and rare wines,” Harry Hertscheg, executive director of VIWF, said in a news release. “Bacchanalia Online aims to keep that valuable experience alive.”

The virtual action will also serve as a “vital cornerstone” in the efforts to ensure the festivals can return in the future, according to Hertscheg. In pre-pandemic years, the gala and auction has been an important avenue for fundraising for the Bard on the Beach events.

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“We are honoured that Bard is the official charitable beneficiary of the wine festival and we are incredibly grateful that their team is working with us to sustain their annual financial support, even though their full festival and gala event couldn’t go ahead this year,” Christopher Gaze, artistic director of Bard on the Beach, said in the release.

The Bard on the Beach site at Vanier Park in 2018.
The Bard on the Beach site at Vanier Park in 2018. PNG

Offering “exclusive wines and wine experiences” the virtual auction will run between April 27 and May 1, and offer access to more than 120 lots, ranging from a rare Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve (an impressive 15 litres valued at $3,000); a 1994 Pétrus worth $4,000; and wine-tasting sessions at Vanessa Vineyards and Nk’Mip Cellars with a two-night stay at the Spirit Ridge Resort in Osoyoos; and more.

For those who prefer to bid on something a little less drinkable and a little more theatrical, the auction includes several packages, including a chance to meet and “spend dedicated time” with Gaze.

The auction’s catalogue will be available online April 25 at