More than 25,000 Canadian wine lovers have had the chance to enjoy medal-winning wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards at this year’s Vancouver International Wine Festival.

Now in its 38th year, the festival – Canada’s premier wine show and one of the leading wine events in North America – has welcomed 155 wineries from 14 countries, featuring some 1,500 wines for both trade and consumers to taste and buy.

This year’s focus was Italy, represented by 60 wineries, including leading names such as Rocca delle Machie, Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, Pio Cesare, Antinori, Zonin, Tedeschi, Masi, Ferrari and Vietti.

Decanter, a premier sponsor of the festival, showcased a selection of winning wines from DWWA 2015, as well as holding a masterclass and taking part in an industry panel.

The sell-out masterclass, Iconic Grapes around the Globe, was presented by Tony Aspler, the DWWA Regional Chair for Canada, and Rhys Pender MW, a DWWA judge and winemaker. More than 120 attendees tasted through 12 wines of different grape varieties, from Lambrusco Grasparossa and Albariño to Carmenere and Plavac Mali.

Pender also moderated the Excitement in a Glass seminar, where Decanter’s Tina Gellie joined leading Canadian wine buyers and sommeliers – including DWWA judges Barbara Philip MW and Terry Threlfall – to champion 10 wines that offered great interest and value.

In addition to three days of international tastings for trade and consumers at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the festival also held 54 seminars, dinners and other events across the city between 20-28 February.

Marking 150 years of the country’s confederation in 1867, next year’s festival, from 11-19 February, will celebrate Canada as its theme region, with wineries from the 10 provinces joining international visitors.

Also announced at the festival, Alistair Veen, chef/owner of regional British Columbia restaurant Tap in South Surrey was named BC Sommelier of the Year, and Norman Gladstone, a wine importer and past president of the Import Vintners & Spirits Association, was awarded the Spirited Industry Professional Award.

Restaurants whose wine lists were deemed the best of the year were: Blue Water Café & Raw Bar, Chambar, Gotham Steakhouse & Bar, Hawksworth and Vij’s (Vancouver) and Cilantro, Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro and The Lake House (Calgary).