Kissinger threatened to sue city over allowing other wine festival

Prior to filing a lawsuit against Vancouver Winefest for having a similar name — changing the name to Vancouver Craft Winefest wasn’t good enough — Bravo! Vancouver’s Michael Kissinger, artistic director of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, talked to Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt.

Among other things, he threatened to name the city as a defendant in the lawsuit for “the theft of Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival intellectual property, through support of a similar event,” Leavitt wrote in a recap of the discussion.

Kissinger, according to Leavitt’s notes, also had questions about the city promoting events. The city had been using money from lodging tax revenues — which by law had to be spent for tourism-related purposes — to support events, but that money is now going to pay off Hilton debt. To help promote the events, the city did put together a list of local booze fests, a copy of which Kissinger included in the lawsuit.

Kissinger apparently didn’t like that the city lumped his festival with the other wine festival. A headline read, “Vancouver Hosts Five Brew Fests and Two Wine Festivals.”

Here’s Leavitt’s email to City Manager Eric Holmes and Jan Bader, the city’s program and policy manager, summarizing his talk with Kissinger.


Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at or 360-735-4508.

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