As a part of the Vancouver International Wine Festival, on February 17, I attended this 14th annual awards lunch with a Canadian theme, that was full of restaurateurs, sommeliers, wine makers, and other industry peers.
Guests enjoyed a meal prepared by Vancouver Convention Centre executive chef Blair Rasmussen, showcasing Canadian delicacies, and toasted trade competition winners with a stunning line-up of a selection of Canadian wines.
2017 SPIRITED INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL AWARD
The annual Spirited Industry Professional Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia. The 12th annual award goes to industry icon Harry McWatters.
Harry is a 49-year veteran of the British Columbia wine industry. He founded Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, BC’s first estate winery in 1980 and See Ya Later Ranch Estate winery in 1995. After selling both operations to Vincor Canada in 2000, he remained President of Sumac Ridge and See Ya Later Ranch and was a Vice President of Vincor Canada until he “retired” in 2008. Since then he has established the Vintage Consulting Group, launched TIME Estate Winery and the McWatters Collection and co-developed ENCORE Vineyards Ltd. Harry is the founding chair of the BC Wine Institute, VQA Canada, the BC Wine Information Society, and the BC Hospitality Foundation. In 2003 Harry received the prestigious Order of British Columbia for his services to the BC wine industry.
2017 SOMMELIER OF THE YEAR
The Sommelier of the Year Award recognizes working sommeliers who consistently demonstrate an outstanding passion for marrying wine with food and a dedication to exceptional service. This year’s winner, Shane Taylor, wine director at CinCin Ristorante + Bar, was selected through a hands-on competition organized by the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. Shane will represent British Columbia in the “Best Sommelier in Canada” competition. As Sommelier of the Year, Shane receives two Delta Air Lines vouchers valued at $2,000 USD from the festival.
A native of PEI, Shane is a graduate of the Atlantic Tourism and Hospitality Institute, holds the WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits, and recently qualified as Advanced Sommelier from the London-based Court of Master Sommeliers. He worked at the Relais Gourmand White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine, the Michelin-starred Glenapp Castle and Chapter One in the UK, before moving to Canada in 2005 to join Araxi and the Toptable team.
2017 WINE PROGRAM EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS
Celebrating the best food and wine pairings in the business, restaurants throughout British Columbia and Alberta have been recognized for creating wine lists that complement their establishment’s unique menu and concept. Candidates submitted their wine and menu lists, and were then visited by judges who reviewed their programs. The key judges were Tom Doughty, Jay Jones, DJ Kearney, Iain Philip, and Treve Ring. The top restaurants were awarded Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, or commended with an Honourable Mention. The Wine Program Excellence Awards are sponsored by Vancouver Magazine.
Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
Burdock & Co.
CinCin Ristorante + Bar
Gotham Steakhouse & Bar
Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House
Latab – Best New Entry
Zest Japanese Cuisine
Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
Provence Marinaside/The Wine Bar
Homer St. Café and Bar
The Stable House Bistro
Tableau Bar Bistro
Tramonto at River Rock Casino Resort
Cibo Trattoria / Uva Wine Bar
LIFT Bar Grill View
Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar
Basalt Wine + Salumeria
Café Brio (Victoria)
OLO Restaurant (Victoria)
10 Acres Kitchen (Victoria)
Pacific Prime Restaurant & Lounge, The Beach Club Resort (Parksville)
Unsworth Restaurant (Mill Bay)
Emerald Lake Lodge (Field)
Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro (Calgary)
Buffalo Mountain Lodge (Banff)
Deer Lodge (Lake Louise)
The Lake House (Calgary)
Vin Room West (Calgary)
Vin Room Mission (Calgary)
Onwards to next year and to more award winners.
By: Richard Wolak