As a part of the Vancouver International Wine Festival, on February 26, I attended this 13th annual awards lunch with an Italian 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 Italian delicacies, and toasted trade competition winners with a stunning line-up of a selection of 35 Italian wines.
2016 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 10th annual award goes to industry icon Norman Gladstone.
Norman entered the import agency business 35 years ago with his own company, Gladstone and Company Wine Imports, after having worked overseas in the beer industry with Whitbread. Fifteen years later he partnered with International Cellars, where he remained until his retirement this year. He held the post of the Import Vintners & Spirits Association (IVSA) president for several terms and spearheaded the long running IVSA/BCLDB baseball tournaments. Known as a man of many words, Norman has been a mentor and mediator to many people in the industry.
2016 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, Alistair Veen, chef/owner of Tap Restaurant, was selected through a hands-on competition organized by the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). Veen will represent British Columbia in the “Best Sommelier in Canada” competition this spring.
Veen became interested in wine as part of all the food and wine paired menus he was asked to create. Over many years through trial and error he learned some of the nuances that play off each other in pairing. But he hungered for more knowledge about wine so he signed up for a level 1 International Sommelier Guild program. There he met his instructor, Michelle Bouffard, whom he credits for planting the seed in his head that there was a deep and exciting rabbit hole to follow with his wine education. He is currently the chef/owner of Tap Restaurant in South Surrey.
2016 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
Gotham Steakhouse & Bar
Burdock & Co.
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca
Zest Japanese Cuisine
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
Brix & Mortar
Homer St. Café and Bar
Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House
Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Provence Marinaside / The Wine Bar
Tableau Bar Bistro
Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio
Centre Ice Grill – Rogers Arena
LIFT Bar Grill View
Tramonto at River Rock Casino Resort
Beach Bay Café and Patio
The Beachhouse Restaurant & Lounge
St. James’ Well
Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana
Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar
Basalt Wine + Salumeria
Wild Mountain Food & Drink (Sooke)
Grand Cru Restaurant and Lounge, The Grand Hotel (Nanaimo)
Hudson’s On First Restaurant (Duncan)
The Pacific Restaurant & Terrace, Hotel Grand Pacific (Victoria)
Unsworth Restaurant (Mill Bay)
Onwards to next year and to more award winners.
By: Richard Wolak