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VanWineFest: 2013 trade competition award winners announced

Photo by Kelly Jean Marion -- follow her @kellyjean247

The Vancouver International Festival, Canada's premier wine show, wrapped up it's 35th year on Sunday.

With 175 wineries from 15 countries pouring, and 1,850 wines at 54 events, guests were entertained by tastings, seminars, brunches, lunches and dinners. This year the festival shone light on California, with a global varietal focus on Chardonnay.

To honour professionals who contribute to our region’s exceptional wine and food culture, there is an annual award lunch where winners of each category are announced. Guests attending Celebrate Excellence: The 10th Annual Awards Lunch enjoyed a meal prepared by Vancouver Convention Centre's Executive Chef Blair Rasmussen, and toasted the winners with Californian wines.

And the 2013 trade competition winners are....


The Spirited Industry Professional Award honours an individual who makes significant contributions to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia.

The eighth annual SIP Award went to industry legend Sid Cross. Sid travels the globe as a wine and food writer and educator and volunteers his time to numerous culinary causes. Sid is honorary president of the International Wine & Food Society and judges competitions like the Canadian Wine Awards and Canadian Culinary Championships. He is internationally recognized for his exceptional palate: he is an officer of France’s Ordre du Merite Agricole; a wines committee chair of the International Wine and Food Society in London, England; and the only Canadian to be honoured as a Membre d’Honneur of the L’Academie du vin de Bordeaux.


The 13th annual Sommelier of the Year Award recognizes outstanding wine knowledge and wine service. The Sommelier of the Year is awarded based on votes by key members of the industry and is included in the May Restaurant Awards issue of Vancouver Magazine.

This year’s award went to sommelier Samantha Rahn. Samantha was trained at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and previously worked at Banff’s Maple Leaf Grill & Lounge, where she earned the restaurant prestigious accolades such as Wine Spectator’s “Best of” Award of Excellence. Now wine director at Whistler’s famed Araxi, Samantha is passionate about wine, using her knowledge and years of experience to craft the restaurant’s acclaimed wine list.


On Wednesday February 27, 2013, wine trade and service professionals, culinarians, and non-professional connoisseurs alike competed in the Blind Tasting Challenge. They blind tasted seven wines and identified them using the Wine and Spirit Education Trust’s Systematic Approach to Tasting.

This year the Blind Tasting Challenge winners were Wendy Spicknell (consumer) Murray Bancroft (culinarian) and Chris Turyk (trade).


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 top restaurants were awarded Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, or commended with an Honourable Mention.


Blue Water Cafe
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill
Wine Room at Joey Bentall One

Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar
Hawksworth Restaurant
Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House
MARKET by Jean-Georges
Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Salt Tasting Room
Tableau Bar Bistro
YEW restaurant + bar

Bao Bei
Cibo Trattoria and Uva Wine Bar
Edible Canada at the Market
Provence: The Wine Bar
The Observatory

Le Gavroche
Lift Bar Grill View
The Beach House

Honourable Mention

Fable Kitchen
Gramercy Grill
Raincity Grill
The Fish House in Stanley Park


Alta Bistro
Araxi Restaurant
Rimrock Café

The Grill Room at Fairmont Chateau Whistler


Vis à Vis wine + charcuterie bar

Hotel Grand Pacific
Nautical Nellies
Stage Wine Bar

Il Terrazzo Ristorante
Veneto Tapa Lounge

Honourable Mention
The Grand Hotel Nanaimo

The Restaurant at Painted Boat (Madeira Park)

Emerald Lake Lodge (Field)
La Bussola (Kelowna)
Local Lounge & Grille (Summerland)

The Wine List Awards are sponsored by Vancouver Magazine.

To see the complete list, including Alberta, click here.

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