Celebrating Excellence: VIWF Announces Trade Winners

Spirited Industry Professional, Sommelier of the Year, Wine Program Excellence Awards

The Vancouver International Wine Festival announced the 2019 trade competition winners on Friday at Celebrating Excellence: 16th Annual Awards Lunch Featuring California Wines, presented by ContainerWorld. The Celebrating Excellence program is part of the three-day Trade Days Conference; the program honours those professionals who contribute to this region’s exceptional wine and food culture. Guests enjoyed a meal prepared by Vancouver Convention Centre executive chef Mark Massicotte, exquisitely matched with a selection of 40 wines from California.


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 14th annual award goes to DJ Kearney.

DJ, a classically trained chef, has 18 years in the wine industry, embracing teaching, wine writing and wine criticism. She has trained over a thousand sommelier candidates throughout North America for the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and has consulted for many global wine marketing bodies. DJ has also been the Drink Editor for Vancouver Magazine, chief judge for Vancouver Magazine International Wine Competition and critic/contributor for WineAlign. A seasoned wine judge, she has developed and mentored the next generation of judges. She has been Vice President of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, BC Chapter and a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier. DJ has also been the Technical Director for both the best sommelier of BC and Canada and most recently was the curator of Judgment of BC.


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, Matthew Landry, general manager/beverage director at The Stable House Bistro, was selected through a hands-on competition organized by the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. As Sommelier of the Year, Matthew receives Delta Air Lines vouchers valued at $2,000 USD from the festival.

Matthew is originally from St. Catharines, Ontario and began his service career in the heart of Niagara wine country, nervously pouring things he couldn’t pronounce and that, hopefully, came under screw cap. Some years ago, he got the chance to take over a list he had no business running at a now defunct restaurant in Toronto and since then, what started as a curious obligation, has evolved into a genuine passion. Matthew has since achieved his sommelier certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers, finished the WSET Level 3 Advanced, and completed the French and Italian Wine Scholar programs.


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, DJ Kearney, Martha McAvity, Iain Philip, and Jason Yamasaki. 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
CinCin Ristorante + Bar
Hawksworth Restaurant

Elisa – Best New Entry
Savio Volpe
Tap Restaurant
Ugly Dumpling – Best Innovation
Yuwa Japanese Cuisine

Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio
Captains Room
Le Crocodile
Fable Kitchen
Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House
Provence Marinaside / The Wine Bar
The Stable House Bistro
Tableau Bar Bistro
West Restaurant

Edible Canada
Homer St. Cafe and Bar
Piva Modern Italian
Tuc Craft Kitchen

Honourable Mention
Hart House Restaurant
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Il Caminetto

Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar


10 Acres Kitchen (Victoria)
Agrius Restaurant (Victoria)
The Courtney Room (Victoria)

Sonora Resort (Sonora Island)
Zambri’s (Victoria)

Honorable Mention
Artisan Bistro (Victoria)
Summit Restaurant at the Villa Eyrie Resort (Malahat)


Vin Room Mission (Calgary)
Vin Room YYC Airport (Calgary)

Vin Room West (Calgary)

Clementine (Edmonton)

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The 12-event Trade Days Conference is the wine business component of the Vancouver International Wine Festival. The media partner is BC Business. For the last six years, Trade Days has been voted the “#1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada” by New York’s BizBash. 2019 events include masterclasses seminars about California sponsored by California Wines, Napa Valley Vintners, and Wine & Spirit Education Trust; Principals Welcome Lunch, presented by JF Hillebrand; Celebrating Excellence: 16th Annual Awards Lunch Featuring California Wines, presented by ContainerWorld; and two Trade Tastings, presented by ContainerWorld. Other Trade Days sponsors and partners include Vancouver Magazine, Vancouver Sun, and information technology company ITS Consulting Inc.; as well as the participating event wineries. Trade Days extends special thanks to the Import Vintners & Spirits Association, Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, BC Hospitality Foundation and Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia.

Canada’s premier wine show marks its 41st edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 23 to March 3, 2019. The festival features California Wines and is showcasing 160 wineries from 15 countries (including 53 wineries from California) pouring ~1,450 wines at 54 events to a projected 25,000 admissions. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction opened the festival on Saturday, February 23 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The Trade Days Conference runs Wednesday, February 27 to Friday, March 1. The festival has been named the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash for six years running. The festival is produced by the Vancouver International Wine Festival Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and festival partners; and raise funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. Since inception in 1979, the festival has raised $9.2 million for the performing arts. Major sponsors are Delta Air Lines and the Vancouver Sun; major industry partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, BC Liquor Stores, and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. The festival is made possible through the gracious support of our participating countries’ consulates and embassies.


Established in 1934 and based in San Francisco, Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of more than 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. Wine Institute’s California Wine Export Program has more than 175 member wineries exporting to 138 countries. The program’s 15 representative offices conduct activities in 25 countries around the globe. The Wine Institute’s Canadian office coordinates a number of promotional activities every year designed to educate and inform media, trade, stakeholders and consumers about the quality and diversity of products available from the Golden State. For more information on the Wine Institute of California, visit the website at www.discovercaliforniawines.com and www.calwine.ca

Celebrating its 30th season in 2019, Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals. It is presented on the waterfront in Kitsilano’s Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver’s downtown core. Bard on the Beach offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas and popular special events in two performance tents every June through September. In 2018, attendance was 108,000 and more than 1.9 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception. Next year’s festival dates are June 5 to September 21, 2019, and the lineup includes The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare in Love, All’s Well That Ends Well and Coriolanus. Bard also offers a range of education programs, including Young Shakespeareans workshops for 8-18 year-olds at its Vanier Park site during the summer, and the Riotous Youth program for 19 to 24-year-olds. During the school term, Bard also offers workshops for educators and youth in schools and community centres throughout BC’s Lower Mainland, as well as at its administrative home, the BMO Theatre Centre (162 West 1st Avenue). Full details and education program information are at bardonthebeach.org.


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