Celebrating Excellence: VIWF Announces 2023 Trade Competition Winners

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

Vancouver, BC (April 28, 2023) – The Vancouver International Wine Festival announced the 2023 trade competition winners on Friday at Celebrating Excellence: 19th Annual Awards Lunch Featuring South America, 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 Nandakishore Rangan, exquisitely matched with a selection of 20 wines from South America.

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 16th annual award goes to John Bishop.

Welsh-born John Bishop began his career at the age of 15, filling creamer jugs and delivering breakfast trays. After ten years as chef at a restaurant in Kinsale, County Cork, he came to Canada in 1973. In 1985, he launched the iconic restaurant that bore his name for 36 years. Bishop’s was synonymous with farm-to-table ingredients, west coast hospitality, and great food and wine. John retired in August 2022 to spend more time with his family and write. He has already authored four cookbooks on everything from the importance of fresh, local ingredients, to favourite family recipes from his own home kitchen.

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, Kelcie Jones, co-owner, This is Wine School, was selected through a hands-on competition organized by the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. 

Sommelier, Wine Educator, Wine Writer, Master of Wine student. After completing a BA and MA at the University of Toronto, Kelcie held sommelier and wine director positions across Vancouver, most notably as Wine Director at Chambar, while completing her WSET Diploma and beginning to teach WSET and other wine courses. Following that, she opened Elephant on Powell as GM and Wine Director. Recently Kelcie joined the Michelin-starred Burdock & Co as Wine Director and opened This is Wine School to offer WSET and alternative wine education in Chinatown, Vancouver and beyond.

The Vancouver International Wine Festival is pleased to partner with the BC Hospitality Foundation, the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and the Threlfall family on a scholarship in the name of our beloved friend and colleague, Terry Threlfall, who passed away suddenly in October 2020. The scholarship is awarded to a candidate seeking to make a difference in mentorship and leadership in the British Columbia wine trade. This year’s winner is Chris Turyk, Sales & Marketing Director, Unsworth Vineyards.

Chris helped found Unsworth Vineyards with his father, Tim. He has been involved in all aspects of the business from identifying vineyard sites to his current role directing marketing and sales. Chris has a deep passion for food, wine and agriculture with credentials and experience in all three areas. Chris sits on the board of directors for CAPS-BC and WGBC, and sits on committees with the BCHF and UBC Wine Research Centre. Currently Chris is enrolled in the Master of Wine Study Programme, which occupies the rest of the day when he isn’t working or walking his dog, Beau.

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, Bryant Mao, Iain Philip, and Maude Renaud-Brisson. The top restaurants were awarded Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, or commended with an Honourable Mention.


Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
Hawksworth Restaurant

Bar Gobo
CinCin Ristorante + Bar
Dachi – Community Hero
Elephant – Best New Entry
Published on Main
Yuwa Japanese Cuisine

Burdock & Co
Savio Volpe

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House
Tap Urban Cafe

Honourable Mention
Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio, Ambleside


Alta Bistro

Bearfoot Bistro
Il Caminetto

Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar
Wild Blue Restaurant + Bar


The Courtney Room

10 Acres at the Pier
Fathom, Hotel Grand Pacific

Honourable Mention
Boom + Batten


Major Tom Bar (Calgary)
RGE RD (Edmonton)

Stay in Touch:
For more information, go to VanWineFest.ca
Twitter: follow @VanWineFest for festival announcements, including e-news, media releases, and sold-out events. Join the conversation at #VIWF.
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The three-day 10-event Trade Days is the wine business component of the Vancouver International Wine Festival. 2023 events include masterclasses and seminars sponsored by Wines of BC and California Wines; Principals Welcome Lunch, presented by Hillebrand Gori; Celebrating Excellence: 19th Annual Awards Lunch Featuring South America, presented by ContainerWorld; B; and two Trade Tastings, presented by ContainerWorld. Other Trade Days sponsors and partners include information technology company ITS Consulting Inc and the UBC Wine Research Centre; as well as the participating event wineries. Trade Days extends special thanks to the Import Vintners & Spirits Association, Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, and BC Hospitality Foundation.

Canada’s premier wine show marks its 44th edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from April 22-30, 2023. The festival is showcasing 147 wineries from 17 countries, featured in 36 events over eight days. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, presented by National Bank Private Banking 1859, is the main fundraising event of the festival and kicked off the festival on Saturday, April 22 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Trade Days takes place Wednesday, April 26-Friday, April 28. The festival is consistently ranked the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash. 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 nearly $9.9 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 Vancouver International Wine Festival gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia. The 45th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival will take place February 24-March 3, 2024, featuring Italy.

Bard on the Beach was established in 1990 with a mandate to provide Vancouver residents and tourists with affordable, accessible Shakespearean productions of the finest quality. Begun as an Equity Co-op, Bard is now a fully professional company engaging hundreds of talented artists, artisans, technicians and year-round administrators. Bard’s primary focus is its annual festival in Vanier Park/Sen?á?w, which annually attracts over 100,000 people. Bard’s other key elements include education and training initiatives for both the artistic community and the general community at large.

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