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. The 2016 winner received a trip for two to Italy, courtesy of the Vancouver International Wine Festival, Delta Air Lines and Trialto Wine Group Ltd.

2018 Sommelier of the Year
Sean Nelson, Vij’s

This year’s winner, Sean Nelson, sommelier at Vij’s, was selected through a hands-on competition organized by the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. Sean will represent British Columbia in the “Best Sommelier in Canada” competition. As Sommelier of the Year, Shane receives Delta Air Lines vouchers valued at $2,000 USD from the festival.

Sean grew up in Greater Vancouver and entered the hospitality industry at age 16 with a job at The Keg Steakhouse & Bar. After being bitten by the wine bug, he completed his WSET Intermediate and Advanced certification with Distinction. In 2013, he became a sommelier at Vij’s restaurant and began pursuing the Master Sommelier Diploma. He completed the Introductory Sommelier Certification with 100% on the examination and became Western Canada’s youngest Advanced Sommelier in 2016. He plans to sit the Master Sommelier Examination in 2019.

Past winners include:

  • Shane Taylor – (CinCin Ristorante + Bar – 2017)
  • Alistair Veen – (Tap Restaurant – 2016)
  • Jason Yamasaki – (Chambar – 2015)
  • Mike Bernardo – (Vij’s Group – 2014)
  • Samantha Rahn – (Araxi Restaurant – 2013)
  • Terry Threlfall – (Hawksworth – 2012)
  • Owen Knowlton – (West – 2011)
  • Kurtis Kolt – (Salt Tasting Room – 2010)
  • Andrea Vescovi – (Blue Water Café – 2009)
  • Neil Ingram (Boneta – 2008)
  • Chris Van Nus (Blue Water Café – 2007)
  • Sebastien Le Goff (CinCin Restaurant – 2006)
  • Tom Doughty (C Restaurant – 2005)
  • Mark Taylor (CRU Restaurant – 2004)
  • Barb Philip MW (Fish House and Cannery Restaurants – 2003)
  • Peter Bodnar Rod (C Restaurant – 2002)
  • Mark Davidson (The Beach House – 2001)
  • Brent Hayman (Raincity Grill – 2000)