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Column: Vancouver’s wine industry honours their stars

If shopping for wine can be an intimidating experience, choosing a wine in a restaurant is even more of a frightening experience. That is why a sommelier can be your friend.

If shopping for wine can be an intimidating experience, choosing a wine in a restaurant is even more of a frightening experience. That is why a sommelier can be your friend. 

Sommeliers are the wine servers who have a passion for wine and food and their job is to assist you in a non-intimidating way in choosing the right wine for you once you decide on your meal. And they provide exceptional service in delivering the wine you’ve chosen and making sure your all of your wine needs are met and that your confidence level is boosted.

In short, sommeliers play a significant role in making sure the customer has a positive experience with a restaurant’s wine and food. And to honour the importance of sommeliers, the Vancouver Wine Festival gives out their annual Sommelier of the Year Award.

This year, the award went to Peter Van de Reep, wine director & bar manager at Campagnolo Restaurant. Van de Reep is a certified sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. As the Sommelier of the Year, he received Delta Air Lines vouchers valued at $2,000 USD from the festival

Speaking of wine and food, there are also several Wine Program Excellence awards.These awards recognize restaurants in B.C. and Alberta that create wine lists which complement their unique menu and concept. Candidates submitted their wine lists and menus, and were then visited by judges who reviewed their programs. The Wine Program Excellence Awards are sponsored by Vancouver Magazine.

Here are the winners for Metro Vancouver:

Platinum: L’Abattoir, AnnaLena, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, Chambar, CinCin Ristorante + Bar, Hawksworth Restaurant, Nightingale.

GoldCaptains Room, Le Crocodile, Elisa, Ugly Dumpling,Yuwa Japanese Cuisine – Best Food & Wine Pairing.

SilverBurdock & Co., dachi, Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House, PiDGiN,
Savio Volpe, Wildebeest.

Bronze: Feast, Forage, Minami Restaurant, Piva Modern Italian,
VV Tapas Lounge.

The final award, the 2020 Spirited Industry Professional, is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia. The 15th annual award went to Dana Lee Harris.

After many years in wine sales and management, Dana Lee Harris started her own consulting business in 2005, bringing her skills and experience in public relations, marketing and event management to organizations in the food and wine industry. She has also volunteered much of her time as a board member of the BC Hospitality Foundation, as a member of the BC chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, and as a fitness instructor of the YMCA. She is currently Executive Director of the BC Hospitality Foundation.

As a retired teacher, I must recommend some homework. Go to Campagnolo Restaurant at 1020 Main Street in Vancouver and discover why Peter van de Reep was voted the best Sommelierin town. You might also visit at least one of the Wine Program Excellence Award winners I listed above. Enjoy!

Eric Hanson is a life-long Richmond resident, retired teacher and wine educator. Eric has also taught wine appreciation courses in Richmond and throughout Metro Vancouver for many years. He continues to be a journalistic ambassador for the enchanting world of wine through his weekly column.