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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VANWINEFEST ANNOUNCES 2015 TRADE COMPETITION AWARD WINNERS

February 27, 2015, Vancouver, BC —The Vancouver International Wine Festival, presented by The Vancouver Sun, announced this year’s trade competition winners on Friday, February 27 at Celebrating Excellence: The 12th Annual Awards Lunch, featuring Award-Winning Australian Wines. Sponsored by ContainerWorld, the Celebrating Excellence program honours those professionals who contribute to our region’s exceptional wine and food culture. Guests enjoyed a meal prepared by Vancouver Convention Centre executive chef Blair Rasmussen, showcasing Australia’s culinary evolution and fusion trends, and toasted trade competition winners with a stunning line-up of highly scored Australian wines.

SPIRITED INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL (SIP) AWARD
The Spirited Industry Professional Award honours an individual who makes significant contributions to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia. The ninth annual SIP Award goes to industry veteran Howard Soon.

Howard Soon, a born and raised Vancouverite, has been a trailblazer in the wine business for 35 years beginning with Andres Wines, then Calona Vineyards, and for the last several years as head winemaker at Sandhill Estate Wines. An enthusiastic mentor to other winemakers, Howard has also selflessly shared countless nuggets of knowledge to others in the industry. He is one of a select group of certified wine educators in Canada and has served on the panels of several major wine competitions in Canada and the US. Howard has an impressive series of firsts to his credit: the first BC winemaker to release a series of single vineyard designated wines, the first to produce a Super Tuscan blend and the first to receive Red, White and Winery of the Year at the Canadian Wine Awards in 2009.

SOMMELIER OF THE YEAR AWARD
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, the winner was selected through a hands-on competition organized by the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). On November 3, 2014, Jason Yamasaki was recognized by CAPS as the “Best Sommelier in BC” and the VIWF Sommelier of the Year. Jason will now represent British Columbia in the “Best Sommelier in Canada” competition in Ontario in the spring of 2015, and could potentially represent Canada at the world competition.

Jason Yamasaki proudly declares his vision to be one of the world’s top sommeliers began before his first job. While completing a Bachelor's Degree of Hospitality Management, he absorbed a wealth of industry experience at some of Vancouver's most storied establishments. In 2008, eager for perspective beyond Vancouver, Jason joined the team at the Michelin-starred Avenues Restaurant in The Peninsula Chicago. Upon returning to Vancouver, Jason teamed up with Chambar, where he powered through virtually every dining room position while completing his formal wine education through the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. He also fortified his passion for the vine by joining Austria's Heidi Schrock for the 2011 vintage.


WINE PROGRAM EXCELLENCE AWARDS
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, Iain Philip, Treve Ring, and Terry Threlfall. 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.

METRO VANCOUVER
Platinum
Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar – Consistent Excellence
Chambar
Hawksworth Restaurant  

Gold
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar – Best New Entry, Vancouver
Burdock & Co
CinCin – Greatest Gains 
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca
Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar
Provence Marinaside/The Wine Bar
Zest Japanese Cuisine  

Silver
Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar
Edible Canada at the Market
Homer St. Café and Bar
Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House
My Shanti
Nicli Antica Pizzeria
PiDGiN
Tableau Bar Bistro
West Restaurant  

Bronze
Fable Kitchen
Farmer’s Apprentice Restaurant
Forage
LIFT Bar Grill View
Salt Tasting Room
YEW seafood + bar  

Honourable Mention
The Fish House in Stanley Park
Tap Restaurant
Tramonto at River Rock Casino Resort
Via Tevere  

WHISTLER
Gold
Alta Bistro  

Silver
Araxi Restaurant + Bar
Rimrock Cafe  

VANCOUVER ISLAND
Silver
Little Jumbo Restaurant & Bar (Victoria)
Wolf in the Fog (Tofino) – Best New Entry, Vancouver Island  

Honourable Mention
AURA Waterfront Restaurant + Patio, Inn at Laurel Point (Victoria)
Grand Cru Restaurant and Lounge, Grand Hotel (Nanaimo)
The Pacific Restaurant & Terrace, Hotel Grand Pacific (Victoria)  

BC INTERIOR
Gold
Emerald Lake Lodge (Field)  

Honourable Mention
Watermark Wine & Tapas Bar, Watermark Beach Resort (Osoyoos)  

ALBERTA
Platinum
Cilantro (Calgary)
Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro (Calgary)
Vin Room Mission (Calgary)
Vin Room West (Calgary)  

Gold
Buffalo Mountain Lodge (Banff)
Deer Lodge (Lake Louise)
The Lake House (Calgary)  

Honourable Mention
Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse (Edmonton)


ABOUT VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL, PRESENTED BY THE VANCOUVER SUN
Canada’s premier wine show marks its 37th edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 20 to March 1, 2015, featuring Australia as the theme country and Syrah+Shiraz as the global focus. The festival will showcase 170 wineries from 14 countries (including 55 wineries from Australia) pouring 1,750+ wines at 53 events to a projected 25,000 admissions. The Acura Tasting Room features all 170 participating wineries, pouring 770+ wines over six sessions, February 26-28. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction opened the festival on Friday, February 20 at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. 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 1979, the festival has raised $8.3 million for the performing arts. Major partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. For more information go to VanWineFest.ca.


 



ABOUT BARD ON THE BEACH SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Celebrating its 26th season in 2015, 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. The Festival offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas and several special events in two performance tents every June through September. In 2014, festival attendance exceeded 100,000 and almost 1.5 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception. The Festival’s 2015 dates are June 4 to September 26. The 2015 lineup features The Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Love’s Labour’s Lost and the world premiere of C.C. Humphreys’ Shakespeare’s Rebel.

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Media Contact:
Nicola Humphrey
Heth PR
778-885-6683 
Nicola@hethpr.com



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