Taste Victoria: Wine List & Sommelier of the Year Awards

At yesterday’s Trade Event for Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine, the inaugural wine list awards and sommelier of the year awards were presented. Applications were numerous and wide-ranging, the criteria was detailed and specific, and judges entered into numerous debates in determining the winners. The awards were judged over the past month by top industry professionals including DJ Kearney, Gary Hynes, John Schreiner, Mark Shipway, Pamela Sanderson, Sharon McLean, Tim Pawsey and Treve Ring.

sponsored by EAT Magazine


Most Diner Friendly Wine Menu   :   Zambri’s

Judges looked for a wine list that is approachable and easy for diners to understand. It has an innovative design that complements the restaurant’s theme, clear organization and no-nonsense descriptions. The list should not be intimidating. Well trained staff that can answer questions is the final step in ensuring diners can feel confident about making their wine selection at Zambri’s.
Honourable Mentions: Nautical Nellies, Butchart Gardens, Galiano Inn


Best Showcase of Island Wines   :  Butchart Gardens Dining Room Restaurant

This award recognizes the wine list that best showcases the wines of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. It has a diversity of producers, styles and price points – and innovative pairing with the restaurant’s menu.  Butchart Gardens’ commitment to staff training is an integral part of educating diners and building awareness.
Honourable Mentions: Galiano Inn


Best Overall Wine Program  :  Zambri’s
This closely contended award had the judges deliberating for a lengthy time. In the end, Zambri’s stood in front to take the top prize. Their wine list offers a fabulous selection of quality producers that complements the menu in price, size and style. The wine program is innovative and promotes wine knowledge and appreciation through by the glass offerings, seasonal features and wine dinners. Zambri’s also demonstrates a strong commitment to staff education and has qualified wine professionals on staff led by sommelier, Frances Sidhe.
Honourable Mentions: Butchart Gardens, Galiano Inn, Nautical Nellies, Empress Room


sponsored by Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

This award recognizes the top sommelier on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands who is passionate, professional, knowledgeable, approachable and committed to building a vibrant wine culture. This person works the floor, interacting with guests and staff on a daily basis. The recipient was also required to be certified by an accredited sommelier program, and continuing to take steps in furthering his or her wine education regularly.

The field was so tight that four candidates were shortlisted, and had to perform before and answer to a panel of wine professionals. Jacques Lacoste of Lure at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa impressed with his food and wine pairing principals, calm and friendly demeanor and willingness to contribute and further his knowledge.
Honourable Mentions: Rich Massey (Galiano Inn), Frances Sidhe (Zambri’s), Tatum Claypool (Markus’ Wharfside Restaurant)

Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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