Wine Culture Magazine

DJ Kearney. Christine McAvoy photo

The Vancouver International Wine festival is more than an opportunity to taste hundreds of wines from around the world. It’s also a chance to recognize those who are elevating wine professionalism right here at home. Here are the top winners of the trade days competitions, announced on March 1 at the 16th Annual Awards Lunch.

Spirited Industry Professional

The standing O went on, and on, and on, when DJ Kearney was named the 14th recipient of this prestigious award for an individual who has made a significant contribution to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia. Kearney is one of B.C.’s most passionate advocates for wine culture, an instructor, writer, consultant, judge, critic and former chef. She has been vice-president of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (B.C. Chapter), a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, the technical director for the best sommelier of both B.C. and Canada competitions, and most recently was the curator of the Judgment of B.C.

Sommelier of the Year

Matthew Landry. Christine McAvoy photo

Matthew Landry, general manager/beverage director at The Stable House Bistro, took home this hard-fought title after a hands-on competition organized by the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. Previously, Landry had earned his sommelier certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers, finished the WSET Level 3 Advanced, and completed the French and Italian Wine Scholar programs. As Sommelier of the Year, Matthew receives Delta Air Lines vouchers valued at US $2,000 from the festival.

Wine Program Excellence

Also known as the wine list awards, these recognize the best food-and-wine pairings at  restaurants throughout British Columbia and Alberta. This year saw seven platinum award winners, all from Vancouver: L’Abattoir, AnnaLena, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, Chambar, CinCin Ristorante + Bar, Hawksworth Restaurant and Nightingale. For the full list of winners and honourable mentions, as well as all other festival news, go to

The 2020 edition of the Vancouver International Wine Festival takes place February 22 to March 1, with France as the feature country and, of course, Bard on the Beach as its charitable partner. See you all there!

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