The 17th annual Celebrating Excellence Awards Lunch at the Vancouver International Wine Festival was more than a recognition of great wine lists and industry stars.
It was a celebration of community: the wider community of wine, of course, but specifically BC’s uniquely supportive community of sommeliers, servers, educators, buyers, agents, producers, journalists and marketers.
And no one exemplifies that more than this year’s Spirited Industry Professional: Dana Lee Harris.
The annual Spirited Industry Professional Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia. Harris has all of that and more.
Presenter DJ Kearney described her as “a doer, a leader, and a mentor to many.”
“We’re so lucky to work in this business,” a tearful Harris said. “I’m so glad I can call so many of you my friends.”
After many years in wine sales and management, 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.
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’s winner, Peter Van de Reep, wine director & bar manager, Campagnolo Restaurant, was selected through a hands-on competition organized by the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. As Sommelier of the Year, Peter receives Delta Air Lines vouchers valued at $2,000 USD from the festival.
“I guess I can no longer call myself a bartender,” Van de Reep said. “As servers and sommeliers, it’s all about hospitality and I love to serve people every day in my bar.”
Peter Van de Reep is the wine director and bar manager of Upstairs @ Campagnolo and Campagnolo Restaurant. Peter started with the company in 2012 at Campagnolo Roma after working for Elysian Coffee and completing studies in Geology at the University of British Columbia. He is a certified sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and is writing his advanced examination with the CMS later this year. He is easily plied with amaro, Champagne and Riesling.
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, Martha McAvity, Iain Philip, and Jason Yamasaki. 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.
Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
CinCin Ristorante + Bar
Yuwa Japanese Cuisine – Best Food & Wine Pairing
Burdock & Co.
Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House
Piva Modern Italian
VV Tapas Lounge
Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar
Basalt Wine & Salumeria
Agrius Restaurant (Victoria)
The Pacific Restaurant at the Hotel Grand Pacific (Victoria)
Alpina Restaurant at the Villa Eyrie Resort (Malahat)
10 Acres The Commons (Victoria)
Bard & Banker (Victoria)
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort (Great Bear Rainforest)
Vin Room YYC Airport (Calgary)
For more information, go to VanWineFest.ca
@ Vitis Magazine