West Restaurant wine director Owen Knowlton was named the “2011 Sommelier of the Year” today at the 8th Annual Awards Lunch convened during the 33rd annual Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.
Part of West’s management team since 2005, Owen has worked to build the restaurant’s diverse cellar that now comprises some 700 labels, widely recognized as one of Canada’s finest.
Top Table proprietor Jack Evrensel commented, “I’m very proud of Owen. He has a nuanced palate and deep wine knowledge, but it’s his ability to gently translate both that creates memorable experiences for our guests.”
Owen will also be honoured at the annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards on April 12th.
Wine List Awards
Also announced during the ceremony, were repeated successes for Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin and West when each restaurant was called to the podium in recognition of establishing four of Western Canada’s leading wine programs.
Blue Water Cafe and West were the only two restaurants awarded with the highest Platinum Wine List Award. CinCin and Araxi were each among a distinguished group of seven restaurants to win the Gold and Silver designations, respectively.
A panel of judges reviewed wine list submissions throughout British Columbia and Alberta, evaluating presentation and format, harmony with the menu, balanced varietal and style selections, and vintage depth. Each restaurant’s in-house wine program—comprising staff knowledge, storage, presentation and glassware—was also adjudicated.
“It’s a great feeling when our work is recognized,” said Blue Water Cafe wine director Andrea Vescovi (himself a Sommelier of the Year award recipient in 2009).
“It’s a tribute to my colleagues as individuals,” said Araxi wine director Samantha Rahn, “but also to our continuous collaboration.”
CinCin wine director Sarah McCauley agreed, adding, “These awards are all about the team. We have diverse tastes, and differing menus to match, but we all benefit from working closely together, and we like to think that our guests do too.”
Top Table’s wine libraries are also perennial recipients of the ‘Best of’ Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine.
‘Director’s Blend’ Special Wine Release Coming Soon
Speaking to the power of the Wine Directors’ collaborative, in close partnership with winemaker David Enns of Laughing Stock Vineyards, Top Table will soon present its Director’s Blend wines—available exclusively in each of our restaurants later this Spring.
A number of trips to the Naramata Bench have resulted “in deeply pleasing red and white blends that are true to the Okanagan,” said West wine director Owen Knowlton on behalf of his colleagues. “We have designed these food-friendly wines to be price-friendly too,” he added. “We think they’re terrific.”
Top Table is one of the most highly respected hospitality groups in Canada, encompassing four leading restaurants in Vancouver and Whistler: Araxi, CinCin, Blue Water Cafe and West, as well as the highly anticipated atelier, ‘thierry’ (Spring 2011). Continuing to evolve in the pursuit of excellence, each venue has received significant critical acclaim, both locally and internationally. For more information, visit www.toptable.ca.