Sommelier Challenge News

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This year the Art Institute of Vancouver Sommelier Challenge will be held on Monday 16th March as part of 2009 Playhouse International Wine Festival. This highly successful event, currently in its fourth year, is unique in Vancouver in giving sommeliers & wine professionals a chance to compete for the Puddifoot Award.

The winner will be presented with the Puddifoot Award by Mr John Puddifoot at the Riedel in the Home: The Glory of The Glass event on Thursday, March 26th. The winner will also receive a Trade Super Pass to the Playhouse International Wine Festival for 2010.

Event Details:

Date: Monday, 16th March
Registration: 5:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Competition Start: 5:30 pm
Finish: 7:00 pm
Judging: 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Entry Guidelines and Information:

  • Entry to the competition is FREE
  • All entrants must be employed professionally in the wine industry in some capacity (e.g. retail, hospitality, production, agency).
  • Entrants must be 19 years of age or older
  • No one formal education style is preferred over another
  • This year competitors will be required to rotate around 5 judging stations. At each station, a competitor will be asked to talk for 2 minutes on a specified wine-related topic. Each station will represent a different subject area.
  • The judges’ decision is final.
  • Competition space is limited. All entrants must email the following information by Thursday, March 12th 2009 to: or call 604-683-9200 (ext3248)
    1 - Name
    2 - Telephone
    3 - E-mail address
    4 - Company name
    5 - Position
    6 - Wine Credentials (if held)
  • Organizers at The International Culinary School will create a shortlist and successful entrants will be contacted by email

The Puddifoot Award

  • Riedel Carafe
  • Engraved Challenge trophy
  • A bottle of vintage Port

This year’s judging panel:

Barbara Philip MW
Neil Ingram (Boneta Restaurant)
Michaela Morris AIWS (House Wine)
Stephen Bonner (ABV)
Mark Shipway AIWS (The International Culinary School)

Previous Sommelier Challenge winners:

2008    Chris Giroux (Bacchus at the Wedgewood Hotel)
2006    Kimberley Hall (The Fairmont Waterfront)
2005    Pamela Cohen (International Sommelier Guild)