NEW: Wine Professional Challenge News

»Return to news listings
This year the Art Institute of Vancouver Wine Professional Challenge (formerly the Sommelier Challenge) will be held on Tuesday 21st February as part of 2012 Playhouse International Wine Festival. This is currently the only annual competition in Vancouver for sommeliers and wine professionals. The winner will be presented with the Puddifoot Award by Mr. John Puddifoot at the '9th Annual Awards Lunch: Celebrating Excellence' event on Friday, March 2nd. The winner will also receive a Trade Super Pass to the Playhouse International Wine Festival for 2013.

Event Details:

Date: Tuesday, 21st February, 2012
Registration: 6.00 pm - 6.15 pm
Competition Start: 6:15 pm
Finish: 8:00 pm
Judging: 8:00 pm - 9:00 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 3 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 Friday, February 17th, 2012to:
  • or call 778 373 9022

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)
DJ Kearney (International Sommelier Guild)
Mark Shipway AIWS (The International Culinary School)

Previous Sommelier Challenge winners:

2011 Jay Whiteley (Hawksworth)              
2010 Sandy Hamilton (The Cannery)
2009 Keith Nicholson (Le Crocodile)
2008 Chris Giroux (Bacchus at the Wedgewood Hotel)
2006 Kimberley Hall (The Fairmont Waterfront)
2005 Pamela Cohen (International Sommelier Guild)