After an intensive two-day competition alongside Canada’s top sommeliers, Carl Villeneuve-Lepage, sommelier, Restaurant Toqué!, Montreal, Quebec, has been named the Best Sommelier of Canada.
In addition to the title, Villeneuve-Lepage takes home close to $40,000 in prizes, including a personalized Vancouver Canucks jersey, trips to various points around the globe, $10,000 cash and $5,000 in wine.
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The national competition, presented by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS), was hosted for the first time in Vancouver by the CAPS BC Chapter on September 4-5, 2017.
Villeneuve-Lepage will now go on to represent Canada at the Best Sommelier of the Americas, to be held in Montreal, 2018, and has the right to compete for the chance to go to the Best Sommelier of the World competition in Belgium, 2019.
The second and third place sommeliers are Pier Alexis Souliere, Manresa Restaurant, Los Gatos California (from Quebec); and Steven Robinson, sommelier, Atelier Restaurant, Ottawa, Ontario.
While it was a vigorous competition, Villeneuve-Lepage demonstrated exceptional theoretical knowledge and wine service, which placed him first in the competition.
Villeneuve-Lepage, who is still taking in the magnitude of his title and all that comes with it, notes, “It was amazing – you never expect the title. You hope for it, and you are visualizing, but when it arrives,” he says, with a pause of emotion in his voice, “it’s perfect.”
Mark DeWolf, CAPS National president adds “Competitions, such as this, are demanding, and I would like to congratulate all the competitors for their dedication to their profession. These are not just the best sommeliers in Canada but some of the best sommeliers in the world.”
Also reacting to Villeneuve-Lepage’s win, CAPS BC president Michelle Bouffard remarked, “excellence never happens by accident.”
About The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers:
Established in 1989, the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) is a pan-Canadian association, which brings together individuals within the sommelier profession, restaurant services, and other sectors of the wine industry.
As a not-for-profit organization, CAPS aims to promote and educate the sommelier profession through professional development and networking events related to the wine and spirits industry. Visit: http://sommelierscanada.com/
All images courtesy of Scott Little