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Carl Lepage-Villeneuve, Best Sommelier of Canada 2017


Pier Alexis Souliere, Carl Lepage-Villeneuve et Steven Robinson

After an intensive two-day competition alongside Canada’s top sommeliers, Carl Lepage-Villeneuve, sommelier, Restaurant Toque!, Montreal, Quebec, has been named the Best Sommelier of Canada.

The runner-up sommeliers are Pier Alexis Souliere, Manresa Restaurant, Los Gatos California (from Quebec); and Steven Robinson, sommelier, Atelier Restaurant, Ottawa, Ontario.

The national competition, presented by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS), was hosted for the first time ever by the CAPS BC Chapter in Vancouver at Rogers Arena on September 5, 2017.

The three finalists were short listed after competing against six of their peers September 4 with a written exam and blind tasting; and then the following day, each was challenged with a practical examination that had them making cocktails, decanting and serving wine, and performing a live blind tasting, all as error-free as possible.

It was a high pressure, stress-inducing situation for each of the three finalists, as a capacity crowd of 150 trade and public attended to watch. Additionally, the event was live streamed, and several viewing parties took place in cities across the country.

The winning title was announced later on the evening of September 5 at Victoria Chinese Restaurant, where 150 members of the wine and food community in Vancouver attended to show their support for the profession.

Villeneuve will represent Canada at the Best Sommelier of the America’s 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.

In addition to the title, Villeneuve-Lepage takes home close to $40,000 in prizes, including trips, gifts and a $10,000 cash prize.


The winners

1/ The Best Sommelier of Canada:
Carl Lepage-Villeneuve, Restaurant Toque!, Montreal, Quebec
2/ Pier Alexis Souliere, Manresa Restaurant, CA
3/ Steven Robinson, sommelier, Atelier Restaurant, Ottawa, Ontario

The Judges

Pascaline Lepeltier, Master Sommelier, New York, United States
Véronique Rivest (2nd place at the World’s Best Sommelier competition, in 2013)
John Szabo, Master Sommelier, Ontario, Canada

All the competitors

Shane Taylor, Wine director, Cin Cin Ristorante + Bar
Alistair Veen, Chef & owner, Tap Restaurant
Jason Yamasaki, Group sommelier, Joey Wine Group

Domar Rafael, Food & beverage manager, The Manitoba Club

Emily Pearce Bibona, Sommelier, The York Club
Steven Robinson, Sommelier, Atelier Restaurant

Carl LePage Villeneuve, Sommelier, Restaurant Toque
Pier Alexis Souliere, Sommelier, Manresa Restaurant

Lesley Quinn, Sommelier, Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar