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Four Whistler restaurants honoured at wine festival

Eateries recognized for outstanding wine lists

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Araxi and the Rimrock are celebrating after each received a prestigious award for their wine lists.

The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival announced the two Whistler restaurants were given gold level awards for the lists.

Restaurants submitted their wine and menu lists to the award organizers and then judges followed up by visiting the outlets to review their programs.

The judges recognized the restaurants for creating wine lists that complement the establishment's unique menu and concept.

The Rimrock Café has received this honour in the past. The restaurant at Whistler's Creekside was honoured with gold awards last year and in 2008. In 2009 the Rimrock received a silver award.

Bob Dawson from the Rimrock said awards like this are good for a restaurant.

"It's great for the staff and for the customers to know we have a wine program that's recognized by such a prestigious wine festival," said Dawson.

He said awards like the one presented by the international festival organizers allows customers to know the wine program at his café is suitable for fine dining.

According to Dawson, there are many different philosophies when it comes to creating a wine list.

"Some restaurants just focus on British Columbia wines and some focus strongly on Italian wines if they are Italian restaurants," he said. Being in Whistler he said he feels it is best to have an international wine list because guests come from all over the world and they expect an eclectic wine list.

Samantha Rahn, the Wine Director at Araxi Restaurant and Bar, said after the awards were announced, that the recognition for Araxi is the result of teamwork within the Top Table Group of restaurants. She said Andrea Vescovi of Blue Water Cafe and Owen Knowlton from West work together.

"Owen, Andrea and I work as a team to ensure that our wine lists are always approachable and in harmony with our food menus," said Rahn. "The sum of what we learn from each other, our suppliers and our travels is what we are passionate about passing on to our guests."

Vescovi was named Sommelier of the Year in 2009 and Knowlton received the same honour last year. The awards were handed out at the 9th Annual Awards Lunch on Friday in Vancouver.

Honourable mentions were given to Ric's Grill and The Grill Room at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler as well.

The international wine festival took place Monday through Sunday at various locations in Vancouver with speaking events, seminars, tasting events, minglers and a number of other events. This year the festival's regional theme was the Wines of Chile and the global focus was on Cabernets.

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