Presenting Our 2016 Sommelier Scholarship Winners

The BC Hospitality Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of our 2016 Sommelier Scholarships, presented at the Vancouver International Wine Festival’s “Celebrating Excellence: The 13th Annual Awards Lunch”, on Friday, February 25.

The three winners are Christina Hartigan (AnnaLena Restaurant), Sean Nelson (Vij’s Restaurant), and Jayton Paul (Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar). Sponsored by Okanagan Crush Pad and Authentic Wine & Spirits Merchants, each winner receives $1000 towards furthering their studies in beverage alcohol programs.

About the winners:

Christina Hartigan 2016Christina Hartigan is currently the sommelier at AnnaLena Restaurant in Kitsilano and a trip planner for Into the Vineyard, a wine tourism company. After working at a winery during harvest in Burgundy, she developed a keen interest in all things wine. Fascinated by wine at every stage of production, from vine to glass, she enrolled in the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) program. She has since completed the French Wine Scholar program, the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory level and is a WSET Diploma candidate. She looks forward to continuing her studies through both the WSET and the Court of Master Sommeliers, and greatly appreciates the support of the BC Hospitality Foundation in her wine studies.


Sean Nelson 2016Sean Nelson started in the hospitality industry at The Keg at the age of 17 and has never looked back. He began studying wine in a more serious manner in 2012. He completed his WSET 2 and 3 before heading to Australia to explore its wine regions first hand. He is currently the sommelier of Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver. He is certified from the Court of Master Sommeliers and has received his French Wine Scholar designation. Sean will be challenging the Advanced Sommelier Exam this April and looks forward to challenging the Master Sommelier Exam in the future. The BC Hospitality Foundation Scholarship will be put towards his Advanced Sommelier Course and Exam this spring. He offers, “Having the support of the BCHF is so helpful, financially as well as mentally, having the industry at my back as I charge forward.”


Jayton Paul 2016Jayton Paul got into wine quite recently. Only four years ago he found himself being put to work at a boutique winery on a small island off the coast of New Zealand. When he returned to Canada, he packed up the possessions from his home in Jasper and moved out west to afford himself the best possible opportunity to further his education in wine. He has since been guided under the ever-watching eyes of one of Canada’s most acclaimed bartenders, Lauren Mote, and master sommelier candidate Robert Stelmachuk at Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar, where he is now lead bartender and sommelier. Jayton is nearing completion of his WSET Diploma and will be writing his Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced exam later this year. He says, “I’d like to give a massive thank you to the BC Hospitality Foundation for the scholarship, which will allow me to finish my WSET diploma, and perhaps take a trip to the interior this year to help with the wine grape harvest.”

Three cheers to our talented and deserving winners.

Since 2009, the BCHF has given $154,000 in scholarships to 116 students across British Columbia.

For more about the BC Hospitality Foundation scholarship program, click HERE.