Toptable Wine Directors News


CinCin Wine Director Appointed
Shane Taylor Joins Toptable Group Wine Team

Jack Evrensel, proprietor of Toptable Group, is delighted to announce the appointment of Shane Taylor as Wine Director at CinCin.

Shane brings an impressive résumé in service, having worked at the Relais Gourmand White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine as well as serving at Glenapp Castle and Chapter One, both Michelin-starred. In addition, he has achieved impressive accreditation in gaining both his WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits, as well as his Advanced Sommelier’s certificate from London’s Court of Sommeliers, one of the most senior and prestigious recognitions in the wine world. “We are thrilled to have him join our Toptable Group wine team,” Evrensel said.

A native of PEI, Taylor returned to Canada in 2005 to join Araxi in Whistler and then in 2008 became Assistant Wine Director of another sister restaurant, Blue Water Cafe.

“There’s a story in every bottle,” Taylor says, “and I like to share that with both my guests and our service personnel at CinCin. We are constantly searching out unique wines from around the world, especially those that show real value in the glass.”

Taylor’s appointment reflects more than three decades of wine excellence at Toptable Group restaurants. In addition to managing portfolios that number into the thousands of local and global labels, each venue also hosts acclaimed wine dinners throughout the year that marry the finest cuisine with carefully selected vintages.

Taylor joins one of Canada’s top collaborative wine teams—

Samantha Rahn at Araxi

With 15 years of hospitality experience, and formal training from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, Samantha is well known for procuring exciting, value-driven wines that complement Chef James Walt’s locally-based menus. At Araxi, staff wine programs are fundamental and Samantha holds wine tastings with her team every Friday. Samantha was recently awarded the 2013 Sommelier of the Year award from the Vancouver International Wine Festival, as well as the Gold Wine List award. Araxi has also consistently received Wine Spectator’s ‘Best of Award of Excellence’. And the ‘Big Guns’ wine dinner, which she and Chef Walt convene during Whistler’s annual Cornucopia food and wine festival, remains one of British Columbia’s most sought after culinary tickets.

Andrea Vescovi at Blue Water Cafe

Andrea has won many awards for his wine knowledge, including the Vancouver International Wine Festival’s 2009 Sommelier of the Year, and in 2013, the Platinum Wine List distinction for the sixth consecutive year. A frequent traveler to major wine regions across the world, Andrea leads his team to be consistently recognized with Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence. Like his Toptable colleagues, Andrea continuously educates his service staff, five of whom enjoy advanced certifications, including the 2007 Sommelier of the Year, Chris van Nus.

Owen Knowlton at West

Owen was the Vancouver International Wine Festival’s 2011 Sommelier of the Year, and West has consecutively been the recipient of the Gold Wine List Award, as well as the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence. Owen works closely with both Executive Chef Quang Dang and his fellow service staff to continuously heighten the dining experience at West. Part of his Sommelier of the Year Award saw him collaborate with Okanagan Crush Pad to produce ‘OWEN’—a unique, limited release Cabernet Franc. Owen continues to educate and lead the service team at West while managing his impressive portfolio and co-hosting numerous wine dinners.
We look forward to sharing our plans for our autumn wine dinners with you shortly!


Lynn Gervais
Communications Director
Toptable Group
604 836 8005

April Penney
Communications Coordinator
Toptable Group
604 786 0540