This is me! I’m a Vancouver-based freelance wine consultant, presenter and writer who received the Sommelier of the Year award from the 2010 Vancouver International Wine Festival. I also write the bios here on the site (I drew the short straw), drink plenty of coffee, wine and craft beer, and try to squeeze in a little yoga here and there. Certified by London’s Wine & Spirit Education Trust and having credit in the winemaking program at UC Davis, I’ve done a little bit of everything from being the subject of a Wine Enthusiast Magazine profile and appearing at New York’s James Beard House, to leading wine festival seminars and beyond.
With 15 years on the agency side of the wine business, Jeff’s motivation for starting Top Drop was to help smaller wineries and agencies make the most of their limited resources in this challenging industry. Ever the true entrepreneur, Jeff co-founded The Wine Syndicate which today is one of the top medium sized premium wine importers in Western Canada. When he’s not pounding pavement moving the product, Jeff is likely sailing, planning the next surf trip or spending time with his wife and 2 boys.
Jason Yamasaki, or “JY” as he’s known around the industry, is the Group Sommelier for the Joey Restaurant Group, and one of the nicest, most ambitious guys around. At Joey, crafts the wine vision for restaurants across Canada and the west coast of the United States. A lifelong hospitality professional from Vancouver, BC, Jason earned the title of British Columbia’s Best Sommelier in 2015 and competed in Canada’s Best Sommelier 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management, a vintage under his belt in Austria, and a background in casual to fine dining.
Lisa moved to Vancouver from Montreal just a few years ago, but we already can’t imagine the local wine industry without her. Gaining her wine and food-trade chops while attaining an English literature and creative writing degree from Concordia University, we first got to know her when she managed Vancouver’s Burdock & Co, and then as the opening Wine Director at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar where she won a Gold accolade for ‘Best New Entry’ at the 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival Wine List Awards. Now L’Abattoir’s Wine Director & Assistant General Manager, Lisa’s been integral to the growth of Top Drop Vancouver supporting us in numerous ways, some of which include excellent nuggets of advice and encouragement over latter evening drinks and industry revelry, along with everyone on this page.
Brian has been involved in the wine community in Vancouver since 2000, managing retail stores, acting in purchasing roles and working behind the scenes in various capacities. This is the 4th Top Drop he’s been involved with. He finished his ISG diploma in 2004. In his spare time, he travels to as many wine regions as he can, although seems to go back to Burgundy and Champagne as much as he can for some reason…
His desert wine is not a dessert wine. And generally doesn’t like those types of questions anyway…
…of course, there are many others behind the scenes who are integral to Top Drop Vancouver. Constant gratitude goes to Rhys Pender MW as part of the Winery Selection Committee, Dana Lee Harris on logistics, consular privilege and licensing, Anne Barrette handling design and brand management, Amy Watkins and Wendy Underwood at the reins of social media and communications, and so many more.