‘I think I was kind of born into it’: Jasperite recognized as Sommelier of the Year
Peter Shokeir | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jasper-raised Jayton Paul was named Sommelier of the Year at the 2022 Vancouver International Wine Festival earlier this year.
Paul is currently the acting wine director at Published on Main in Vancouver, B.C.
“Since working in Vancouver, I’ve worked in a couple different kinds of establishments, but over the last little bit, it’s kind of taken a whole other level,” Paul said.
Paul also won the Best Sommelier of British Columbia 2022 competition hosted by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and will be competing for Best Sommelier Canada next year.
In addition, his restaurant was recently awarded the number-one spot in this year’s Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants.
“It’s been pretty insane just to think about the amount of influx of guests nationally and internationally,” Paul said.
“We’re sold out months in advance. We just released our availability and our books for September and we’re already sold out, so to be locked out until October is pretty crazy, and there’s just no stopping right now.”
Growing up in Jasper, with his parents still residing in town, Paul had plenty of opportunities to get experience in the restaurant industry.
During his preteens, Paul made some money breaking down cardboard boxes in the back of Jasper Liquor and Wine Cellar.
He also worked in a number of restaurants, setting plates and buffing tables at Cassio’s, delivering pizzas for NorthFace Pizza and bartending at the Jasper Brewpub.
“I think I was kind of born into it,” Paul said.
In 2012, he travelled across New Zealand where he found work at several wineries, “fell in love with getting his hands dirty” and got a passion for fine wine.
Paul’s favourite part of being a sommelier, or wine steward, was being able to help out people while also tasting what the world has to offer.
“There’s never been a better time to drink wine in our entire existence than right now,” he said.
“We have technology that has reached a point where we have an opportunity to have the cleanest wine, the best readily-available wine, the best it could be made in the most efficient way possible.”
The wine industry is also striving towards having sustainable and ethical growing patterns as well as becoming less elitist and more inclusive.
Anyone looking to get into wine should listen to the experts.
“There’s a lot of professionals out there who know what they’re talking about, whether it’s at your local liquor store or at a restaurant,” Paul said.
“I think people are very stuck in their own understanding of what wine should be. Some people only like Chardonnay, some people will have anything but Chardonnay, things like that where I think being more open minded to the experience and letting people give you an opportunity to learn is one of the best parts.”