The Top-Tier Sommelier – Leagh Barkley
Leagh Barkley of Whistler’s Il Caminetto named one of British Columbia’s top three sommeliers.
Canada is fortunate to have many outstanding achievers in so many different professions, all world-class in their respective fields. Then there is Leagh Barkley of British Columbia, who already personifies excellence in several skilled disciplines and who has been named one of the top three sommeliers in the province.
Barkley is the wine director for Toptable Group’s Il Caminetto Italian fine dining restaurant in Whistler, and recently made the podium from a distinguished list of a dozen contestants at the B.C. Sommelier of the Year competition, hosted by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS).
“I am thrilled to be part of this incredible community,” says Barkley on receiving the honour. “It is so rewarding to be acknowledged amongst my passionate peers and colleagues, and I feel very fortunate to share what I love with so many people and hopefully inspire others about the world of wine.”
Accomplishments have been many for the still relatively young Barkley. Not only is he a leading sommelier, but he is also a professor, wine merchant, bartender/mixologist and even a classical musician, having studied classical trumpet at the Vancouver Academy of Music.
His restaurant apprenticing took him first to Italy, then to France where he settled and lived in Bordeaux from 2012 to 2018, rising to sommelier at some of France’s most notable bistros and Michelin-starred restaurants. He won the Bordeaux Sommelier Competition in 2017 and was the first Canadian to earn the International ASI Sommelier Diploma in Paris in 2018. He also was honoured with one of the Top Three Best Restaurant Wine Lists for the list he built at Le Chapon Fin (according to Terre de Vins magazine in 2018). He is also one of the five finalists for the Master of Port competition finals, to be held in Toronto this year. The B.C. Sommelier of the Year is determined by a comprehensive skill set competition which includes a written exam and hands-on practical tests that challenge the contestants on their know-how of sparkling wines, red wine decanting, food and wine pairings, menu writing and blind tastings of cocktails and wines.
For Leagh Barkley, it was another accomplishment to add to an already impressive list as another Canadian who is making their mark in the world.