03/17/2015 01:06 EDT | Updated 05/17/2015 05:12 EDT

Montreal sommelier swirls way to national title; represents Canada at world event

TORONTO - Elyse Lambert of Maison Boulud at Montreal's Ritz Carlton has won the Canada's Best Sommelier award.

Steven Robinson of Ottawa's Atelier Restaurant came second in the recent competition, held by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and Wine Country Ontario.

In third place was Carl Villeneuve Lepage of Toque! in Montreal.

Contestants completed an exam that included components of service, theory and tasting and then performed in front of their peers and members of the public at Montecito restaurant in Toronto.

Judges were master sommelier John Szabo, principal critic of WineAlign; master sommelier Geoff Kruth, CEO for the Guild of Sommeliers; and Ricardo Grellet, founder and vice-president of the National Association of Sommeliers of Chile. Magdalena Kaiser of Wine Country Ontario was a guest judge.

Lambert will represent Canada at the Association Sommellerie Internationale World's Best Sommelier competition in Mendoza, Argentina, in 2016. A previous win disqualifies her from the Pan-American Sommelier Alliance competition slated for April 20-25 in Chile, leaving an opening for Robinson and Villeneuve Lepage to go.

Previous national champion Veronique Rivest went on to win second place at the 2013 World's Best Sommelier competition, which takes place every three years.