Wine Director, IL Caminetto

Leagh Barkley

Sommelier, professor, wine merchant, bartender/mixologist and musician. Born and raised in British Columbia, Canada where my first experiences in wine and the hospitality industry began after having studied Classical Trumpet at the Vancouver Academy of Music. Next in Italy then to France where I settled in Bordeaux in 2012 and lived until 2018. Sommelier at Pierre Gagnaire’s La Grande Maison (2 Michelin stars) and Professor at CAFA International Sommelier school in 2016 and 2015 respectively, and most recently Chef Sommelier at Le Chapon Fin since 2017. First prize winner at the Bordeaux Sommelier Competition (Exp’Hotel, Bordeaux 2017), first Canadian to earn the ASI International Sommelier Diploma (Paris 2018), Top Three Best Restaurant Wine Lists in France for the list I built at Le Chapon Fin (Terre de Vins, Paris 2018) and one of five finalists for the Master of Port competition (IVDP, Porto 2018) Finals to be held in Toronto, Canada in 2019.
I have just accepted the position of Wine Director for Top Table’s “Il Caminetto” Italian fine dining restaurant in Whistler, BC.
If it helps, here are recent portraits of me:

Magazine article: CALAMEO.COM
Radio interiew: francebleu.fr


What excites you about the Sommelier industry/community?

Thanks to technology, travel and social media, the world is growing smaller and smaller. This makes exchanging with other Sommeliers around the world much easier than before. Today it is no longer a question of regional or national communities but about one international community. By sharing our passion and our knowledge for wine and hospitality, we all improve together with the end goal of bringing the best possible guest experiences.
At the same time, the world of wine is growing at an exponential rate with more and more countries producing wines of increasing quality. We need to continue to build this international community to be able to keep up with the changes and teach each other.

Why does continuous education in the wine industry matter to you?

Speaking from a personal standpoint, it is easy to settle into a routine and stagnate. To stay current in this quickly evolving industry, setting goals and pursuing challenges keeps us on point. Continuous education, training (both group and personal), exams and competitions give Sommeliers motivation to push forward, to continue to improve. This comes back to improving the experience we can bring to our guests.