Selection Committee Itinerary               Attendees             Partners        

Our prestigious wine selection committee is entrusted with the curation of the best BC wine for the weekend’s Masterclasses. 


Rhys Pender, Master of Wine, Wine Grower, Educator, Judge, Writer, Co-Owner Little Farm Winery

Rhys is a Master of Wine who combines his time writing, judging, teaching, consulting and dirtying his boots at his 4 acre vineyard and winery - Little Farm Winery - in the Similkameen Valley of BC, Canada. His wine school, Wine Plus+, has been teaching Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) to budding wine pros since 2008. To make sure he eats well he has also completed a Professional Culinary Diploma and has been named by Western Living magazine as one of the “Top 40 Foodies Under 40” in Western Canada. He is a Principal Critic and Writer for and a regular contributor to Canadian publications such as Macleans, Montecristo and Taste. Rhys judges wine competitions internationally such as the Decanter World Wine Awards as well as the National and World competitions for WineAlign and the Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards in Canada. 



John Szabo, Master Sommelier, Principal critic,, Award winning author, co-owner at J&J Eger Wine co., Hungary.

Master Sommelier John Szabo was the first Canadian to add the “MS” after his name in 2004. He’s seen the hospitality business from all sides including cooking and washing dishes, serving and sommellerie, importing, teaching, writing, photographing, speaking, emceeing, consulting and judging wine internationally. He was listed as “Canada’s best-known sommelier” in Meininger’s Wine Business International. 

John is a partner and principal critic for, Canada’s largest wine publication, and wine columnist for Ricardo, ModaLina, and CityBites Magazines. His books include Pairing Food and Wine For Dummies (Wiley, December 2012), and Sommelier Management (Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, Revised Edition 2013). But volcanoes are John’s current fatal attraction. His latest book, Volcanic Wines, Salt, Grit and Power, will be published in September 2016.


Mark Filatow, Executive Chef, Sommelier & Partner, Waterfront Wines Restaurant and Wine Bar & Waterfront Café and Catering

With over twenty years of experience, Mark Filatow represents the pinnacle of culinary excellence and is the driving force behind Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar. After graduating with honours from the Dubrulle Culinary Institute, Mark honed his culinary skills at some of the most prestigious restaurants in BC including Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn, Vancouver’s Bishops and Diva at the Met and Kelowna’s Fresco Restaurant.

In 2001 Mark was accepted into the coveted Sommelier Guild, making him one of the only chefs in Canada with this level of skill in food and wine pairing. By 2005 Mark’s culinary prowess was acknowledged by Enroute Magazine when they recognized Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar as one of Canada’s best new restaurants. With these awards and continual stream of industry accolades from Vancouver Magazine, The Calgary Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, Eat Magazine and more, Mark still manages to keep his feet on the ground… and in the kitchen as Executive Chef/Sommelier of Waterfront Wines Restaurant & Wine Bar and Waterfront café and Catering. 


Michaela Morris, dipWSET, Wine Columnist, Westender, Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Expert

Michaela Morris is a wine writer, educator, judge and speaker based in Vancouver, Canada. She is the weekly wine columnist for the Westender newspaper and contributes to Taste, Quench, Meininger’s International Wine Business and Decanter. In Canada, Michaela judges wine competitions and presents seminars for festivals such as Cornucopia, Vancouver International Wine Festival and Northernlands. She also lends her expertise abroad judging for the Wines of Portugal Challenge and Vinitaly’s 5 Star Wines Award, speaking at conferences such as Wine2Wine in Verona and Barolo’s Collisioni Festival and sits on Collisioni's Wine Educational Board (W.E.B.).

 Michaela successfully completed the Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s (WSET) Diploma in 2006 and is an instructor for program in Vancouver. She is also one of only seven Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) Certified Italian Wine Experts to date and is now pursuing her Master of Wine studies. Michaela devotes much of her time traveling to wine regions around the globe. She is fluent in English and French while continuing to learn Italian and Spanish. 

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Sunday November 5


PM ı Masterclass: Welcome to BC Wine Country
What makes BC wine country unique in the world of wine? This Masterclass will look at the history, terroir and give an overview of the different wine regions within BC, giving a foundation of knowledge to build on over the rest of Bootcamp.

PM ı Sparkling Wine Reception & Dinner Hosted By:

Bottleneck Drive Winery Association


Monday November 6

AM ı Masterclass: Soils & Geology

Every wine region’s terroir is unique and BC winemakers and grapegrowers are exploring in-depth the soils and geology that shape the taste, structure and character of BC wines.

AM ı BC’s Wild Side

Natural wines: orange, wild ferments, concrete, ancestral.

Like many cutting edge regions of the wine world, BC wine is full of experimentation with a growing movement towards low manipulation winemaking and organic and biodynamic growing. This Masterclass explores the natural side of BC wine.

PM ı Masterclass: Regional Tasting of BC Wines

One hundred wines from around BC grouped by region.

This tasting will give an insight into the different regions, the grapes that are grown and the style of wines that are made highlighting the diversity that exists throughout BC’s five designated winegrowing regions.

PM ı Chef and Somm Pairing Workshop

Somms and chefs will form four teams to create a dish for next evenings’ BC Best Pairing Dinner. Each team will make up a dish using a key local BC ingredient, and Somms will pick two wines from the regional tasting earlier that day to pair with the dish, making BC’s best pairing. Each wine-paired BC dish will be served at the dinner with a prize for the course judged Best BC Pairing.

 PM ı Terroir & Diversity Dinner Hosted By:

 Naramata Bench Wineries Association


Tuesday November 7

AM ı Masterclass: BC's Best Varietals

Discussion panel presenting and pouring what they think is best and why

What are BC’s best varietals? What will BC be known for in the future? This Masterclass will feature a panel presenting and debating what they believe are the best grape varieties for BC and why.

PM ı Unique Place, Unique Wines Lunch Hosted By:

Similkameen Independent WinegrowersSIW_logo.png

PM ı Masterclass: Built to Last

Ageability of BC wine

The unique Okanagan and Similkameen climate is perfectly suited to making wines that are built to age. Intense flavour, natural acidity and lots of structure are what the climate naturally gives. This Masterclass will explore the ageability of BC wine and how this might be something BC wine will be known for in the future.

PM ı  BC Best Pairings Dinner

Teams from the previous day will present their Best BC Pairing dish in a four-course meal with winemakers and chefs.

Wednesday November 8

AM ı Masterclass: Blending

Educational blending seminar & exercise



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Some of the prestigous wine professionals attending this year's Wine BC Bootcamp!

Jennifer Belanger

General Manager, McEwan Group - ONE Restaurant
Toronto, ON

I have been with the McEwan Group at One Restaurant for almost 5 years. Prior to working at One, I lived in the Middle East and Europe in the capacity as Food and Beverage Manager.

Caroline Brange

Trade Sales, Flint Wines
London, UK

twitter.jpg @carolinebrange instagram.jpg  caroline_brange facebook.jpg Carol Ine

Before joining Flint Wines in 2015, Caroline spent 5 years working as a Sommelier in some of LondonÂ’s most exciting restaurants. As well as excellent wine knowledge, she brings with her a strong understanding of what works on a restaurant list and is able to liaise closely with all her clients to provide them with the best possible wines and service. Her passion for her job and the product makes her a real asset to any buyer.

Lesley Brown
President, CAPS BC
Port Moody, BC 

twitter.jpg  @caps_bc instagram.jpg @Lesleybrown4  

Lesley is a long time industry professional.  With extensive knowledge as both a wine educator as well as a sales professional and manager she has an incredible amount of passion for the industry and for supporting the sommelier community.  She has recently joined the Bacchus Group as the Provincial Sales Manager and  sits on the Board of Directors for IVSA and was recently appointed as the President of CAPS BC. 


Eric Degerman
President & CEO, Great Northwest Wine
Richland, WA

twitter.jpg @ericdegerman instagram.jpg ericdegerman facebook.jpg Eric Degerman

Eric spent 25 years as an editor and award-winning sports writer at the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash. He covered the Western Hockey League for a decade before co-founding Wine Press Northwest magazine, transitioning to writing about regional wine and restaurants. In 2012, he and Andy Perdue left the newspaper industry to launch, a wine journalism site. They stage three international wine competitions, judge several others and contribute to a number of publications.

Janet Dorozynski
Trade Commissioner, Canadian wine, beer and spirits 
Global Affairs Canada, Business Sectors Bureau

Ottawa, ON

twitter.jpg @winetrackmind instagram.jpg  @winetrackmind

Janet Dorozynski is the trade commissioner for Canadian wine, beer and spirits and tourism at Global Affairs Canada, where she oversees a program that assists Canadian Embassies to serve and promote Canadian wine internationally. She holds the WSET Diploma, is a WSET certified educator and a Professional Affiliate of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). Janet has been writing, reviewing, judging and teaching about wine for over two decades.

Tom Firth
Honcho, Cowtown Wines
Calgary, AB

twitter.jpg @cowtownwine

Tom Firth is a freelance wine, beer, and spirits writer and consultant in Calgary, Alberta. His work appears in City Palate, Avenue Magazine (Calgary), Alberta Liquor Retailer and Culinaire Magazine as well as online outlets. He is the Drinks Editor at Culinaire, and is the Competition Director for the Alberta Beverage Awards. 


Nathalie Gosselin
Chief Experience Designer, Vine Styles
Calgary, AB

twitter.jpg @vinestylesyyc  instagram.jpg   @grunerfairy facebook.jpg nathalie.gosselin.127

Nathalie Gosselin earned her Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level 3 Certification just a few months before opening Vine Styles in Calgary with co-owner Darren Stewart in 2014. She is the Chief Experience Designer at Vine Styles, a boutique wine/craft beers/spirits store in the heart of trendy Kensington.



Lisa Haley

Restaurant & Wine Director, L'Abbatoir
Vancouver, BC

twitter.jpg @mtlwaitress instagram.jpg @lisaannehaley

Lisa Haley is the Restaurant & Wine Director of Gastown's award-winning L'Abattoir Restaurant.  She landed in Vancouver four years ago after over a decade in Montreal and set to work as Burdock & Co.'s General Manager before becoming the Wine Director at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar where her opening wine list won Gold and Best New Entry at the Vancouver International Wine Festival.  Lisa was recognized as Vancouver Magazine's 2017 Sommelier of the Year.

Gary Hewitt
Wine Buyer/Sommelier Instructor 
Banville & Jones Wine Co/Wine & Drinks College MB
Winnipeg, MB


Gary is lead wine buyer and instructor at Winnipeg’s largest private wine store and school.  Studies in Food Science and industrial fermentations led to a fascination with wine. He now holds Sommelier credentials and the WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits (Wines of Australia Scholarship). He is a certified instructor for WSET, Wine Scholar Guild, Society of Wine Educators and Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). He is the current CAPS-Manitoba President and Education chair.

Tomasz Janicki
Head Sommelier, Shangar-La
London, UK

Originally from Gostynin in Poland, I became wine professional in 2011 after working in many management positions at restaurants and bars. At some point in time, like many of my colleagues, I fell in love with wine and wine turned into my passion. My journey began at Corrigan’s Mayfair in London where I was Head Bartender  – working in the restaurant with its extensive wine list helped me to develop good tasting skills.

I graduated from WSET level 3 course and started my Sommelier career. My next adventure was  opening a new restaurant for Gordon Ramsay in 2014. After passing my Court of Master Sommeliers exams I became Certified Sommelier.  In April 2016 I decided to join Shangri-la London, where I currently work as Head Sommelier overlooking the Wine Programme and the operation of all outlets in the hotel.

Kate Keates
Wine Professional, Save On Foods
Vancouver, BC

twitter.jpg @mistressofwine facebook.jpg Kate Vanderbyl Keates

Kate's first Okanagan winery tour was the summer of 1999. Since that time she has been a passionate advocate of BC's growing wine industry (get it?). Kate achieved her WSET 3 Advanced certificate to legitimize her love of the grape. For many years Kate sold BC VQA wines to Vancouver and North Shore customers from private shops. Now she works for Save On Foods, singing the “BC Wine Song” to a whole new audience.

Jonathan Kleeman
Head Sommelier, Social Company
Leighton Buzzard, UK

twitter.jpg@JonnyKleeman instagram.jpg jk.somm

At the age of 21 he made is first step into Fine Dinning at Orwells In Henley where he got his love for wine and after 3 years was the Sommelier & Assistant restaurant manager. Moving to London to open Quttro Passi and was soon picked up to take over as Deputy Head Sommlier at the Ritz Hotel London leaving in 2016 to take his current role as Head Sommelier at Social Eating House.

Kurtis Kolt
Wine Consultant & Writer
Vancouver, BC

twitter.jpg @KurtisKolt instagram.jpg @KurtisKolt facebook.jpg KurtisKolt

Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based freelance wine consultant and writer who received the Sommelier of the Year award from the 2010 Vancouver International Wine Festival. 

Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson
Wine & Drinks Writer, Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg, MB

twitter.jpg @bensigurdson instagram.jpg @bensigurdson facebook.jpg bensigurdson

Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine/drinks writer and literary editor at the Winnipeg Free Press. He has judged at numerous wine competitions, including at WineAlign's National Wine Awards of Canada as well as three times at the B.C. Wine Awards. In 2016 he was awarded a fellowship to the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, one of only two Canadian wine writers chosen that year. Ben has traveled to wine regions on four continents, including numerous trips to B.C. wine country.

Neal McLennan
Food & Travel Editor, Vancouver & Western Living Magazine
Vancouver, BC

twitter.jpg @WL_Sips instagram.jpg @neal.mclennan 

I'm the Vancouver-based editor at Western Living and Vancouver magazines, covering wine, food & travel.

Darren Oleksyn

Wine Columnist, Calgary Herald/Postmedia
Calgary, AB

twitter.jpg @doleksyn facebook.jpg Darren Oleksyn

I've been working as a journalist for 27 years and writing about wine since 2011. I have toured wine regions in Canada, Washington, Oregon, California, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Germany. I have also helped judge at a variety of wine competitions. I love learning about wines and the people who make them.


Bruce Soley
Wine Director & Sommelier, River Café
Calgary, AB

Employed by River Cafe since 1999. ISG Sommelier Certification 2007. Wine Director for River Café / Deane House since 2011.

Laura Starr
Sommelier - Chambar & Wine Editor, VITA Magazine
Vancouver, BC

twitter.jpg @laurastarrvino instagram.jpg  @ellestarr  facebook.jpg elle.starr.7


A veteran in the restaurant industry and an English teacher by trade, Laura's debut into the world of wine is a mash-up of accident and fate. Passion and circumstance allowed her to forge a women-led trifecta team of sommeliers at Vancouver’s Chambar Restaurant and she gets her daily fix of grape-soaked language as Vita Daily's national wine editor. Join Laura as she sips and assimilates with poetic agility into Canada's wine culture, baring words, discoveries and the secrets of the grapevine.

Mark Takagi

Wine, Beer & Spirits Specialist, Metropolitan Market
Seattle, USA

Born in Washington, worked in some of the finest restaurants in Seattle before starting my wine retailing career in 1984.  I have worked for the Metropolitan Market group (7 stores) since 1990, having received many awards including Washington Wine Retailer of the Year by the WA Wine Commission and Market Watch.  I've participated as a speaker/panel member at several wine conferences and as a professional wine judge at many competitions.  My passions; soccer and helping non-profit organizations.

Shane Taylor

Wine Director, CinCin
Vancouver, BC

 instagram.jpg rhymeswithdilettante

Shane’s early days were spent at the Relais Gourmand White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine. In the U.K., he served at Glenapp Castle and Chapter One, both Michelin-starred, before moving to Canada in 2005 to join Araxi. In 2008, he became Assistant Wine Director of another sister restaurant, Blue Water Cafe. 

Tara Thomas
Executive Editor, Wine & Spirits Magazine
Brooklyn, USA

twitter.jpg @tqthomas

A former chef, Tara Q. Thomas has been writing about wine for 20 years, most prominently at Wine & Spirits Magazine, where she is Executive Editor and specializes in the wines of Austria, Germany and the Mediterranean. The author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wine Basics and a contributor to the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Spirits, she also freelances for Culture, Real Food and other publications, and sits on the advisory panel for the International Culinary Center’s Sommelier Program.

Alan Tse
Director of Wine, Aberdeen Marina Club
Hong Kong

I first discovered wine in 2005 and found myself deeply interested and curious to discover more on this sector, and that started my wine career.

I completed the WSET Diploma in 2012, and then went on to achieve WSET Certified Educator status as well as Accredited Wine Educator of CIVB while working at ASC Fine Wines. In 2015, it was my honor to be one of the first 3 people to get the title of Advanced Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers in Hong Kong.

Today, I am the Director of Wine in Aberdeen Marina Club, a stunning place with more than 800 labels and 5000 bottles of wine in their wine retail shop- La Cave.

I hope to continue my wine journey and keep learning about wines from different places!

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A special thank you to our partners including:


Are you a wine professional?  Would you like to be invited to next year's Bootcamp taking place October 18-22, 2018?  Let us know by registering your interest with us here.  

If you are interested in being a sponsor at next year's events, please  let us know here.