Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Facilitators 

Our Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Program Facilitators are qualified, knowledgeable and passionate about our BC wine industry. They work diligently to facilitate and deliver the Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Program to industry, trade and media building lifelong bonds between people and this awe-inspiring place.

 Andrew Paulson

Sommelier Coordinator
Oakridge Tasting Center | Coop Wine Spirits Beer
Calgary AB, Canada

Born and raised in Australia, I experienced some of the best Shiraz/Syrah in the world, developing keen interest in wine. When I finished college in Sydney, (more than 2 decades ago now), I undertook worldwide travel including Canada where I was led astray by a wonderful Canadian woman and stayed for good.

As my restaurant career in food and beverages developed, I decided to explore my passion for wine and earned my sommelier certification through the ISG Diploma program, I have also completed the – Wine Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 qualification, and the Nominated Educator Program (NEP) with WSET. Today, I am an instructor for WSET and administer the instruction of WSET courses through Co-op Wine Spirits Beer in Calgary.

I have more recently become a Certified Cicerone (a beer sommelier) and completed masters studies in Champagne and the Rhone Valley through the Wine Scholar Guild. Providing international travel is not a thing of the past, I am looking forward to hiking the Camino de Santiago Trail in France and Spain sometime soon.

Brad Royale

Director
Brad Royale Consulting
Calgary AB, Canada

Brad Royale is a Sommelier and beverage and event consultant based in Calgary, Alberta.  Royale lists The Glencoe Club, The Forks, Panorama Mountain Resort, Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, Hotel Grand Pacific, Wine Align, IDMG, British Columbia Wine Institute, Wines of South Africa, Wine Scholar Guild and Top Drop Canada as clients.  Royale has been involved in retail and restaurant management for twenty years and holds Diploma credentials from both the International Sommelier Guild and WSET.  Known for his discerning tasting skills, Royale has been involved in professional wine judging for the past 15 years, being retained by Wine Access, Culinaire Magazine, Wine and Spirits Magazine and WineAlign.  Royale has won multiple awards for his wine programs from Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, World of Fine Wine (Three Stars) and The Vancouver Wine Festival.  In 2012 Brad launched his own wine label, Kitten Swish, a micro-negociant that sources carefully curated wines from France, Germany, Spain, United States, Hungary and Canada. www.bradroyale.com  www.kittenswish.com

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Christina Hartigan

Wine Director
Gooseneck Hospitality
Vancouver BC, Canada

Christina Hartigan is the Wine Director for Gooseneck Hospitality in Vancouver.  Working on a vineyard during harvest in Burgundy, Christina fell in love with all aspects of wine, from vine to glass.  A Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Sommelier, Christina has also completed the WSET Diploma and French Wine Scholar.

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Colin Ross

Manager
Tightrope Winery
Penticton BC, Canada

Colin’s love of BC Wine began while bartending at a French bistro in Vancouver and taking many trips to the Okanagan Valley, back when the industry was much smaller. As the industry continued to grow, so did Colin’s passion for wine. Eventually taking him around the world to wine regions in California, France, and Italy. After pursuing his business degree at Simon Fraser University while teaching skiing at Blackcomb Mountain, he returned to his roots in hospitality with turns as a partner, general manager, wine director and owner at various Vancouver restaurants. He also spent time as a wine agent & WSET educator in Wine and Spirits. He now resides in the Okanagan where he is the manager of Tightrope Winery on the Naramata Bench and continues to teach WSET classes. He is excited to share his knowledge of BC Wines and the BC Wine Industry through the Wine Growers British Columbia Ambassador Program.

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Emily Walker

Wine Director, Naramata Inn
Group Sommelier, Tap & Barrel Restaurants
Summerland BC, Canada

Emily Walker is an Okanagan-bred Sommelier, Educator, Wine Judge and a key player in the BC wine scene. After having run some of Vancouver’s top wine programs, Emily has returned to her Okanagan roots and is now overseeing the wine program at one of BC’s hottest tables – Naramata Inn. As the former wine director for the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, she poured her passion into creating authentic, memorable and always approachable food and wine experiences for guests and took their wine program from Bronze to Gold at the Vancouver International Wine Festival’s “Wine List Awards”. As an independent wine consultant Emily also oversees the wine program for the Tap & Barrel group of restaurants – recently touted by Vancouver Magazine as one of the Top Five wine lists in the City. Emily’s Okanagan Valley upbringing continues to influence an affinity for honest, terroir-driven wine and a passion for championing the region.

Jenny Book

Wine Educator
Fine Vintage Ltd.
Calgary AB, Canada

Jenny Book is a Calgary based wine educator and competition judge. She is a certified sommelier through the ISG and achieved the Top Canadian Graduate Award in the WSET Diploma in 2012. Jenny draws on her 20+ years of experience working in restaurants, wine retail, agency sales, wine education and most recently a small negociant business. She comes from a family of teachers and has taught top level WSET and Sommelier courses for several years across Canada and the USA. Jenny loves all wines of the world but will sing the praises of the Canadian wine industry given the chance. As an educator of the Canadian Wine Scholar Program, Jenny is passionate about Canada’s local wine industry and loves to engage students with her energetic and approachable style.

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Keith Nicholson

Proprietor | Instructor
Statera Academy
Vancouver BC, Canada

Keith Nicholson is a certified Sommelier, who has spent his career in the wine and hospitality business in Vancouver.  He is the owner and lead instructor at Statera Academy where they teach Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) classes in Wine, Spirits, and Sake as well as Edinburgh Whisky Association (EWA) certificate courses. He is also the Vice President with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) BC chapter.

He has worked on the hospitality side with over twenty-seven years within restaurant management and running wine programs at some of BC’s top dining establishments such as The Bearfoot Bistro and Le Crocodile.  Previously Keith was a Sales Consultant selling wine to restaurants and Liquor retail.  He has spent time working a harvest at Laughing Stock Vineyards in Naramata, BC, and was a past Instructor with the International Sommeliers Guild.
www.StateraAcademy.ca

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Kelcie Jones

Wine Director
Chambar
Vancouver BC, Canada

As a perennial student of wine, Kelcie holds the WSET Diploma, CMS certification, and a 3IC Italian Wine Specialist certificate. She is the Wine Director at Chambar Restaurant in Vancouver and teaches WSET courses to novices and industry professionals alike. Prior to Chambar Kelcie worked on the wine team at several prominent Vancouver restaurants and staged for two vintages in the South of France.  Outside of wine, Kelcie holds a Master’s in English Literature from the University of Toronto.

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Kelcie Jones

Kurtis Kolt

Wine Writer | Educator | Competition Judge | Event Producer | Consultant
Vancouver BC, Canada

Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant who writes about wine, presents seminars, hosts events, judges wine competitions, works with restaurants on their wine programs, and so on.

Managing restaurants and winning multiple awards for his wine lists until 2010 when he received the ‘Sommelier of the Year’ award from both the 2010 Vancouver International Wine Festival and Vancouver magazine, Kolt opted to diversify his focus on wine through different arenas.

Vancouver magazine became one of his many writing outlets, which have come to include Decanter and Maclean’s magazines, AskMen.com, and SIP Northwest.

Appearances have included running wine service at James Beard House in New York, a city where he occasionally participates in tasting panels at Wine & Spirits magazine, and a profile in Wine Enthusiast magazine. His various certifications and credits include London’s Wine & Spirit Education Trust, the Court of Master Sommeliers & the Winemaking Program at UC Davis. In recent years, Kolt also co-founded and runs ‘Top Drop’ in both Vancouver and Calgary, a terroir-focused trade and consumer wine festival Western Living magazine has dubbed, “The one wine tasting of the year you shouldn’t miss.”

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Maude Renaud-Brisson

Sommelier | Founder Apéro Mode | Wine consultant
Vancouver BC, Canada

Born and raised in Québec, Maude has called Vancouver home for the last decade. Her love of food, travel, and people has led her to explore many different roles in the wine industry, from Sommelier at iconic restaurants such as Nightingale and Chambar, to her most recent role with Lifford Wine & Spirits importers.

With an unpretentious approach to wine, she founded APÉROmode in 2019, offering Sommelier services and making wine accessible through tastings and events. As a BC Hospitality Foundation and Les Dames D’Escoffier Scholarship recipient, Maude has always believed in giving back to the industry she loves and is now a board member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

An original student of the International Sommeliers Guild, the world of wine has always been about exploring for Maude, she obtained the Vinitaly Maestro certification and she is completing her studies with the WSET Diploma program. When she isn’t travelling in wine country, you can find her moderating and presenting sold out seminars at various events such as Cornucopia Whistler Wine Festival.

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Mireille Sauvé

Wine Educator, Sommelier, Winemaker
Okanagan College, The Wine Umbrella
Okanagan BC, Canada

Ms. Sauvé is one of Canada’s most acclaimed Wine Professionals, and the founder of Vancouver’s most established wine industry consulting firm, The Wine Umbrella. A 30-year veteran of the wine and restaurant industries, Mireille graduated with honours from George Brown College’s Sommelier Program, earning her the title of ‘Canada’s Youngest Sommelier’ in 1997 before completing a Winemaking Apprenticeship at Hedges Cellars in Washington State, USA). She earned multiple gold medals for her restaurant wine programs and established Western Canada’s first Wine Australia office as well as having completed the BC Instructor Diploma Program in 2007. Mireille has directed countless projects for many international and local clients in addition to wine writing for various publications and featuring regularly as Wine Expert on radio and TV. She holds many professional certifications as a wine educator and her five-year-old winemaking project is a fundraising initiative for women’s education: Dames Wine and The Wine Umbrella wines. These days, Mireille can be found instructing courses about wine and related studies at Okanagan College, Penticton Campus, where she has also recently taken over the post of Business Development Advisor at the newly-founded BC Beverage Technology Access Centre, supporting Canadian beverage producers in every way.

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Rhys Pender

Owner
Wine Plus+
Kelowna BC, Canada

Rhys is a Master of Wine who combines his time writing, judging, teaching, presenting, consulting and dirtying his boots at his 4 acre vineyard and winery – Little Farm Winery – in the Similkameen Valley of BC, Canada. He runs a wine school, Wine Plus+, and judges wine competitions nationally and internationally such as the Decanter World Wine Awards, TexSomm as well as the National Wine Awards of Canada for WineAlign. In 2018, Rhys’s contribution to the industry was acknowledged as one of just five global nominees for the WSET Outstanding Alumni Award. 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 regular contributor to publications such as SIP, Vitis, Macleans, Montecristo and Taste

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Sharon McLean

Co-Founder
Cru Consultancy
Victoria BC, Canada

Sharon is an award-winning wine instructor, a certified sommelier and a traveller.  She is a co-founder of Cru Consultancy, which offers Wine Scholar Guild programs in B.C. and Alberta and consulting services to private clients and corporations.

Sharon is a leading instructor of Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses on Vancouver Island, the global instructor for the instructor-led French Wine Scholar courses and the Education Director for Vessel Liquor Store in Victoria.  She is also a wine judge and a freelance wine writer.

In 2009, she completed the WSET Diploma with the highest marks in Canada. Since then she has gone on to become a French Wine Scholar, an Italian Wine Scholar, a Spanish Wine Scholar, an accredited Bordeaux instructor, and a Certified Sherry Educator.  Sharon is pursuing the Masters of Wine certification and has passed the first year assessments.

Sharon is excited to share B.C.’s journey and stories with you through the BC Ambassador Program.

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Shrawan Khanna

Wine Agent, Bona Vini Wines Co
Co-Owner, Bringmeadrink.ca
Wine Educator, Fine Vintage Ltd
Wine Consultant

Victoria, BC

Shrawan Khanna is of Canadian origin, a blend of Ontario, Alberta and BC. The overtones of teaching & education on the front palate combine with formal WSET-based wine training and informal industry training on the mid and back palate, creating a smoothly well-rounded experience. The base is an overwhelming love for all wine, with complexities expressed by passion for the emerging & exciting BC wine industry. Food and its enhancement of wine plays a primary role in the experience, be it at home, in a commercial setting or for private clients. A classic pairing for Shrawan is Champagne and french fries, but he generally pairs well with any sparkling wine and fried, salty food. Accolades for Shrawan include WSET 3, Wine Scholar Guild Master of Champagne, Canadian Wine Scholar, BC Wine Ambassador. Best enjoyed now for great classes and wine lists, but will cellar for many years.

“There is a wine for every person, some people just haven’t found their wine yet!”

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