Andrew Forsyth

Vancouver BC, Canada

Andrew started his wine journey when he was enrolled in the Wine and Spirit Education Trust courses while working as a Dining Room Manager at the Alberni Street Keg Steakhouse and Bar.  Since passing his Certified exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers in May 2019, he has been working on the floor as a Sommelier at Gastown’s L’Abattoir.  He has taken a keen interest in competition after winning the opportunity to represent Canada at the Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup in Cape Town last September. Since then, he has competed in the Best Sommelier BC competition and holds the title of 2020 Sommelier of the Year from the Wine Growers of British Columbia.

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 Caroline Leblanc

Brand Manager,Vins Fins L’Agence
President, CAPS Quebec
Montreal QC, Canada

Born in a family of wine enthusiasts, Caroline grew up with a profound desire to understand the (many) reasons why wine had the power to connect and gather people together. It is her deep interest in traveling which sparked her curiosity to discover in-depth South America and Europe, where she deeply fell in love with viticulture. Her master’s degree in Marketing Management at ESADE in Barcelona, her sommelier training, and her WSET Level 3 certificate lead her to run the export management of Familia Torres wines and spirits in Canada for five years. Caroline is currently President of the Quebec Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) and Brand Manager for a wine distribution company: Vins Fins L’Agence.

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Colin Ross

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 Pearce

Founder & President
Femmes du Vin
Toronto ON, Canada

Emily is Chef Sommelier at The YORK Club in Toronto, Ontario. In addition to her time at the Club Emily established Femmes du Vin and is an important voice for women in the wine industry. She is both an MS and MW candidate, contributing writer for numerous major wine publications, respected international judge, award-winning Sommelier, and mentor to many women in the wine community.

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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.

Heather McDougall

Sommelier, Owner
Sips Toronto
Toronto ON, Canada

Heather McDougall is a certified sommelier (International Sommelier Guild & Wine & Spirit Education Trust) who has spent the last decade honing her skills in both retail and restaurant settings.
She completed her certifications in 2008 in Calgary and worked as a Wine Director (Rush, Model Milk & Vintage Chophouse) and as a buyer/sommelier in top boutique wine stores: BIN 905 and Metrovino.

Since moving to Toronto, she has held the position of Wine Director at Splendido and The Chase, and has been the General Manager and Head Sommelier at Montecito Restaurant and By The Glass Wine Bar. She now owns and operates full service events and wine retail / specialty food shops under the Sips banner with two locations open: Sips Toronto and Sips At The Lake.

In addition to her work in hospitality, she is actively involved in the mentoring and training of junior sommeliers, sits on the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers Ontario Board as the Technical Director and is a national judge for Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants

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Hugo Duchesne

Wine Director Cogir Restauration (Coureur des Bois, h3, Cabane du Coureur)
Wine Teacher at ITHQ
Quebec, Canada

My first adventure began in 2004 by opening the restaurant La Montée de Lait and lasted more than 7 years; this experience will have been most decisive and founding in the rest of my career. Then, from 2011 to 2016, I held the positions of head sommelier for Laurie Raphaël restaurants in Quebec and Montreal; this segment of my learning will have taught me as much about management as ubiquity. Since 2016, I have been the head sommelier of Coureur des Bois in Beloeil, where I learn every day the privilege given to me of humbly working side by side with people and unique wines. The group expanded by acquiring a sugar shack in Saint-Marc sur Richelieu in 2019, called La Cabane du Coureur, then by opening, in June 2021, a new restaurant called h3, located in the city center. city of Montreal, in the Humaniti hotel. Since 2019 my role has changed from Head Sommelier to Director of Sommellerie of the 3 establishments.

At the same time, since fall 2014, I have been working as a sommelier teacher at the ITHQ. This profession confirms full-time all the rigor and pedagogy required for the transmission of knowledge in addition to allowing a critical reflection of our profession at all times.

Teaching is nourished by learning, in this sense, since 2015, I started the certification of the Court of Master Sommelier by going through the first three levels, only the Diploma portion remains, which will take place in the summer of 2021.

In September 2020, I won the competition for the Best Sommelier of Quebec. This distinction will have awakened in me the desire to continue this quest for learning, humility and performance, just as it allows me to be Quebec’s candidate for the Best Sommelier of Canada competition in October 2021.

We hope that this adventure will continue as long as possible and that this journey can lead to the transmission of professional values and attitudes which make it the beauty of the profession.

Jenna Briscoe

General Manager, Cafe Medina
Vancouver BC, Canada

Jenna has worked in various areas of the wine industry from hospitality to business consulting.  She successfully completed the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma in 2018 and is an instructor for the programme in Vancouver. She is the Project Director for Top Drop Canada, a terroir focused wine festival in Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary.  She is an international wine judge for competitions such as 5 Star Wines and the Judgment of BC.  She is currently a student in the Master of Wine programme and continues to lend her expertise to wine consulting projects with businesses such as Legends Haul.

Her time as a sommelier has been spent working in several restaurants, including Vancouver’s own Hawksworth and Elisa and abroad at Medlar and Lorne in London, England.

Jenna’s home is as the General Manager of Café Medina in Vancouver, Canada, where she has contributed to the restaurant’s esteemed reputation and worked to build an award-winning team over the last 7 years. In 2016, she was recognized by Vancouver Magazine as one of the top six front-of-house ‘All-Stars’ in the Vancouver scene.

JOSÉ Luis Fernández

Sommelier, Wine Director
Hamilton Golf & Country Club
Ancaster ON, Canada

Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. José Luis Fernández is a certified CAPS and a CMS Advanced Sommelier. He has been living in Hamilton, Ontario, since 2004.

José Luis placed 2nd in 2017 and won 1st place and the title of Best Sommelier in Ontario in the 2019 competition. He is currently the Sommelier/Wine Director at the Hamilton Golf & Country Club, located in Ancaster, Ontario. José Luis was the Ontario finalist for the IVDP & CAPS “Master of Port Canada 2019” competition, where he got the third place. He is currently working towards his Master Sommelier accreditation.

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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.

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Lesley Quinn

Owner, Operator
Stellar Somm Wine Experts
Charlottetown PEI, Canada

Lesley was born and raised in Prince Edward Island. Her first opportunity in wine came as Junior Sommelier at the Ritz Carlton Cayman Islands. In 2012 she became a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Work has taken her to Calgary, Vancouver, Halifax, and Turkey. Wine has taken her to France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Chile, and California. In 2017 she won the Canadian Association Top Somm Competition Atlantic division and in 2021 she will be traveling to BC to take a swing at becoming Canada’s Top Somm. In 2022 she will also be heading to Portugal to represent Canada in the Master of Port Competition. Back in PEI she’s sharing her knowledge through a wine consulting company she started called Stellar Somm Wine Experts, where she specializes in events.

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Lynn Abernethy

CAPS & CMS Certified Sommelier
President, CAPS Ontario
Secretary, CAPS Canada
Ontario, Canada

Following a varied career in office administration, events and public relations for performing arts organizations and architectural firms, Lynn finally put her geography degree to good use by following her “appreciation” of wine and spirits to more formal learning. After successfully completing her Wine Specialist Certificate from George Brown College, Lynn earned her sommelier certificates from the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) and the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) as well as her WSET Level 3.

She and her business partner are about to launch Corkscrew Imports – a boutique wine agency focusing on family based wineries. She also works behind the bottle as pourer and teacher assistant with Fine Vintage Ltd. and was a co-producer for the 2019 Best Ontario Sommelier Competition (BOSC). Lynn’s active in the community and with her husband split time between their homes in Toronto and Picton, Prince Edward County.

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Mark Taylor

President, Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, British Columbia Chapter
Vancouver BC, Canada

Mark realized in his teen years that he wanted to turn his passion for food and wine into a career.  He moved to Vancouver and accepted the role of Sommelier at the renowned William Tell restaurant.  He followed this with a term as Sommelier and Bar Manager at the five-star Mandarin Hotel and achieved certification by the U.K. Guild of Sommeliers.

After a few years enjoying recreational pursuits in Whistler, Taylor moved up to the heart of BC wine country to open The Cellar Door Bistro.  The Cellar Door received critical acclaim as the top restaurant in the region from Okanagan Life Magazine.  But alas, the big city and B.C.’s beautiful lower mainland beckoned Taylor once again.

When he returned to Vancouver, Taylor opened Cru Restaurant & Wine Bar to almost immediate critical acclaim:  in 2004 the restaurant was ranked number three in EnRoute Magazine’s Top Ten New Restaurants in Canada.  Over the years Cru earned many more awards and accolades for its cuisine and wine program, including a special award for Most Innovative Wine List in 2004, the same year Taylor himself was named British Columbia Sommelier of the Year.

Now President of The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, BC Chapter, Taylor is very active in the Vancouver wine and food scene.  He served as a wine judge for Whistler’s Cornucopia and the Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards, worked with the Planning Committee and currently the Winery Selection Committee for the Vancouver International Wine Festival, North America’s largest consumer wine event.

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Matthew Landry

Tannin Management
Vancouver BC, Canada

Matthew Landry is a Vancouver-based, Niagara-born sommelier. He is a Wine Scholar Guild French and Italian Wine Scholar, 3iC Piemonte Specialist and certified Valpolicella educator. In 2019, Matthew won Best Sommelier in BC. In 2020, he founded Tannin Management, a full spectrum wine consultancy business.

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Sommelier, Wine consultant
Founder Apéro Mode
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

Winemaker, The Wine Umbrella
ISG, Business Development Advisor, Wine Educator, Sommelier
Okanagan BC, Canada

Ms. Sauvé is as acclaimed Wine Professional and the founder of Western Canada’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 domestic wine 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 six-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 (BC BTAC), supporting Canadian beverage producers in every way

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Peter Van de Reep

Bar Manager
Bar Gobo
Vancouver BC, Canada

Peter is the Bar Manager and Sommelier at Bar Gobo in Vancouver. Though he moved to Vancouver to study geology, the cafe and restaurant scene in Vancouver hooked him in and he has not looked back since. After a long stint as a barman at the now closed Upstairs @ Campagnolo, Peter was brought on to open up Bar Gobo, an intimate wine bar on the edge of Chinatown where he loves opening up fun and new bottles for fellow wine nerds and neighbourhood regulars. In 2020, Peter won the CAPS BC Sommelier of the Year competition. He is easily plied with grower Champagne, riesling of all kinds and amaro.

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Pier-Alexis Soulière, MS

Québec City QB, Canada

Pier-Alexis has dedicated the past 15 years of his career to providing world class wine service and enhancing guest experience in some of the most demanding environments. The journey started in Montréal and brought him to excel in 3 different continents; from London to Sydney to New York City and California. Pier’s returned to Canada in 2019 and founded P-A SOULIÈRE SÉLECTION LTD a consulting company where he can pass on expertise and bring solutions of to a wide range of client.

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Roger Maniwa

Hawksworth Restaurant
Vancouver BC, Canada

Roger is currently a sommelier at one of Vancouver’s finest, Hawksworth Restaurant. With 15 years working as sommelier, he continues to taste, study, decant, and worries about small details, all to enhance the dining experience. His career started in Vancouver earning his ISG Sommelier Certification, then to Japan and the United Kingdom to work at top restaurants. In addition to his tableside work, he has competed in numerous wine pairing & sommelier competitions, has been an integral team member in wine events such as the Judgment of BC and the Best of BC Sommelier Competition, was on the founding Board of Directors for the Canadian Association of Professional Sommelier – BC Chapter, and in 2016 was awarded Sommelier of the Year through Vancouver Magazine. Roger is always happy share his knowledge by pouring for various wine associations at events, as well as offering his growing acumen to restaurateurs and wine importers.

Scott Cowan

Sommelier, Mallard Cottage
Consultant, Grafting Beverage Solutions
St. John’s, Newfoundland

For 17 years Scott Cowan immersed himself in restaurant culture in St. John’s, taking one intermission to assist in the beverage program and training of seven restaurants at AAA-Four Diamond Fairmont Château Lake Louise, which had grossed the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence. Completing his certification in Seattle through the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2013, Scott has delighted in helping guests and colleagues throughout the ever-growing expanse of farm-to-table restaurants in Newfoundland. Scott has been preparing for the exam using the principles generously provided by Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas of New Zealand, and Seamus Dooley, who represented Canada in the Competition of Best Young Sommelier in the World held by Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.

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Sean Dolenuck

Sommelier & Licensee Sales Manager
De Nardi Wines
Winnipeg MB, Canada

Sean Dolenuck is a professional Sommelier and restaurant specialist with La Boutique del Vino.

He holds the Professional Sommelier Diploma from CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers) as well as a Diploma in Hotel and Restaurant management from SAIT (Calgary), and has been involved in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, specializing in fine dining. Sean has worked at some of the best restaurants in both Calgary and Winnipeg. His passion for wine and the hospitality industry moved him to Winnipeg for his Sommelier studies, and that opened the door to his current position as a Manager of Licensee Sales with La Boutique del Vino.

He offers Sommelier service including developing wine lists, marketing, training staff and management, cost controls and implementing sales strategies.

Sean has joined the Manitoba Restaurant and Food Association as an Associate Board Member where he is able to provide his experience and education to assist with current and future developments.

Sean was awarded the best Sommelier in Manitoba for 2015/2016 and competed in the Canadian nationals in Toronto in March 2015.

He is also responsible for creating a continuing education program with CAPS Manitoba helping with education and tasting seminars for Sommeliers and aspiring Sommeliers from 2015 to 2017.  In January of 2020 Sean joined the CAPS Manitoba Executive Board as Vice President and looks forward to assisting and education both current and future Sommeliers.

Sean is happy to speak about wine whenever he can; he feels that passion and personality are his best qualities when it comes to the wine world, offering a fun and refreshing approach.

Over-delivering Malbec; ever-elegant Pinot Noir; and reality-bending high quality Priorat are some of Sean’s particular wine loves. He is also a keen teacher and competitor: he teaches martial arts as a 4th Degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

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Sean Nelson

Somm Wine Guy Consulting
Vancouver BC, Canada

Sean Nelson is a lifelong hospitality professional with a passion for wine. That passion has led him to travel and work around the world, pursue formal education through the WSET’s Intermediate and Advanced certifications, French Wine Scholar Program, as well as passing the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Examination on the first attempt. From 2014 to 2018 he was Wine Director for the internationally renowned Vij’s Restaurant. In that time, Vij’s Restaurant received Platinum at the Vancouver Wine Festival Awards of Excellence for 2016, 2017, and 2018 and in 2017 was named one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 10 Wine Restaurants in Canada. In 2018, Sean was crowned BC Sommelier of the Year by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and, as the first Canadian to ever compete, won the Somm Slam Competition at the International Chefs Congress in New York. He is the Founder of Somm Wine Guy Consulting, a full-service wine consulting company that hosts private tastings, provides wine list development, staff-training services, curates private cellar collections, custom wine travel itineraries, and the BC based Somm Wine Club. You can connect with Sean through his website http://sommwineguy.com or social media under the handle @SommWineGuy

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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, Canada

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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Véronique Rivest

Sommelier & Owner, Soif Bar à Vin
Gatineau QB, Canada

Véronique is one of the most respected sommeliers in Canada and abroad, with over thirty years’ experience in the hospitality and retail industries, in education and consulting. Canada’s Best Sommelier in 2006 and 2012, and Best Sommelier of the Americas in 2012, she placed in the top 12 at the World’s Best Sommelier Competition in 2007 and 2010. In March 2013, she became the first woman to make a podium at the World’s Best Sommelier Competition, by taking 2nd place.

In 2014, Véronique opened SOIF Wine Bar in Gatineau, Quebec, a place to share and learn around wine.

Named Wine Woman in Paris in 2007, Véronique is also a talented speaker and writer, a set of skills that has led her to teach, broadcast and write in many wine and food magazines, radio and TV programs, to give lectures and train fellow sommeliers around the world. Since 2015, she is the wine columnist for La Presse newspaper, and since 2016 the sommelier for Air Canada.

Beyond all these recognitions, Veronique remains genuine and approachable, with an infectious enthusiasm about sharing the great pleasures of wine.

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