Christopher is co-founder and editor of VINES, a Canadian wine lifestyle magazine, and the national wine writer for Sun Media. His weekly column, Waters & Wine, appears in newspapers across the country. His work in VINES merited an Ontario Tourism Wine Journalism Award. An international wine judge and educator, Waters is also Wine Appreciation Coordinator at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute.
Marlize is a South African winegrower and graduate of the Stellenbosch University Viticulture and Oenology program who moved to Niagara in 2005. She is the winemaker at Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery where she's pursued her passion since 2010, working with her favourite varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Previously the winemaker at Flat Rock Cellars and 2013 recipient of the Ontario Winemaker of the Year Award, she continues her commitment to producing ultra premium wines on the Beamsville Bench.
Peter is a 25-year veteran of the hospitality and wine industry as a wine educator, certified sommelier, marketing director, restaurant general manager and sales, marketing and events consultant. He has been a judge for the Canadian Wine Awards, Cuvée Experts Tasting and is a Fellow of the Ontario Hostelry Institute. Peter is currently director of online education for the International Sommelier Guild, wine advisor to the National Golf Club of Canada and teaches Wine and Spirits Education Trust classes at Brock University. This is his third year as judge for the Intervin Wine Awards.
Linda Bramble • Sommelier • Educator
Linda holds credentials from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and the International Sommelier Guild as well as a Ph.D. in philosophy and education. She has shared her passion for and knowledge of wine through teaching for the Canadian Association of Sommeliers and at Brock University’s Cool Climate and Oenology Institute. Linda has been a wine judge on several panels, published five books on wine, food and travel and has contributed articles to several national and international publications.
Jamie was born in Scotland and began working as a sommelier for U.K.’s Michelin Guide's recognized Atrium restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland while studying with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. After immigrating to Canada in 1997, he was the sommelier at Toronto’s Granite Club. In 2004, he became the sommelier for Jamie Kennedy’s string of successful restaurants. Jamie now acts as director of operations/senior editor of Good Food Media, a non-profit dedicated to educating people about good food (and wine!) through the weekly online publication Good Food Revolution.
Courtney has been a fixture on the Canadian wine scene since graduating from the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) in 2006. She got her start at the prestigious Fairmont Royal York Hotel, where she was the sommelier in charge of an award-winning cellar and the assistant manager of the four-diamond restaurant, Epic. She later moved on to the Art Gallery of Ontario, where she opened the critically acclaimed Frank restaurant and ran the wine program for the gallery. Courtney has served on numerous tasting panels for many distinguished restaurants and competitions and sat on the board of Terroir, a yearly food and wine symposium aimed at educating those within the hospitality trade.
After spending nearly 10 years as a reporter working for some of Canada's biggest news agencies, including CTV, the Canadian Press and 680 News, Erin decided to turn in her microphone for a corkscrew and join her sister in the wine world. Graduating from the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers in 2008, Erin has worked as an assistant manager for the renowned Canadian restaurant Canoe, and spent several years as the sommelier and food & beverage manager at the exclusive private members' club The Badminton & Racquet Club of Toronto. An accomplished writer, Erin frequently writes about her wine adventures and, with her sister, is a regular contributor to Tonic Magazine and huffingtonpost.ca.
Jay has dedicated himself to winemaking and viticulture in Ontario, specializing in small-lot, ultra premium wines from the Beamsville Bench. His passion for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Bordeaux varietals has given him an opportunity to work with some of the best producers in the region, including Hidden Bench Vineyards, Thirty Bench Winery, Le Clos Jordanne, Stratus Vineyards and Cave Spring Cellars, prior to taking on his new role as Winemaker at Flatrock Cellars.
April has been a sommelier in Toronto restaurants for more than 15 years. A returning InterVin judge, she has many awards and accolades to her credit, including being named Ontario’s Best Sommelier through the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers in 2004 and Best Sommelier in Toronto in the January 2008 issue of Wine Business International.
Craig is an Australian winemaker who has worked 28 vintages in four countries and now calls Niagara home. A strong belief that only great vineyards make great wine sees Craig actively working with growers and tending Trius Winery’s 260 acres in the pursuit of that perfect grape! Craig is a staunch believer in the potential of Niagara and believes that, despite their recent success, the best is yet to come from the winery's vineyards and winemakers. He welcomes the opportunity to taste with the public and showcase just how far they have come. His favourite variety to work with is Sauvignon Blanc.
Natale Lofaro is in his fifteenth year with the LCBO, working as a product consultant in Ottawa. Natale has been teaching for the last 16 years in Algonquin College’s sommelier program. He holds a diploma from the WSET and was the recipient of the Brian Kirkwood Memorial Award. He is also an accredited sommelier and holds certificates in Winemaking, Vticulture and Wine Marketing from Napa Valley College. Natale is a former director of National Capital Sommelier Guild.
Lorie is sommelier at TOCA, the signature restaurant at the newly opened Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. A Niagara native who is currently working towards her Master Sommelier designation, she is also assistant sommelier in the Platinum Club restaurant, located in the Air Canada Centre and developed an award-winning wine list for restaurants like The Lakeview in Toronto.
Rob worked for 10 years as a sommelier in Toronto before moving to Niagara with his wife to study at Brock University's Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). After graduation, he immediately joined Creekside as assistant winemaker, becoming head winemaker shortly thereafter. Voted Winemaker of the Year in 2008, Rob also teaches WSET courses at Brock University.
Sue-Ann Staff is a multi-international award-winning winemaker producing wines at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery in Jordan, ON. In addition, she's winemaker at Megalomaniac in Vineland, ON, where she liases with its sister property Chateau La Confession, St.Emilion, Bordeaux, France. Sue-Ann also serves as president of the Twenty Valley Tourism Association and director for the WCO.
Zoltan Szabo is one of the most recognizable personalities of the Canadian Sommelier scene. For over twenty years in the industry and three continents – wide resume, he has garnered international recognition. Clients include the Tokaj Renaissance, Wine Council of Ontario, Skyline Boutique Hotels & Resorts and Trump International Hotel, just to mention a few. With TV, radio and video blog appearances by the dozen throughout the years, Szabo had become a mainstay character of the global wine trade. He consults, writes, educates and judges for some of the most elite organizations, competitions and media forums. Member of the Canadian Wine Writers’ Circle, Zoltan also voices his opinion about wine and the finer aspects of life over social media outlets.
Lydia has served as head winemaker at Hernder Estate Wines and Harvest Estate Wines since 2006. A graduate of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute at Brock University and a recent recipient of an Alumni of Distinction Award, Tomek is also an award-winning winemaker who worked at Hillebrand Estates and Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate prior to joining Hernder and Harvest. She was named as one of the Ontario Hostelry Institute’s Top 30 Under 30.
James is the sommelier-owner of Treadwell Farm-to-Table Cuisine in Port Dalhousie – considered by many to have Canada’s finest selection of Ontario wines. Before opening the restaurant, James worked as sommelier at the Relais & Chateaux, Michelin star-rated Chewton Glen Hotel in England and Queen’s Landing Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake. He has travelled to the wine regions of France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Daenna is a Vancouver-based wine writer, international wine judge, accredited sommelier, speaker and the publisher of WineDiva.ca and WineScores.ca. She is a regular contributor to VINES Magazine as well as TASTE Magazine. Daenna can also be heard weekly on the Tasting Room Radio (on stations throughout B.C. and Alberta) and she has been published in numerous local and internationally distributed publications.
Jennifer Wilhelm • Sommelier • Educator Jennifer is a CAPS certified sommelier and holds credentials from WSET. She is wine program coordinator at Niagara College and an instructor within several wine programs including the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. In 2010, she was awarded Wine Educator of the Year through Brock University’s Promote the Promoters Awards. Jennifer is also sommelier at the Mark Picone Culinary Studio in Vineland, has been a wine judge, speaks at seminars and provides staff training in hospitality and wine service.