Wine is for Everyone

About me

Who am I?

The short answer is: I’m a sommelier and wine educator and I live in Toronto, Canada.

The long answer is:

I have always loved wine. In fact, my mom has a story she tells about me when I was ten. We were flying somewhere and my sister and I were seated away from my parents. As they took our dinner orders, the flight attendent came to my parents to say I had ordered wine with my dinner, was that ok?

at 10

A portrait of the sommelier as a young woman

Of course, for a long time it hadn’t occurred to me that I could turn wine into my livelihood.

After university, like many people my age, I fell into web design. I met my now-husband, a computer scientist, and we eventually started a little web development company that specialized in e-learning solutions. A few years after that, our main client hired my husband into a full-time role and I was stuck trying to figure out what I would do next. Do I find a new programmer and start my own company? Do I find a full-time project management role for myself (one visit to a suburban telecom’s office told me probably not)?

It was time for a backup plan. Law school. I applied to a bunch, and was eventually accepted by one I thought I could afford, but I was still unsure and deferred the plan for a year. This is where things got interesting for me.

I wanted to take a cooking class – really I wanted to learn super awesome knife skills so I could chop and dice like a chef on tv. I wanted something that would get me out of the house one evening a week and give me something to do besides agonize over my future and all the scary changes I was going to have to make in my life. Instead, I signed up for a two-weekend workshop to take place in Niagara, one learning about winemaking, the other weekend viticulture. I don’t remember making this decision.

I didn’t actually realize these courses were part of the sommelier program. I had to sit an entrance exam, and was one of the students who passed – not all did. Even when I started the course, I wasn’t committed to doing the whole thing. After all, I was going to law school the next year. Only I didn’t. And I loved every minute of the program and have never lost the feeling of gratitude I have for having fallen into something I enjoy so much.

Today I am certified as a professional sommelier by two organizations, the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) (whose board I sit on) and the Court of Master Sommeliers (a US/UK institution) and have completed the Level 4 Diploma of Wine from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (in the UK) which is the last step before approaching Master of Wine studies.

Hard at Work?

Challenging, but fun

I have done well in competition and was named the 2010 Vintages “Go Local” Tasting Champion by the LCBO (our provincial liquor monopoly in Ontario) as well as winning the Spirits portion of the Wine Tasting Challenge in both 2014 and 2009.

I’ve worked for restaurants like Susur, Note Bene, the Fifth Grill and FRANK at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Today, I teach wine classes at the local culinary college and I do plenty of consulting and events for the wine industry, corporate groups and consumers. I’ve run in-home monthly wine “clubs” and designed restaurant wine lists.

I feel very strongly that a love of wine has enriched my life and opened my eyes to nature, people, geography, travel, culture, food, life and a million other things in ways I could never have appreciated otherwise. And I so want to bring that pleasure to you!

 

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