Instructors

Fine Vintage wine course instructors are considered amongst the best in the business worldwide.

James Cluer - Various cities

James CluerJames instructs the courses periodically in various cities. He has 22 years of experience in the wine trade, having worked at wineries in Bordeaux, Australia, Napa Valley and the Okanagan. For several years he was the Export Director for a French negociant, and also worked for an Ontario import agency.

He spends his time running Fine Vintage which operates in 15 countries. He is the GM of two wineries in Canada, runs wine tours to 10 destinations around the world, is the Buyer for a major airline in the Middle East, runs 8 wine jobs sites, and 2 wine clubs in Canada and the USA. He judges at competitions, writes for The Vancouver Sun, makes videos on wineries and works for cruise lines and hotel groups.

He passed the Diploma in 1997, the Master of Wine in 2008, and has visited the vast majority of wine regions in the world. His style is to make the courses fun and engaging and he especially enjoys teaching the Level 1 and 2 courses, introducing people to the fascinating world of wine.

Megan Mallen - Vancouver & Victoria

pic-Megan MallenMegan is in the second year of her Master of Wine studies and is preparing to sit the final examinations. She holds the WSET Diploma, has visited all of the major European and American wine regions, and is one of the leading wine educators in British Columbia.

She began her wine career as co-founder of Canada's first wine and technology conference, Vinocamp. Currently she divides her time as an instructor with Fine Vintage and working with a western Canadian import agency in key accounts sales, thereby having in-depth knowledge of sales and marketing in addition to winemaking and grape growing. Megan has worked as wine editor and writer for BC's gourmet food and wine magazine At The Table, and assisted in the 2011 harvest with Okanagan winery, Le Vieux Pin.

Megan studied classical theatre at Oxford University and is therefore a very entertaining and fun-loving instructor with an ability to engage and bring the subject to life.

David Munro - Vancouver, Kelowna and Edmonton

David MunroDave is in his first year of the Master of Wine programme and has fifteen years of experience as an educator. He works with Fine Vintage as the right hand man to James Cluer, Managing the wine tour business and assisting with Consultancy clients.

Dave started his career in New Zealand where he worked with restaurants, retail, and exporters before returning to Canada and pursuing his WSET studies, completing the Level 4 Diploma. His travels have taken him throughout South America, Australia, South Africa, North America, and a number of European wine regions. David also recently became a Certified Sake Professional.

His contagious enthusiasm and entertaining sense of humour makes learning fun. He always gets some of our best exam results and reviews.

Lynn Coulthard - Okanagan Valley

Lynn CoulthardLynn is now in the final year of her Master of Wine studies. She holds the prestigious WSET Diploma, is a certified Sommelier and has qualified as a Spanish Wine Educator through the Wine Academy of Spain. With the study of spirits being a secondary passion she went onto to achieve her Certified Spirits Specialist credentials through the North American Society of Wine Educators.

She has worked in the hospitality and wine retail industries for over 20 years. Her wide range of experience includes over 6 years of Food and Beverage Management with Four Seasons Hotels, three years as Wine Director for both Cin Cin and West restaurants, and has held management positions with Liberty Wine Merchants running some of the largest stores in B.C.

Lynn is mad about wine and exudes passion when she teaches. Her laid back and entertaining style is always a big hit. She has traveled extensively, spending time in several wine regions such as Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany and the Americas. She has also run courses for the Canadian government's BCLDB, Fairmont Hotels and Qatar Airways in the Middle East. Lynn is the lead instructor for Fine Vintage and travels extensively to teach. In addition to working with Fine Vintage she teaches the wine programs for UBC Continuing Studies. You'll love Lynn!

Katherine McEachnie - British Columbia

Katherine McEachnieIn terms of qualifications, Katherine is in the final year of the Master of Wine program, holds the WSET Diploma, is a French Wine Scholar, and a certified Wine Educator. She has studied Viticulture and Wine Production at Plumpton College in England, at UC Davis in California, and The Wine Academy in the south of France. Frankly, she's a walking encyclopedia.

Katherine has worked in the wine industry for over 20 years, including a job as a Buyer for BC Liquor Stores. She currently serves as a Judge at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London and has travelled to almost every single wine region on the planet. If you'd like to know something about wine then ask Katherine.

Steeve BrydenSteeve Bryden - British Columbia

Steeve has travelled extensively through the wine regions of Europe, South America, Australasia and North America. He's a compulsive traveler. He passed the prestigious WSET Diploma in 2012. A self-professed aromaphile, he's been fascinated by scents ever since he was young. To him, wine is intriguing because the array of aromas is so wide-ranging.

An enthusiastic educator for more than 15 years, he obtained a BA in History from the University of Toronto and a diploma in Adult Education from the University of Cambridge. He is an engaging, dynamic presenter whose classes are fun and instructional. When not having a glass of wine, he enjoys photography, learning new languages, sailing, and running with his dog.

Marnie Harfield - Calgary

Marnie HarfieldMarnie Harfield, based in Calgary, has taught thousands of wine lovers in Texas, Arizona, and Alberta. She spent a year at Brock University taking Viticulture and Oenology, returning west to pursue her wine education, eventually achieving both the WSET Diploma and ISG Diploma. She strives to continually update her knowledge and education.

She is a qualified Sommelier and has spent over 20 years in the hospitality industry, including managing and running wine programs at a host of fine dining restaurants. She has in-depth knowledge on food and wine pairing, and experience building award winning wine lists.

She has almost 10 years of experience in wine education. To enhance her classroom experience, she has furthered her education with an Adult Educator Certificate. Her dynamic style is down-to-earth, interactive, informative and fun.

Jennifer Book - Calgary

Jennifer BookJennifer has two degrees, a bachelor's and a Master's, but once she'd completed those she discovered wine, and started studying all over again. She embarked on the Master of Wine program, has the ISG Diploma, and achieved the Top Canadian Graduate Award in the WSET Diploma in 2012 – quite an honor, especially given the prize of a free trip to Australia's top wine regions.

Jennifer has taught top level WSET and Sommelier courses for several years, and comes from a family of teachers. She draws on her experience working in restaurants, with a boutique winery, wine retail along with substantial tasting experience. Her easy-going style and friendly disposition make classes fun, relaxed and informative – the perfect combination. She especially loves South America and California.

David Lawrason - Toronto, Ottawa & Montreal

David LawrasonDavid Lawrason is arguably the leading wine expert in Canada, and is certainly the top wine writer in Ontario with 28 years of experience, and counting.

He has been an educator since 1986, running courses in Toronto, Ottawa and all over Ontario. For many years he was the wine columnist for the Globe and Mail, founder of Wine Access Magazine, and he is currently writing for Toronto Life and Ottawa magazines. He is also VP of WineAlign.com, Canada's busiest wine review website. He is also National Wine Advisor to the Gold Medal Plates Olympic fundraising program.

Over the years he has conducted hundreds of wine classes and seminars for consumer, corporate and trade clients, including sommelier programs at Humber, Niagara and George Brown Colleges in Ontario. He has a very gentlemanly style, thoughtful, considered, and easy to listen to. He is without question one of the best educators in the wine industry.

Brent FraserBrent Fraser - Ontario

Brent has over 17 years experience in the hospitality and wine business. Brent holds Diplomas from both the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the International Sommelier Guild (ISG) and has traveled extensively throughout the great wine regions of France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.. He is currently the Sommelier at the prestigious Granite Club in Toronto where he oversees the wine program.

 

Viktorija Todorovska - Chicago

Viktorija TodorovskaViktorija is a wine educator and writer based in Chicago. She teaches wine to professionals and non-professionals and leads wine tastings, making topics such as grape varietals, wine styles, food pairings, and tasting wine easy to understand. Viktorija is an accredited Sommelier (International Sommelier Guide), French Wine Scholar (French Wine Academy), and Certified Specialist of Wine (Society of Wine Educators).

Viktorija has been passionate about wine since her days of stomping grapes when her family made wine from obscure Macedonian varietals. She has played a variety of roles in the industry: wine retail and wholesales, consultant for restaurants and wine regions, wine instructor, and writer.

Viktorija has written several books on the wines and foods of Italian and French regions. Her latest book, Provence Food and Wine: The Art of Living introduces readers to dry, aromatic, and fruity rosé and offers delicious recipe pairings. Viktorija is currently working on a book about the wines, spirits, and foods of the Southwest of France.

When she is not sipping wine and teaching classes in Chicago and its surroundings, Viktorija can be found traveling the wine regions of the world, soaking up new knowledge and discovering interesting wines and the stories of the people who make them.

Agi Toth - Chicago, IL

Agi TothAgi Toth holds the WSET Diploma, is a Certified Sommelier, and currently the Wine Director of the prestigious and private Metropolitan Club in Willis Tower, better known as the Sears Tower. She has managed several other top wine programs including the Michelin starred Andre’s in Las Vegas.

In her efforts to better understand the process of winemaking, she took part in vineyard research and management at UC Davis Cooperative Extension in northern California culminating with the production of her own wine.

Once she obtained the WSET Level IV Diploma she made a commitment to pass on her knowledge in an approachable style. Her dedication to quality wine education has extended to her peers in the culinary and hospitality industry, corporate clients and the everyday wine enthusiast through events and published articles.

She has been invited as a guest speaker on several radio shows including Martha Stewart’s Everyday Living sharing her thoughts on wine and food pairings and the art of tasting wine. She furthers her own understanding of wine by judging at wine competitions, traveling the world’s vineyards and wineries and writing about her experiences on her blog.

Tara O'Leary - Florida

Tara O'LearyTara holds the Level 4 Diploma from the WSET, and is also a Certified Educator. She is accredited by the Society of Wine Educators as a Certified Specialist of Wine, is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers and has served as judge at major annual international wine competitions.

A former head sommelier at some of London's top restaurants, Tara has also lived and worked on the east and west coasts of the US. She has travelled extensively throughout the world's vineyards meeting, talking, touring and tasting with talented winemakers from the Douro to Niagara, Burgundy to South Africa, Napa, Champagne, the Loire and beyond.

Currently based in Ft Lauderdale Tara is an independent wine specialist with a focus on wine writing and managing social media for all segments of the wine industry. Her popular blog, Wine Passionista, is where she shares her passion as an enthusiastic teacher and cheerleader of mainstream wine drinkers helping them become more informed and have a confident, fun experience with wine - all delivered with a dash of flair, addictive enthusiasm and zero snobbery.

Elaine Marshall – San Francisco and Napa valley

Elaine MarshallElaine Marshall is the Manager of the Fine Vintage Wine Club in the USA as well as Sunset Magazine’s Wine Club. She is a faculty member of the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, and the Founder of First Street Wine Company in Livermore.

She has over fifteen years of experience in the wine business. He has worked as a Sommelier, a producer of private-label wine, and as a wine judge for many California wine competitions. She is also a current instructor for the Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin in e-commerce marketing and a member of the Chevaliers du Taste-Vin.

A specialist in New World wines, she has studied extensively the wines of California, Australia, and the Pacific Northwest, tasting hundreds of wines annually as part of her Master of Wine studies. Her wine reviews have been published in Diablo Magazine and in various on-line newsletters. When not fully immersed in the world of wine, Elaine is an avid tennis player, singer and sailor.

Maurizio ColiaMaurizio Colia - Florence, Italy

Maurizio speaks perfect English, having studied winemaking at UC Davis in California and spent years working as a top Sommelier at Michelin restaurants in London. He is an official WSET educator and is enrolled in the MW course. He also owns a small vineyard in Chianti Classico where he produces a small amount of delicious wine.

He graduated from hotel management school, then worked as Sommelier on cruise ships that took him to visit many of the world’s wine regions. With his passion ignited he took dozens of courses from the WSET and at oenology schools in California. Today he helps manage the Antinori 1 star Michelin restaurant at Osteria Badia Passignano in Chianti Classico and instructs wine to both professionals and general interest winelovers.

Filippo MagnaniFilippo Magnani - Tuscany, Italy

Filippo Magnani lives in Tuscany and is one of the most respected wine authorities in the region. Why? He is responsible for the major press tours and student trips to the region for the local governments, and takes over 1000 people per year to visit the great estates. He has in-depth knowledge of Tuscany and all Italian regions.

He has the WSET Diploma, speaks German, English and French. He's visited many of the world's wine regions. He is a writer for Vinicolo magazine, and a member of the prestigious Circle of Wine Writers. Most of all Filippo is fun, outgoing, entertaining and a great instructor.