Fine Vintage wine course instructors are considered amongst the best in the business worldwide.
James Cluer - Various cities
James 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.
Philip Goodband MW - Tuscany WSET & Wine Tours
One of only 312 Masters of Wine world wide, Philip Goodband is a true wine professional, Vintners Scholar and former Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine. His travels have taken him around the globe, resulting in his unique blend of knowledge and experience.
His professional skills are put to good use through his appointment as Chair of Judges at the International Wine and Spirit Competition, and through his international consultancy work which has brought him many awards and personal honours. Philip served as wine adviser to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother for over a decade.
He is a WSET certified educator with a truly approachable and engaging style, which has been much in evidence at the BBC Good Food Show, on TV and the Internet. He currently holds the position as a senior lecturer at the International Wine and Spirit School in London and for Fine Vintage in Calgary and Florence. www.philipgoodband.com
James Lawther MW - Bordeaux Wine Tours
James Lawther MW is an independent wine writer based in Bordeaux. He is a contributing editor to Decanter and writes for other international publications including The World of Fine Wine. He also lectures on wine, participates as an international wine judge and acts as a guide to wine regions in France and Spain, notably for Fine Vintage. He became a Master of Wine in 1993. He is the author of The Heart of Bordeaux and The Finest Wines of Bordeaux and has contributed to a number of books including The Global Encyclopedia of Wine, Wines of the World, Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book and Oz Clarke's Bordeaux.
Stephen Skelton MW - WSET Diploma
Stephen Skelton started his career in wine in 1975. After 12 months working at Schloss Schönborn in Germany’s Rheingau winegrowing region and attending the famous Geisenheim Wine School, he returned to the UK in 1977 to establish Tenterden Vineyards in Kent where he made wine for 23 vintages. He was also winemaker at Lamberhurst Vineyards, then the UK’s largest wine producer, between 1988 and 1991.
He became a Master of Wine in 2003, and won the prestigious Robert Mondavi Prize for the highest marks in the Theory part of the examination. In 2005 he was awarded the AXA Millésimes award for his contribution to the work of the MW Education Committee. In 2014 he was elected to be Deputy Vice Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine. Stephen is a consultant to the English wine industry and is involved with planting vineyards for the production of both still and sparkling wines. Since 1986 he has written and lectured widely on English wine and has published four guides to UK vineyards, the 2001 edition of which won the André Simon award for ‘Wine Book of the Year’. He lectures for Fine Vintage at the Diploma level.
David Munro - Vancouver, Okanagan and Edmonton
Dave 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 - Vancouver and Victoria
Lynn 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!
Chris Giroux - Vancouver and Victoria
Chris is originally from Victoria and has more than 15 years' experience in the wine industry. Having worked in both the kitchen and service fields in restaurants, Chris spent several years at the famous Walliser Stube Wine Bar at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. After years at the Chateau, Chris found himself back in Vancouver as a Sommelier at the Wedgewood Hotel. Chris went on to complete all levels of ISG and the WSET Diploma, and won the Sommelier Challenge at the 2008 Vancouver Wine Festival.
After 15 years in the restaurant and hotel industries, Chris jumped into the importing and selling side of the wine business. This opportunity has taken him to many wine regions around the world, including several months in Bordeaux. When not teaching with Fine Vintage, Chris is the Director of Sales for Vintage Corks Ltd; a Vancouver-based wine agency that represents such exclusive estates as Scarecrow, Dana Estates, Biondi Santi, and Marques de Murrietta.
Chris is an engaging instructor with a passion to share his experienced and knowledge with others. His laid-back style and sense of humour create a relaxed learning environment for students’ a perfect fit for Fine Vintage!
Marcus Ansems MW - Penticton & elsewhere
Marcus became a Master of Wine in 2015, one of the few in Canada to achieve this credential. He lives in the Okanagan Valley where he runs a small organic winery called Daydreamer Wines. He also consults as a Buyer to a Wine Club, and has a number of other Consultancies.
Born in Australia he fell in love with wine as a young boy helping with vintage in his native home. He graduated from the prestigious Adelaide University with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Oenology major) in 1997 and since then has worked over 30 vintages around the world in Europe, South Africa, Australia and Canada.
Marcus is an outstanding educator who can draw on his vast experience in grape growing, winemaking, and tasting from over 20 years in the wine industry. An imposing man, a gentle giant with a friendly smile, you’ll be engaged and inspired by his warm and fun approach to wine education.
Mike Lee - Okanagan Valley
Mike comes from the UK where he spent 24 years as a professional teacher. After moving to the Okanagan he now combines his two great passions: wine and teaching. Mike successfully completed the prestigious WSET Diploma program in 2011 and is extending his wine education through the French Wine Society, currently specialising in the wines of Burgundy.
Mike has extensive knowledge of the Okanagan wine industry, as well as many of the world’s most famous wine regions. He has traveled and tasted throughout France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.
He is currently the winery Sommelier at Quails’ Gate in the Okanagan Valley where his in-depth knowledge on food and wine pairing is put to good use. He also oversees the wine program and runs tailored education programs for the staff. He has also judged at Okanagan Wine Competitions.
Mike's engaging, unpretentious, and relaxed style is coupled with his passion for wine and his obvious love of interacting and engaging with his students.
Marnie Harfield - Calgary
Marnie Harfield, based in Calgary, has taught thousands of wine lovers throughout North America and abroad.
She brings with her a vast array of practical experience, including 25+ years in the hospitality industry, many of those as Sommelier/Wine Director, in which she ran award-winning wine programs. She has also spent time working in wineries, the retail industry and, of course, wine education. Along with the practical experience, she has an array of certifications, which include the WSET Diploma, ISG Diploma, French Wine Society Scholar and Bordeaux Master.
All of this combined with 15+ years experience as a wine educator, her dynamic style is down-to-earth, interactive, informative and fun.
Jennifer Book - Calgary
Jennifer 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.
Matthew Leslie - Calgary
Hailing from Toronto, Matt permanently relocated to Calgary in 2012. Surrounded by food and beverage over 15 years in restaurants and hospitality around the world, it was during a law degree in Melbourne he realised a true passion for wine. Beginning his formal wine studies recently, Matt has quickly excelled through the WSET programs and the Court of Master Sommeliers Certified course. Currently, he’s completing the WSET Diploma Program, setting his sites on the MW program thereafter.
Matt brings international teaching experience to Fine Vintage where his approachable style engages students, encouraging them to flourish in and out of the classroom.
He can be found at one of his three desks, surrounded by bottles, books and many highlighters.
Matt Browman - Calgary
Matt's background in wine and food goes back to 1988, and spans restaurant management, retail management, journalism, judging, and education. Matt earned the ISG diploma in 2000, the WSET diploma in 2002, and the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Certificate in 2002.
Originally from Ancaster, Ontario, Matt was the sommelier at the Queen's Landing Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and worked at North 44 in Toronto as a sommelier. He moved to Calgary in 2002 where he opened and operated Fine Vintage Ltd.'s Calgary WSET school in 2006, opened the retailer Vinestone Wine Co. in Cochrane, and managed the Highlander Wine & Spirits operations through 2015.
As well as instructing with Fine Vintage, Matt writes for local magazines, consults to wine and spirits businesses on training, and has judged at several important wine award competitions. Matt's relaxed and engaging style comes from almost thirty years of teaching experience, whether karate, writing courses, or WSET.
David Lawrason - Toronto
David 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.
Sara d'Amato - Toronto
Sara is a Toronto-based wine consultant, sommelier, wine critic and principal partner with WineAlign.com. She has worked in cellars both in Niagara and in France, formerly as Sommelier of Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto and is currently Vice President of the Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.
She is a member of the Wine Writer’s Circle of Canada, travels extensively and judges wine competitions across the country and abroad. A prolific writer, she is columnist for Chatelaine magazine, WineAlign and a number of print and online publications. Sara is fluent in both French and English as is a graduate of the University of Toronto as well as Niagara College’s Wine and Viticulture program.
John Szabo, MS - Toronto
Master Sommelier John Szabo was the first Canadian to add the "MS" after his name in 2004. Over the last 20 years he's seen the hospitality business from all sides including cooking and washing dishes, serving and sommellerie, importing, teaching, writing, speaking, consulting and judging wine internationally. John is a partner and principal critic for WineAlign.com, Canada's largest wine publication, and wine columnist for Ricardo, ModaLina, and CityBites Magazines. He writes occasionally for US-based Wine & Spirits Magazine, and has published in dozens of other magazines and newspapers. His books include Pairing Food and Wine For Dummies (Wiley, December 2012), and Sommelier Management (Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, Revised Edition 2013). But volcanoes are John's current fatal attraction; his next book, Volcanic Wines, Salt, Grit and Power, is due out September 2016.
John teaches regularly for the Court of Master Sommeliers, as well as the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and he consults on restaurant beverage programs, from small neighborhood operations to national chains. And to get closer to the land, he is a partner in the small J&J Eger vineyard in Hungary. www.twitter.com/johnszabo
Lyn Farmer - Miami
Lyn Farmer is a James Beard Award-winning wine and food writer and educator who has been sharing his passion for wine with South Florida for 25 years. He is widely considered to be one of the leading wine experts in the United States.
Lyn is certified by the Society of Wine Educators and the Sake Education Council and was a US ambassador for the Champagne region and the Port Wine Institute. Formerly wine and spirits ambassador for Silversea Cruises, he was also restaurant critic of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper, the Miami Herald and other publications.
He is Director of VeritageMiami, a popular wine festival that attracts thousands of wine lovers, and is the arts ambassador of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. Author of the wine, food and lifestyle blog Engaging the Senses, he also hosts a daily radio program about wine and has seemingly interviewed everyone from Robert Mondavi to Julia Child. We are honored to have Lyn’s gentlemanly and good humored style, and wealth of knowledge, at the helm teaching at our WSET school in Florida.
Fernando Beteta MS- Chicago
Fernando Beteta, one of 230 Master Sommeliers in the world, is currently the Education and Social Technology Director for Tenzing Wine & Spirits. A Guatemalan native, Beteta caught the wine bug in his parent's restaurants, which led to him attending the Hotel Management School in Lausanne Switzerland. He has overseen wine programs at various award winning restaurants including the Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel) and NoMI at the Park Hyatt Chicago, where he oversaw a wine cellar that contained over 10,000 bottles. He represented the United States in International Sommelier competitions and was First Runner Up for The Best Sommelier in America.
Named one of America's Best New Sommeliers by Wine & Spirits magazine and featured on both Crain's Chicago Business and Wine Enthusiast list of "40 under 40"; Beteta share his passion for wine and education on a weekly basis at Tenzing.
Viktorija Todorovska - Chicago
Viktorija 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.