Experts Tasting / VQA Promoters Awards

Experts Tasting / VQA Promoters Awards

The Experts Tasting is an annual by-invitation-only event designed for the trade – invited guests include media, product consultants, sommeliers and wine educators who promote VQA wines through education and/or promotion.  The very popular educational tasting has been running for more than twenty years. Typically varietal theme based having tackled Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Sparkling among others but the tasting has also covered Sub-Appellations, the Art of the Blend, Rising Whites and 'New to Ontario' (blends & techniques).

For further information on your opportunity to attend please contact Barb Tatarnic at

The VQA Promoters Awards
The VQA Promoters Awards are given annually at the Experts Tasting held on Cuvée weekend. The awards are designed to recognize individuals who have consistently promoted VQA wines through education and/or promotion in the areas of retail (LCBO Product Consultants), hospitality, media, education, Promoter-at-Large and Lifetime Achievement.

Mission Statement:  To acknowledge those individuals that celebrate the Ontario VQA wine industry with unselfish enthusiasm, constructive input and unsolicited promotion. 



  • LCBO:  William Mancini, LCBO product consultant, Toronto
  • LCBO:  David Churchill
  • Hospitality:  Erik Peacock, Wellington Court Restaurant
  • Media:  David Lawrason, Toronto Life
  • Promoter-at-Large:  Shawn McCormick,
  • Lifetime Achievement:  Lloyd Schmidt, Viticulturist




  • LCBO:  Charles Ronzio, LCBO product consultant, Waterloo
  • Hospitality:  James Muir, beverage manager and sommelier at the CN Tower's 360 the Restaurant
  • Promoter-at-Large:  Harald Thiel, vigneron and proprietor of Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery and chair of the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration
  • Media:  Rick VanSickle, wine writer




  • LCBO:  Astrid Brummer, LCBO Ontairo Wines Product Manager
  • Hospitality:  John Maxwell, Allen's on the Danforth
  • Promoter-at-Large:  Angelo Pavan, Vice-President and Winemaker, Cave Spring Cellars
  • Lifetime Achievement:  Ken Douglas




  • Media: Suresh Doss, food writer and publisher of the website Spotlight Toronto
  • LCBO: Orest Poluch, LCBO product consultant in Guelph, ON
  • Hospitality: Jeremy Day, owner of Toronto's Café Taste
  • Education: Christopher Waters, editor of Vines Magazine and continuing education educator at Brock University
  • Promoter at Large: Bill Redelmeier, owner of Niagara-based Southbrook Vineyards
  • Lifetime Achievement: Billy Munnelly, wine writer



  • Education: Jennifer Wilhelm
  • Media: Michael Pinkus, Wine Writer
  • Promoter at Large: Ken Burford, President of the Ontario Wine Society



  • Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Allan Jackson, Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery
  • Education: Peter Bodnar Rod, WSET Instructor
  • Hospitality: James Treadwell, Head Sommelier, Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine
  • Hospitality: Stone Road Grille (from left to right in picture): Joe Rutherford, Certified Sommelier; Brett Healey, Certified Sommelier; Ryan Crawford, Chef; Charles Baker, Promoters Award presenter; Heidi Johnson, Owner and Perry Johnson, Owner
  • Media: Lynn Ogryzlo, Writer



  • Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Linda Bramble, Writer and Educator
  • Education: Dr. Janet Dorozynski, Wine Co-ordinator, Trade Commissioner, Canadian Wine, Spirits and Beer, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
  • Hospitality: Sylvia and John Taylor, Owners of Domus Cafe, Ottawa
  • LCBO: Michael Fagan, Product knowledge group
  • Media: Tony Aspler, Wine Writer 



  • Hospitality: Zoltan Szabo
  • Media: Konrad Ejbich
  • Retail: Carol Davies, LCBO, Fairview Mall
  • VIP: Dr. Donald Ziraldo



  • Education: Debi Pratt, Public Relations Manager, Inniskillin Winery
  • Hospitality: April Kilpatrick, Sommelier, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Toronto
  • LCBO: Stephen Blender, LCBO, Owen Sound
  • Media: Walter Sendzik, Executive Vice President and General Manager, St. Catharines Chamber of Commerce
  • VIP: Steven Page, Writer and Musician for the Barenaked Ladies