Our Grads — Where Are They Now?
Carol Anderson
Carol AndersonCarol has taken her Sommelier certification in a different direction. Born in Scotland and a long-time enthusiast of Scotch as well as wine, she launched GrapeScot in the summer of 2008. The company offers Wine and Scotch Consulting, Tasting and Events, and the Scotch side of the business is booming. Since her first taste, applied via a parental finger to sooth teething gums, Carol has been fascinated with Uisge Beatha – the water of life. But it’s not just the wide range of different Scotches that’s of interest to the  individuals, organizations and companies that engage GrapeScot. Customized multi media presentations that accompany the tastings are educational as well as fun, and touch on history, culture, production methods, regions, influences on flavour, how to taste, food and much more. Carol lived in Scotland for half her life and goes back frequently to visit distilleries, climb Munros and share great wine with the French connection side of the family! She also spent a year living and tasting wine in France before graduating with Honours from the Sommelier program in 2007. Her travel and wine articles have been published in the Ottawa Citizen, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Due West/Due East, Outpost Magazine and a debut article on wine tastings will appear in the December 2008 issue of the nationally issued More magazine.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2008 23:43
Stephen Beckta
Stephen BecktaStephen Beckta is proprietor of Beckta dining & wine, one of Ottawa’s premier fine dining restaurants, along with the recently opened Play food & wine. After graduating with honours from Algonquin College’s Sommelier program, Stephen departed Ottawa to hone his skills in New York City for four years with the top players in the restaurant industry. Stephen started at Café Boulud working for the celebrated chef, Daniel Boulud, followed by a stint with renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer at Eleven Madison Park before returning to his native city. Beckta dining & wine has received glowing reviews in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Ottawa Citizen and The Montreal Gazette, being applauded for its extraordinary hospitality, caring customer service and inspired cooking. Just two weeks after opening, enRoute Magazine rated Beckta dining & wine the fourth best new restaurant in Canada. Other accolades include four consecutive CAA/AAA four-diamond awards as well as being named the #1 restaurant in Ottawa by Ottawa Magazine in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Stephen has been named Top Independent Restaurateur in Ontario by the Ontario Hostelry Institute (2007), nominated for the Bill Joe Restaurateur of the Year Award three times by the Ontario Restaurant Association (2005-2007), nominated for the Ontario Premier’s Awards in Business (2006), named one of Ottawa Life Magazine’s Top 50 people (2003), one of Ottawa’s Top 40 under 40 by the Ottawa Business Journal (2008) and is currently a Governor of the National Capital Sommelier Guild.  Stephen just opened his latest venture, a more casual and playful eatery in Ottawa’s Byward Market to be able to offer his unique brand of hospitality to a broader clientele for more everyday occasions.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:45
James Bertrand
James BertrandJames Bertrand is a wine events and tourism specialist and accredited Sommelier. He is past President of the National Capital Sommelier Guild where he oversaw its many programs, such as the Wine Person of the Year, the region's only wine education scholarships, the Ottawa Wine and Food show Tutored tastings and Canada's most extensive program of wine tastings. As Wine Tour Director for the Algonquin College Sommelier Certificate Program he traveled extensively through Niagara and the Okanagan and shared the love for these regions with hundreds of people. A frequent speaker on the subject of Canadian wines for wine and business groups, he has also served on tasting panels for Vines Magazine, the Ottawa Citizen and the Vines Buyers' Guide to Canadian Wine, and is currently a judge at Cellars of the World. James believes that Canadian wines can compete in an international wine market, as we have in Ontario, it is just a matter of making the right choices.  He, of course, will help.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:46
Tim Davis
Tim DavisTim Davis is living and working in Paris, fulfilling a lifelong dream. His part-time involvement in the wine industry extends back many years; he served as the Area Secretary for the Opimian Society in the 80s and has led tastings and tours in France and in North America. After graduation from the Sommelier Program he served for several years as Director, then President, of the National Capital Sommelier Guild (NCSG). He is a Director of Ottawa’s outstanding restaurant Beckta Dining and Wine and a Governor of the NCSG. In France, he delights in impressing restaurant owners, cavists and other wine lovers with top Canadian wines. He cautions though that “to be taken seriously, Canadian wines must be presented blind to a French taster”.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:47
James Denis
James DenisJames started his life in the restaurant industry at the age of 16, as a short order cook, and managed to work his way up to Sous Chef while attending University. Eventually he made it onto the restaurant floor as a bartender and server.

By the time he graduated from Algonquin in 2004 (while acting as bar manager and sommelier at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa) he was hooked and knew that wine and food would be his future.

Over the last 5 seasons James has been working abroad, gaining valuable experience and and developing a world-wide palate. While in St. Lucia, he worked as restaurant manager and sommelier at The Edge Restaurant, with Swedish chef Bobo Bergstrom.

James is currently working as Director of Food and Beverages for CusuinArt Resort and Spa in Anguilla, overseeing all restaurants, banquets, weddings, and wine programs. CuisinArt boasts Anguilla's only AAA 4 diamond award: the Santorini Restaurant, which receives its vegetables and herbs fresh daily from the on-site hydroponic farms. The 864 bottle wine list just received its third straight Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and is on the verge of earning its second glass. James also acts as beverage coach for the Aguilla National Culinary Team.

To James, hosting wine tastings, teaching wine and food matching and hands on cooking classes and organizing 7-course wine pairing dinners, all with access to a 4000+ bottle wine cellar and the freshest ingredients possible at one of the top resort in the Caribbean... it's not a job it's a taste of heaven.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:47
Vanessa Emerson
Vanessa EmersonVanessa Emerson, lead writer and host of Grape Potential, is no stranger to the hospitality industry. In fact, this young, vibrant sommelier has been passionately involved in good food, good drink and great service for over 12 years. 

While studying Commerce and Sociology at Carleton University, Vanessa journeyed through the food and beverage business, working her way up through the ranks at an array of eminent eateries and nightclubs. An adept addition to many establishments, Vanessa’s skills were repeatedly drawn upon to train staff. 

After touring some of Australia’s greatest wineries in the Yarra Valley and Margaret River regions, a new spark in her affair with gastronomic delights was ablaze! She returned to Ottawa with a newfound fervour to learn all she could about this facet of the hospitality industry she’d only dabbled in previously. 

A sommelier was born in 2005 as Vanessa graduated as Valedictorian of the Fast Track Sommelier program at Ottawa’s Algonquin College. This was followed quickly by the successful completion of the Advanced Certificate in Wine and Spirits offered by Britain’s distinguished Wine and Spirit Education Trust. 

Now, as Bar Manager and Sommelier for The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, Vanessa has the opportunity to apply the extensive knowledge she’s collected over the years in a fun, fast-paced, professional environment.  

With Grape Potential, Vanessa hopes to reach a wide audience of wine lovers -amateur to aficionado- enhancing their experience with wine, as well as her own!

Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:47
Jesse Harnden
Jesse HarndenI never did so well at academia as when I was tasting wine for credits.  Algonquin turned a passion into a profession and instilled within me a vision towards a career in the wine business. My experience here also inspired me to pursue further studies at the Niagara College Teaching Winery.  I soon realized that as much as I had gathered concerning the sensory evaluation of wine there was still a whole world yet uncovered.  It’s really the beauty of the subject – “the more you know, the more you realize you know nothing!”  At the conclusion of the program I thought that winemaking was the route for me and worked harvests and in the vineyard at both Le Clos Jordanne and Stratus Vineyards.  This was undertaken while continuing to work as Resident Sommelier in what I consider to be the best restaurant in the Niagara Peninsula – The Stone Road Grille (with apologies to fellow Algonquin alum James Treadwell).  Here I was proud to have the only exclusively VQA wine list in Ontario, with well over 100 gems that I thought best represented the region.    In 2007 a wine tasting tour brought me to the Okanagan Valley.  While not intending to stay, I took a look around, tasted the juice, and decided to jump ship and experience the other side of the Canadian wine industry.  I began to get my bearings while working in the vineyards at Black Hills Winery and shortly after got the position of Head Sommelier at Mission Hill Family Estate.  Today I get to share my experiences and knowledge with people from all over the world while enjoying some of the best wines in the country and indeed beyond.  I will always be thankful to the Algonquin Sommelier program for providing a foundation with which to jump whole heartedly into the world of wine. You can contact Jesse at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Last Updated on Monday, 14 September 2009 00:33
Bethany Harpur
Bethany HarpurBethany Harpur is an Ottawa-based freelance writer, sommelier and artist. Her love affair with wine began in 2001 at the Ottawa Wine and Food Show, where she discovered Canadian wines that actually tasted great. Since then, she has become a vocal advocate for wines made (not just “cellared”!) in Canada, particularly from the regions of Prince Edward County and Niagara. A graduate of the Algonquin College Sommelier program (2009) and Carleton University’s School of Journalism (1999), Bethany shares her passion for wine with others in the winosphere through her blog, Second Ferment (, WineAlign ( and Brix Magazine (slated for launch in November 2009).
Last Updated on Sunday, 23 August 2009 20:33
Jay Hunt

Jay HuntJay Hunt graduated from the Sommelier program in May 2005 and is Past-President of the National Capital Sommelier Guild. He previously worked part time as an independent wine consultant assisting restaurants by selecting wines for their wine list that match their menu and clientele, preparing tasting notes and food pairing suggestions for their menu, advising them on inventory and cellar management, and training their serving staff. He also conducted public tastings as fundraising events for local charities.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:24
Dave Isaacs
ImageDave Isaacs' full-time job is as a software designer for an Ottawa hi-tech company.  He has found that his technical knowledge is very appreciated in the Ottawa wine community.  Dave became the volunteer webmaster for the National Capital Sommelier Guild in 2001.  It is this experience that led him to the Algonquin College Sommelier Program, from which he graduated in 2005. Dave has since taken over stewardship of the program's website and is also the technical mind behind the and websites.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:48
Khristian Laroche
Khristian LarocheGraduated Fall 2000 (Winner "Cave Spring Cellars Award of Excellence") Moved Vancouver  2002 – worked for several private wine shops (Marquis Wine Cellars, Kitsilano Wine Cellar), launched Cellar Master Wine Consultant giving private/corporate tastings and designing restaurant winelists.

Presently Sales Manager, Waldorf Wine Group Inc. – importers of fine wines, beers and spirits in B.C., Alberta and Ontario. Sales territory is Van./Whistler/Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Alberta. I cover restaurants, hotels, private wineshops and oversee special orders from around the world. My Sommelier studies have given me the tools to interact with sommeliers, managers and chefs alike – we can talk wine, food matching, pricing strategies, cellar management, special events, you name it. Member of International Sommelier Guild – Vancouver Chapter

I travel to France, Spain, Germany, USA, the Okanagan (and Ottawa). Our portfolio encompasses France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia, N. Z., S. A., Chile, Argentina, Switzerland, Trinidad and Barbados. I have been active in seeking out and signing up new producers.

"Use your knowledge, get out there and live your wine dreams – avoid life in a cubicle!"
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:48
Linda LeGroulx
Linda LeGroulxLinda LeGroulx’s passion for learning, combined with her love of good wines, good people and good conversation made consumer winemaking a perfect career choice. Known as the Diva of Consumer Winemaking, Linda’s natural talent for making great wines and her ability to guarantee their consistent quality has made her business Wine Kitz Iris the fastest growing consumer winery in Ottawa.

Linda brings more than 30 years of business experience to her Wine Kitz operation and is a highly respected professional both within the industry and the community. With her extensive wine knowledge and tasting experiences Linda helps customers choose just the right wine for their palates and the occasion and ensures that their wines are processed with individual care. 

Linda continues to study wines and winemaking. She is a 2008 graduate of the Algonquin College Sommelier Program and a member of the National Capital Sommelier Guild.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:49
Marc Lepine
Marc LepineChef Marc Lepine graduated from the Algonquin Sommelier Program in 2002. He remains active as a judge for the Wine and Food Matching course. Marc is owner and Chef of the soon-to-be opened (late June, 2008) Atelier Restaurant. It will be Ottawa's first 'tasting menu only' restaurant.

Marc was twice named 'Ottawa Chef of the Year' by the Canadian Culinary Federation (2006 and 2007).  Marc enrolled in the program because he believes that it's important for chefs to understand how wine selection affects the final taste of a dish, just as any other ingredient does.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:49
David MacDougall
David MacDougallI retired from the Canadian Forces May, 2008 after 28 years of service. My decision to retire now and start my own vineyard in central Virginia came about as a direct result of my experience in the Sommelier program coupled with familiarity with the area (I worked at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC). I started my first course at Algonquin in May, 2007, and finished the entire certificate in May, 2008. I am planning on starting the WSET Level 4 program in the near future. Ultimately, I feel extremely confident in tackling the WSET exams because of the solid grounding I got from Algonquin College. More importantly, my certificate from Algonquin College also helped get me accepted into the online programs in viticulture and enology at both the University of California at Davis and Washington State University at Prosser - which I start in September, 2008, and January, 2009, respectively.
My longer term plans are to continue to expand Sagebrook Vineyards to concentrate on producing Bordeaux varietals for other Virginia producers. My business model is to produce Malbec and Petit Verdot to fill a niche. Currently, I have year-old Malbec vines in the ground and in 2009 I am putting in some Petit Verdot for first crush in 2011 or 2012. In the end, I believed in the conventional wisdom that you have to find your passion. In my case, my passion for wine found me through the great courses and fantastic instructors in the Sommelier program at Algonquin. Would love to hear from my colleagues and friends - I can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:49
Natalie MacLean
Natalie MacLeanOttawa wine writer Natalie MacLean is proud as punch (or shiraz) to be an Algonquin Sommelier program graduate, which she describes as the best wine education in the country. Nat was named the World's Best Drink Writer at the World Food Media Awards in Australia and has won four James Beard Journalism awards. Her articles have appeared in more than sixty magazines. Her bestselling book Red, White and Drunk All Over was chosen the Best Wine Book at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She offers a food-and-wine matcher with thousands of pairings from potato chips to pot roast. More than 100,000 wine and food lovers subscribe her free newsletter, with wine picks, tips and humor. You can too at
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:49
Brenda Mahoney
Brenda Mahoney While in University Brenda discovered wine tours in Europe.  Cheese and crackers, a student traveler’s cheap meal! Well, something funny happened between Athens and Paris and wine became the star attraction. 

More travel, more wine and more questions for the kind folks at the liquor store followed.  After arriving at Algonquin College as a Librarian, Brenda was dutifully taking Business courses when  on a whim she chose Wine Appreciation over Accounting.  This was a happy match and in 2002 she graduated.

Brenda has found that the certificate makes travel, meals and friendships better.  She is a member of the National Capital Sommelier Guild and the Vineyard Vixens (Wine appreciation for full-bodied babes).  She enjoys the yearly Ottawa Food and Wine show and lends her Sommelier skills to charitable events at the College.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:50
Stacey Metulynsky
Stacey MetulynskyStacey Metulynsky, Sommelier and Food Network TV Host: recently named to Ottawa Life Magazine's Top 50 in the Capital list and selected by Food Network Canada to host the new TV series "This Food, That Wine", Stacey is an accredited Sommelier, wine writer, and educator. As a graduate from the Sommelier Certificate Program at Algonquin College, she captured both the National Capital Sommelier Guild Scholarship for Wine Education and the Cave Spring Cellars Sommelier Award of Excellence. She co-founded Groovy Grapes in 2003 since then has hosted hundreds of public, private, and corporate wine events, all with a groovy flair. She also makes regular appearances on various television programs as a wine consultant, writes for a number of local publications, and recently completed the Advanced Certificate from the Wine Spirits and Education Trust (WSET).
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:50
Jean-Sébastien Morin
Jean-Sébastien MorinJean-Sébastien love of wine was born in the late 1980s, while studying and working in Europe.  Visiting small villages and taking part in colourful and boisterous food and wine festivals was a revelation.  Jean-Sébastien pursued his quest for wine enlightenment through formal studies with national and international organizations, including Algonquin College (Honours 2003).  He has taught the nationally recognized Sommelier Certificate offered by La Cité collégiale in Ottawa, Canada. 

Jean-Sébastien now resides in Prince Edward Island (PEI) where he designs wine programs for various restaurants including the Inn At Bay Fortune, one of Atlantic Canada’s premiere gastronomic destinations.  He also writes for the PEI Liquor Control Commission’s Occasions magazine and teaches wine appreciation classes.  He seeks to introduce everyone to wines that embody the soul of their place of origin and transport mind and spirit to the most amazing regions of the world.  Jean-Sébastien aims to transmit his passion for wine without forgetting that the pleasure of a glass of wine often resides in the moment and the company in which it is shared.  In his spare time Jean-Sébastien tends his vines and teaches his two and four year old sons, Maxime and Francis-Olivier about wine aromas.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:50
Diane Paradis
Photo credit: Mark Holleron, 2005
Diane has collected and enjoyed learning about wine for most of her adult life. In time, she decided to obtain some formal training by joining the Algonquin College Sommelier Program.  She graduated in 2000 and opened a very complete wine accessory boutique within the C.A. Paradis kitchen supply store at 1314 Bank Street in Ottawa.  There she sells a very large selection of wine related products.  In fact, she can build you a wine cellar to fit most budgets or sell you a wine cabinet for twelve to five hundred bottles.  She also carries the famous Riedel wine glasses and carafes and virtually every wine accessory available anywhere.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:50
Jacqueline Peter
Jacqueline PeterJacqui graduated from the Algonquin Sommelier Program in 2006, winning the Cave Spring Cellars Award of Excellence. Her passion for food and wine has spanned over a 20 year experience in the hospitality industry.

Most recently Jacqui has opened Swirl Wine Ware, a wine accessory boutique in the heart of little Italy. Swirl Wine Ware is a natural extension of Jacqui’s career as a Sommelier at the Award Winning Trattoria Caffe Italia on Preston Street. Working at Trattoria Caffe Italia Jacqui has built up her knowledge of fine wines as they continuously strive to maintain and improve upon their Wine Spectator 2 glass Award. Owning Swirl Wine Ware allows Jacqui to share her passion for wine by offering fine stemware & decanters from such names as Riedel and Spiegelau as well as wine accessories sourced locally and internationally. Her boutique also carries unique wine related art work and custom designed personal/corporate gifts.

You can find Jacqui at Trattoria Caffe Italia (254 Preston Street) or at Swirl Wine Ware (173 Preston Street), enjoying fabulous Italian food and sipping fine wine from brilliant stemware!!

Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:51
Rod Phillips
Rod Phillips Rod Phillips graduated from the program in 2000.  Rod, who has taught history at Carleton University since 1989, finds wine taking more and more of his time. He is the wine columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, is a regular contributor to Wine Access and Tidings, and has published in magazines like Wine Spectator and World of Fine Wine.  He’s the author of A Short History of Wine (2000), which was published in seven foreign languages, and Ontario Wine Country (2006). He reviews wines in the Winepointer newsletter, which is published every 2 weeks through his web site Rod also has taught in the Algonquin sommelier program, judges in wine competitions in Canada and Europe, consults on restaurant wine lists, participates in wine-related charity events, speaks on wine, and travels regularly to the world’s wine regions.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:51
James Treadwell
ImageJames was raised in Niagara and graduated from the Algonquin Sommelier Program in July 2005. He spent a year working as a Sommelier at the Chewton Glen Hotel in Hampshire, England, and was also previously the Sommelier at Queens Landing Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Currently, James is the Sommelier-Owner of Treadwell Cuisine, located in the heart of Niagara wine country. Since opening, the restaurant was named one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in Canada by enRoute, as well as one of Canada's Top 100 restaurants by Wine Access, and Canada's Best Restaurant for Ontario wines by Forbes Magazine.

On top of his Sommelier certificate, James has also completed his Advanced Certification through the WSET (he is currently completing his Diploma through the same organization). He was named one of the "Top 30 Under 30" by the Ontario Hostelry Institute, and was a member of the Judging Panel at the 2007 Canadian Wine Awards. His wine related travels have taken him through Champagne, Burgundy, California, Germany, Austria, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:51
Debbie Trenholm
ImageExtensive business travel peaked Debbie’s interest in wine. After completing the Sommelier Accreditation program at Algonquin College in 2000, Debbie enrolled in the Queen’s University Executive MBA program to apply her business education to the wine industry.  After graduation in 2003, The Savvy Grapes Inc. was established.  The Savvy Grapes creates unique experiences exploring the world of wine for the general public, private and corporate clients.  EVERYONE is invited to join us for winemaker’s dinners, Sommelier led dinners, wine tastings and tours to wine regions. We provide professional marketing and business development expertise for the wine industry.

Debbie believes that ‘hands on’ experience is essential and has volunteered during a Canadian icewine harvest and in 2003 and 2004 she worked at a Tuscan winery in Italy during harvest.

To date, The Savvy Grapes has over 5 Accredited Sommeliers (all graduates of the Algonquin program) involved in the business.  They regularly appear on television and are invited to be interviewed for radio programs talking about the wine industry as well as the trends in wine and food.

The success of The Savvy Grapes has been featured in the Financial Post, National Post, Canadian Homemakers Magazine, NatDecants, Ottawa Sun and the Ottawa Citizen.

In 2006, the Ottawa business community has recognized The Savvy Grapes’ achievement by awarding The Savvy Grapes with the Silver Award for ‘Professional Services of the Year’ category at the 2006 Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:51
Linda Wilson
Linda WilsonAs a graduate of the Algonquin College Sommelier program Linda Wilson spends most of her spare time collecting unique wines. Linda’s lot in life next to collecting wine of course is looking for the best value priced wines for her clients at the Best Western Parkway Inn in Cornwall, Ontario. Linda feels anyone can buy an expensive bottle of wine if they have the money but her focus is on finding that one special gem that is both readily available and affordable. Linda guides the Best Western Parkway guests through tutored wine tastings and challenges her guest’s senses with food and wine matches that are very simple in concept but extraordinary on the palate.

Linda is in the process of matching the restaurants food and wines with hopes of making the dining experience at the restaurant a fun and relaxed one. Linda has also created a very exciting wine tasting year with themes that will tempt the senses and surely improve her guest’s palate. The future is very bright in this industry and Linda looks forward to many years of wine tasting experiences.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2009 16:52