Jennifer’s love affair and studies in wine started in her early twenties when she took an interest course at her local college. From there, she immediately leaped into the Sommelier Certification from ISG, graduating at the top of her class. She went on to pass the Diploma of Wine from WSET, the Advanced Sommelier, and, finally, the Master Sommelier Exams, becoming Canada’s first female Master Sommelier in 2011.

Her restaurant industry experience is vast, starting in an array of restaurants in the heart of Toronto. She has also worked for Canadian-owned, Napa Valley-based Cliff Lede Vineyards, and for 7 years, ran one of Canada’s top wine programs at MLSE in Toronto. This is a multi-million dollar program that spans over 6 restaurants, and she simultaneously mentored the property’s 11 Sommeliers. She was also recently employed with California-based Jackson Family Wines, representing their brands throughout Canada.

Jennifer’s passion for wine eventually led her to explore a project with Priya Rao, and together they published the first-ever book on plant-based food & wine pairings. After winning the Ontario Sommelier Competition in 2006, Jennifer then decided to invest her energy heavily in the execution of the competitions from 2008 to 2019. Working closely with Alex Evans, Jennifer made it their mission to hold the Ontario & Canadian ASI Competitions to the highest standard of quality and integrity, therefore providing the candidates with the best possible learning experience. She sat for several years on the board of directors of CAPS Ontario and focused her energy on building competitions and the content for them. She is also an active teacher within the Court of Masters, mentors several Advanced and Master Sommelier Candidates throughout North America, and teaches with WSET.

Jennifer has sat on the Board of Directors for Femmes du Vin as the Education Chair, executing seminars to enhance the lives of and raise money for all women in wine. Additionally, she mentors at the non-profit VinEquity. Jennifer’s latest adventure is with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits in Las Vegas, Nevada where she is very much enjoying the food scene and the mild winter weather.


Where are you working currently and how has being a MS supported you in your current role?

My current role is Director of Education, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Nevada. Having the background of academic certifications in wine such as the Master Sommelier designation absolutely helped me get this role.


Where were you working when you passed?

When I passed I was working in Toronto with the Maple Leafs and Raptors running the wine programme in the Arena.


What made you want to become an MS?

I wanted to become an MS because I enjoyed learning more about wine and challenging myself.  I also had a great tasting group and we pushed each other, lots of fun.


What advice do you give those who are pursuing certification?

If your pursing the certification my advice would be to enjoy and appreciate the journey and do your best to find that group that challenges and keeps you on track.


What is your desert island wine, or what wines/beverages are you currently excited about?

If I was on a dessert island I would hope a boat load of Champagne came right behind me.