en fr

Board members

Sean Dolenuck


Sean Dolenuck is a professional Sommelier and restaurant specialist with La Boutique del Vino. He holds the Professional Sommelier Diploma from CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers) as well as a Diploma in Hotel and Restaurant management from SAIT (Calgary), and has been involved in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, specializing in fine dining. Sean has worked at some of the best restaurants in both Calgary and Winnipeg. His passion for wine and the hospitality industry moved him to Winnipeg for his Sommelier studies, and that opened the door to his current position as a both Manager of Licensee Sales and Purchaser with La Boutique del Vino. He offers Sommelier service including developing wine lists, marketing, training staff and management, cost controls and implementing sales strategies. Sean has joined the Manitoba Restaurant and Food Association as an Associate Board Member where he is able to provide his experience and education to assist with current and future developments. Sean was the first person awarded the best Sommelier in Manitoba in 2015 and competed in the Canadian nationals in Toronto in March 2015. Sean is happy to speak about wine whenever he can; he feels that passion and personality are his best qualities when it comes to the wine world, offering a fun and refreshing approach. Over-delivering Malbec; ever-elegant Pinot Noir; and reality-bending high quality Priorat are some of Sean’s particular wine loves.  He is also a keen teacher and competitor: he teaches martial arts as a 4th Degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.



Vice President

With more than 25 years in the wine industry, Flavia has developed strong, reliable relations with people from different areas of the industry including journalists, winemakers, winery owners, wine clubs, importers, exporters and government authorities. She can assist establishing new wineries and use her talents to help promote and boost awareness and sales of wines. She is a recognized wine educator and Sommelier back home and with the expertise to organize wine training and marketing meetings, food and wine events, wine tastings and wine fairs. She can also coordinate media events and conduct promotion campaigns. Fluent in English and Spanish, with working proficiency in Italian and French. She has written about wine and covered International Wine Shows for renown magazines and newspapers. As a consultant, she has launched 2 wineries into the market in Argentina, USA, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Europe, with outstanding results. Flavia lived in the USA for over 2 years,  working for an importer of European wine, and so got to know and  understand the American market from an insider's point of view. Now settled in Canada, representing wineries from Argentina, Pomerol (France) and Italy, organizing marketing events, tastings, training sales teams and media appearance.


Sharon Steward


As a fresh culinary red seal graduate, pairing wines with her menus was the integral next step in Sharon’s professional development. Studying through the International Sommeliers Guild with mentors like Gary Hewitt and Patrick Oakes, led to opportunities both in restaurant and hotels, importing and consulting that produced numerous award-winning cellars throughout the Canadian prairies. Currently as a chef and sommelier, mother of three, an educator at Red River College, and with the release of her first cookbook, Sharon continues to dig into the hospitality industry to share her knowledge and passion for good food and wine that is meant to be shared.


Seema Pal

Director of Operations

Seema Pal is a graduate of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and holds the WSET Diploma designation.  Seema is also a recipient of the Capstone California Wine Education Scholarship and has Highest Honours in the French Wine Scholar certification through Wine Scholar Guild.    Currently a private tutor at her own tutoring business, Seema continues with her passion of educating her students academically through their high school and university courses.  Seema loves to share her wine knowledge and has experience with wine consulting and has led educational wine tastings/seminars, privately and through CAPS.  What excites Seema the most about wine is the fact that it is the product of history, culture, science, and art in a bottle. 


Domer Rafael

Past President

Domer Rafael has dedicated his career to the service industry with a focus on guest experience, fine wine and management. He is currently the Food and Beverage Manager at the Manitoba Club and oversees a wine cellar and private wine program of over 500 wines, an ever-evolving beverage program, a stellar cigar selection and the finest cuisine in Winnipeg. Domer is a graduate of the International Sommelier Guild, the reigning Best Sommelier of Manitoba (2017) and hopes to further evolve Manitoba's food and wine industry.


Christopher Sprague


Wine director of WOW! Hospitality in Winnipeg, and Sommelier at prestigious 529 Wellington, Christopher directs the wine program that holds the Wine Spectator Magazine’s “Best of Award of Excellence” and boasts one of the province’s most extensive and exciting wine cellars. He holds the Sommelier Diploma from the International Sommelier Guild and has been a restaurant professional for more than two decades. With a contagious enthusiasm for wine, Christopher understands the importance of promoting the Sommelier profession and working to support the Association.


Gary Hewitt