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Board members

Sara D'Amato

President

Sara d’Amato is a Toronto-based wine consultant, sommelier and contributor to Vines Magazine. She has worked in cellars both in Niagara and in France and formerly as Sommelier of Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. A graduate of the University of Toronto and of Niagara College’s winery and viticulture technician program, she was the youngest and only woman to win the grand prize at Canadian Renaissance Wine Tasting Challenge in 2006 as featured in CBC’s Wine Confidential Documentary. Sara has been awarded The Ontario Hosteliery’s “Top 30 Under 30” Award and is a staunch promoter of local wine and gastroculture. . In addition to serving on the CAPS Board, Sara is a member of the Wine Writer’s Circle of Canada and participates in judging wine competitions across the country.

Michelle Paris

Vice President & Education

After many years on Bay Street working as an Investment Banker, Michelle decided to follow her passion. She graduated from the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers program in 2012 and earned the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Diploma in 2013. She also became a WSET Certified Educator and is now an instructor for both the CAPS and the WSET programs. Michelle is currently building her wine events and wine education company, Adventure in Wine, where she shares her love wine and teaching to both corporate and private clients. She also owns a vineyard in Argentina and produces wine under the label MouthWater. She is a member of CAPS, Association de la Sommellerie Internationale, and the Guild of Sommeliers. She holds and MBA, is a Chartered Financial Analyst and is a member of The Toronto CFA Society.

Kim Gertler

PR/Social Media Director

With decades of experience working in media as a writer, filmmaker, producer and reporter, Kim Gertler is known for his work at The Economist, CBC News, BRAVO!, Discovery Channel and Global News. Kim has an Honours BA from the University of Toronto and is an alumnus of the Canadian Film Centre, as well as a graduate of the Level 3 program from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET.) Kim has written about wine and food for media like: Wine Television, The National Post and Good Food Revolution and continues to create wine educational content for: The Constellation Academy of Wine, Wine Rack and The Keg. A passionate crusader for local food and wine, Kim is a co-founder of the brand, FAWN – food and wine news, launching this fall. Of his new role with CAPS as PR director, Kim says: “I’m keen to raise the profile of Ontario’s Sommeliers in helping to promote the culture and the enjoyment of wine in this province.”  

John P. Nadeau

Treasurer

Co-founded Toronto’s “The Wine Establishment” which brought such products to Canada as Home and Commercial Wine Cellars, Riedel Crystal, Spiegelau, Le Nez Du Vin and Steven Spurrier’s “Academie Du Vin”, has also worked in brand creation and global market development with wineries, breweries and distilleries from Canada, France, Brazil, Ukraine, Australia, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and the USA. Strengths include sound overall business management, unparalleled customer focus and a keen ability to foster product cross functional, customer and industry relations.

Kari Macknight Dearborn

Social Media Community Management + Digital

Kari was bitten by the wine bug while she was a student in Budapest in the early 90s thanks to a Tokaji aszú from her birth year. Despite working for two decades in the advertising business (including on a number of beverage alcohol clients), it would take her until relatively recently to go from collecting and appreciating wine to joining the wine industry and leaving the ad biz behind.

She works as a freelance salesperson for a couple of agencies, and has recently started her own small agency called Drink Better Wines + Spirits. She is a WSET Diploma candidate, a geography enthusiast, an instructor in Italian wines, and is heavily involved in the Slow Food movement. Her passion for championing indigenous Italian grape varieties is a natural extension of her work here in Canada with Slow Food's Ark of Taste.

Elsa Macdonald MW

Professional Development

Elsa is the sixth Canadian and second female in Canada to achieve the title of Master of Wine.  Since her 2003 major career shift from Management Consulting in Telecom and Financial Services, Elsa has worked in the wine trade in sales, marketing and education roles.  Always studying she graduated from CAPS in 2006, WSET Diploma in 2009 and their educator’s course in 2011.  Currently, Elsa is the Director of Wine Education at Arterra Wines Canada.  Elsa also works with several wine schools in Canada delivering WSET diploma and other master classes.  Elsa holds an undergraduate degree from Ryerson University in Toronto and a Master of Science in Telecom from Syracuse, New York. 

905-564-3003

Steven Campbell

Sponsorship & Special Events

Steven Campbell is a sommelier and the Grand Fromage of Lifford Wines & Spirits which sells wine coast to coast in Canada. A passionate cook, he opened his first restaurant in 1978 where he discovered the noble grape. In 1985 Steven purchased Delisle Wine Bar where he won eight consecutive Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence for having one of the most outstanding wine lists in the world. In 1994 he left the kitchen, grabbed his corkscrew and purchased Lifford Wine Agencies,  a small, independent wine agency. Lifford became a pioneer in importing premium wines for the hospitality industry and today is the market leader in Ontario. Steven’s quest for the world’s best wines has taken him to the far corners of the earth seeking artisanal wines made by real people in all the right places and at the right price. Steven’s efforts have been lauded through numerous LCBO Elsie Awards, the Gold Award from the Ontario Hostelry Institute for Supplier of the Year and his inductions to the prestigious Commanderie du Bontemps de Medoc and the Confraria do Vinho do Porto.   Steven is also a passionate environmentalist; Lifford Wine & Spirits is Canada’s only Carbon Neutral wine agency and has planted over 100,000 trees across Canada.   Steven’s dream is to have one of Canada’s sommeliers win the best in the world competition.  

Miho Yamamoto

Secretary

Miho's interest in hospitality began when she  registered for the Culinary Arts certificate program at George Brown College. After learning the basics, she decided to explore her interest in food and wine.  She enrolled in Wines 1 and 2 and realized she had a real passion for the subject of wine. She then completed her WSET Levels 1 to 3 and went on to CAPS' Sommelier program in 2012.  Following certification, Miho has worked at WineAlign, e11even Restaurant and 360 Restaurant at the CN Tower. She currently is at The Granite Club and is a CAPS board member.

Alexandra (Alex) Evans

Director, Competitions Commitee

Alex Evans is a 2005 graduate from CAPS. As a  professional sommelier, she's plied her trade at some of the most esteemed Toronto restaurants including Scaramouche, Boba, Celestin and Le Paradis Bistro.  Since 2004, Alex has been actively involved in the in the past six BOSC and Canadian competitions with CAPS. She brings a deep personal and professional knowledge of floor dynamics to each competition she designs.  

Christopher Wilton

Regional Liaison Director

Hailing from South Africa, Christopher is currently involved in sales with the The Small Winemakers Collection in Toronto and runs Wilton Wine Consulting. In addition to sales and consulting, Christopher is a wine instructor at Durham College and was previously Sommelier at Coca Tapas Wine Bar after earning his Sommelier certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers. 

705-772-7440

Lynn Abernethy

Membership Director

Following a varied career in office administration, events and public relations, Lynn finally put her geography degree to good use by following her "appreciation" of wine and spirits to more formal learning. After successfully completing her Wine Specialist Certificate from George Brown College, Lynn earned her sommelier certificates from the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) and the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) as well as her WSET Level 3. She currently works behind the bottle as a pourer for hire for a variety of agencies and Fine Vintage Ltd. In addition to her role as Membership Director for CAPS, she's a judge for the All Canadian Wine Championships. Lynn and her husband split their time between their homes in Toronto and Prince Edward County.

416-569-9176

Colleen Petrick

Niagara Representative

Colleen's a 2018 CAPS grad with sights on furthering her sommelier education. Currently the Sommelier at Pillar and Post (Vintage Hotels), she owned her own restaurant and catering company in Oakville for 10 years and worked for Canoe and O and B Oakville. She's the recent winner of the Niagara Ice wine cocktail competition! Colleen lives in Niagara in the Lake, loves food, wine and tennis and is married with four children.