our philosophy

Tasting wine is like appreciating classical music, we can enhance our enjoyment of a wine by seeking out its essential elements.  Memorable wine is as much a map as a taste.

Matt Kramer (author of Making Sense of Burgundy)

Founder:
Steven Spurrier

Steven Spurrier

First and foremost, we are wine lovers! The Académie du Vin Library, founded by Steven Spurrier and friends, is dedicated to publishing the finest wine writing of the past, the present and the future. The story behind our name came from Steven’s days in Paris in the 1970s, when he began running wine appreciation courses for his English-speaking friends. The Académie du Vin is based in Toronto and continues Steven’s philosophy of enabling wine lovers to better appreciate wine by understanding it. Read more here

Founder:
Marc Nadeau

Founder Marc Nadeau

Marc Nadeau

From a young age, Marc had the good fortune to explore and expand his taste for older vintages going back over a hundred years as he mentored in the ‘right’ wine circles that afforded him some rarified experiences. These frequent tastings enabled Marc to grow his passion, knowledge and viewpoint, better impacting the feeling of enjoyment which he regularly shares with connoisseurs, collectors and the next generation of enthusiasts alike.

Read More

Well versed and skilled in the subject of objective wine appreciation, Marc decided to bring the world class Academie du Vin to Canada to better guide anyone with more than a passing interest in wine through the principles of tasting, providing detailed explanations of the influences of grape variety, soil, and climate. From the most essential elements, right down to the DNA of the vintage, Marc is a repository of insight helping unlock the why behind how you feel and think towards a fine wine. Marc exhibits an unpretentious approach and is highly regarded for his innate ability to describe the elements that affect the perception of a wine, such as the nose and the palate. All while using the story and analogy as he passes along the tools of tasting to a broad audience.

Our Team

Sam Fritz-Tate

Sam Fritz-Tate

VICE-PRESIDENT

Sam is one of Toronto’s best known and most loved Sommeliers. With a deep love
Read More

and even deeper knowledge of Spanish wines, it’s not surprising that he has helped build and run one of the most interesting (and tasty!) lists at the famous Patria, Toronto.

Through his travels in Europe, he forged strong relationships with some of the most astute and knowledgeable sommeliers, importers and collectors in the world and found a passion for finding both new and exciting family run wineries, and forgotten classical producers whose wines stood the test of time.

With this knowledge he joined Wineonline marketing company as their Senior Vice President of sales to help take the business to the next level. He is credited with the rebirth of their portfolio in the restaurant market, and now hosts some of the most luminous wine dinners Toronto has seen in years, featuring the world’s greatest estates.

Megan McDonald

Megan McDonald

COURSE DIRECTOR, WSET Diploma

After completing a Geology degree at Memorial University, and a diploma in 

Read More

Marine Geomatics, Megan started her career in wine with the Raymonds Restaurant Group in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It was with the Raymonds Group where Megan quickly realized her passion for learning about wine and sharing that knowledge with those around her. She relocated to Toronto in 2019 where she works as a Senior Client Manager with Iron Gate Wine. She completed the WSET Diploma in 2018 and is currently a Master Wine (Stage 3) candidate.

Alexander Powell

Alexander Powell

EVENT CO-ORDINATOR, MASTER SOMMELIER

Read More

Alexander’s depth of knowledge in wine was inherited from his father and cultivated at their kitchen table with numerous wine textbooks and multitudes of bottles. ..

Alexander passed his Wine Specialist exam in Napa, CA with the solitary perfect score in a class of over 100, and was certified by the Court of Masters as a Sommelier shortly thereafter. He currently holds the esteemed designation of Master Sommelier.

Alexander is an accomplished beverage and hospitality professional with a strong track record of leading exceptional teams and creating outstanding beverage programs. With extensive experience in managing high-volume and prestigious establishments, Alexander consistently strives for the highest standards of service and innovation in the hospitality industry.

Most recently, Alexander served as the Senior Wine Manager at Grill 23 in Boston, MA. During this tenure, Alexander managed a Grand Award wine program, overseeing an inventory of over 20,000 bottles valued at $2.4 million. Alexander played a pivotal role in achieving the highest wine sales and overall revenue in the restaurant’s 40-year history, contributing to annual sales of approximately $20 million, including $5.5 million in wine.

Prior to Grill 23, Alexander was the Beverage Director and Assistant General Manager at Aburi Hana in Toronto. There, Alexander created a distinctive beverage program emphasizing 12-course wine and sake pairings for the tasting menu concept. In addition to co-creating a synchronized service program and training manual, Alexander was responsible for the financial management of the beverage program, maintaining costs below 25% with average bottle sales of $200.

At Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto, where Alexander served as Head Sommelier and Floor Manager, Alexander developed and managed an 800-label wine program and implemented the highest standards of wine service. Alexander created wine pairings for the classic and vegetarian tasting menus and efficiently managed a team of five sommeliers, maintaining a 28% cost on the overall wine program while offering approximately 30 wines by the glass.

Alexander is dedicated to sharing their extensive knowledge of beverage and hospitality, leading outstanding teams, and creating diverse, unique, and profitable beverage programs.

Liz Da Ponte

Liz Da Ponte

DIGITAL MARKETING CONSULTANT

Liz Da Ponte is a Digital Marketing Consultant based out of Oakville, Ontario. She is
Read More
the Principal and lead consultant at Narrative Digital Marketing. She has more than 16 years of Marketing experience with the last 14 focused on Digital Marketing.Liz has extensive experience with Search Engine Optimization, Email Newsletter campaigns, Social Media Marketing, and Measurement. Liz has worked with organizations of various sizes and in several industries including financial services, healthcare, not-for-profit, and the arts. Liz has been working with Academie du Vin since 2019, assisting and launching several campaigns and marketing initiatives.Outside of work, Liz can be found spending time playing softball, keeping her two young children busy and daydreaming about her next beach vacation.
Megan Richards

Megan Richards

WEB DEVELOPER & GRAPHIC DESIGN CONSULTANT

Megan Richards is an IT Consultant based out of Toronto, Ontario who has

Read More
been working with the Académie di Vin Library since 2019. She has owned and operated mamaIT since 2011.

Prior to starting her own company, Megan worked with a company that provided outsourced IT for marketing agencies, law firms, recruiters, asset managers and others. As a graduate of a multimedia design program Megan was self-employed creating web and programming for touch screen kiosks and interactive CD-Roms as well as a contract web producer for CBC Radio deploying intricate flash-based web companion pieces to accompany senior reporter documentary specials.

As the mamaIT slogan goes, ” IT with TLC” – Megan’s specialty is making tech easy and understandable for all. She makes sure to always use layman’s terms to explain, support and empower the end user. Megan strives to make sure each client has a solid tech foundation that is well maintained and secure.

When she’s not working, Megan can be found cooking and hosting dinner parties. Megan is passionate about getting outside and is a big fan of camping front and back country with her husband and two boys.

Hermione Ireland

Hermione Ireland

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Hermione is the Managing Director of Académie du Vin Library, the publishing 
Read More

venture set up by Steven Spurrier and Hugh Johnson to publish the world’s best wine writing. She’s working to collect as many of the greats and the new talent as possible. She is buying much more expensive wine than she did when she published fiction! She can be found @hermione7031 on Instagram and the books are on www.academieduvinlibrary.com

Martin Preston

Martin Preston

DESIGNER & EDITOR

Martin has spent more than 40 years in the publishing business as a designer, editor,

Read More
picture researcher and interactive eBook producer. Based in London, UK, he has been closely associated with the Académie di Vin Library since its formation in 2019, when he learned how to appreciate wine rather than simply guzzle it at the end of a hard day’s work.

Our Advisory Board

John Skinner

John Skinner

FOUNDER - PAINTED ROCK WINERY

Laurie Matheson

Laurie Matheson

WINE AND SPIRITS EXPERT - ARTCURIAL

Rob Levy

Rob Levy

CEO, EVOLVE.CA

Ben Howkins

Ben Howkins

PORT AND SHERRY EXPERT, WRITER

Our decades of thorough knowledge and keen sensibility at the Academie du Vin has taught us to lift the myths associated with technical tasting without exclusion. At the Academie du Vin, we emphasize the actual pleasure afforded by drinking the wine. The most rewarding experience for the wine drinker comes from combining the strict technique with the pleasurable art of tasting. When wine can be appreciated as fully and subtly as possible in the best possible conditions, it becomes intelligent drinking.

The eye then becomes the first organ used in the tasting of wine.

Foundation Course

Wine is a vehicle that transmits the land and enables others to experience it the world over. It’s essential to savour and build upon each unique experience allowing you to uncover the nuances that make wine appreciation without resemblance.

Learning about the details of inclusion or exclusion means everything in the process – for instance a knowledge of appellations and their characteristics with their ability to influence the vintage.

Through our guided tastings, experience the tools to better appreciate a fine wine, learning about the origin, geography, local customs and history as you embark on a journey for your senses.

It is not generally realized that the ‘taste’ of a wine depends more on the nose than the mouth.
Foundation Course