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)

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.

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

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.

Founder:
Steven Spurrier

Steven Spurrier

A British wine expert and former merchant who has been described as a champion of French wine. Spurrier organized the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, which unexpectedly elevated the status of California wine and promoted the expansion of wine production in the New World. He is also the founder of the Academie du Vin and Christie’s Wine Course, in addition to authoring and co-authoring several wine books. It has been said time and time again, that upon meeting Steven, they learn something new and important, a testament to his character and willingness to extoll his wisdom and the pleasures of wine to the world.

With great sadness we announce…

Steven Spurrier died, earlier today. He was at home, at Bride Valley, surrounded by family. Steven was a pioneer in wine – a visionary who never lost his passion for new projects, new discoveries and the world of wine. He will always be remembered for founding the Académie du Vin, the celebrated Judgement of Paris and in recent years, the Académie du Vin Library and, together with his wife Bella, the Bride Valley Vineyard in Dorset, England – as well as much else besides. He was also a hugely loved husband, father and grandfather. He will be sorely missed, not just by his immediate family and friends, but by people right across the world of wine. His enthusiasm and love of wine will live on through Bride Valley, the Académie du Vin Library, the relaunched Académie du Vin in Canada and through the work of the many wine makers, wine writers and wine educators he championed.

9th March 2021

Founder:
Marc Nadeau

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.

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

Jennifer Wood

Jennifer Wood

SOMMELIER

There was a time, in Jennifer’s early 20’s, when she was learning about wine and it was fun – the giddy, exciting kind of fun. Jennifer’s first bit of real education came from the manager of her local liquor store, who refused to let her buy the same sweet white zinfandel week after week. He would open bottles freely and they would discuss why she liked or didn’t like a particular bottle. He explained terroir, vintage variation and what to expect from a bottle. Jennifer called it “playing in the sandbox” because it reminded her of the joy a child gets from playing with their favorite toys in a sandbox.

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However, she realized that this doesn’t pay the bills and that she needed to find something stable to secure her future. Subsequently, she attained two Bachelor’s degrees, one in Legal Studies and the other in Contract Management. Jennifer spent the last 20 + years of her life working in the legal field, first in personal injury and then in residential real estate law.

Jennifer came back to wine seriously many years later, after marrying and helping to raise two amazing step-daughters. There was so much that she had forgotten and so many changes in the industry. Jennifer began her studies with Fine Vintage, Ltd. and has taken the WSET Levels 1, 2 and 3 courses. In 2018, Jennifer attended the Intensive Sommelier program at the International Culinary Center in New York City, earning her Certified Sommelier pin.

Jennifer currently works as a freelance Sommelier with several different groups and agencies and volunteers her time to the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

Alexander Powell

Alexander Powell

SOMMELIER

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. Upon taking a class at George Brown College 8 years ago, it was strongly suggested by his instructor to challenge the Sommelier exam.

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 Advanced Sommelier.

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However, she realized that this doesn’t pay the bills and that she needed to find something stable to secure her future. Subsequently, she attained two Bachelor’s degrees, one in Legal Studies and the other in Contract Management. Jennifer spent the last 20 + years of her life working in the legal field, first in personal injury and then in residential real estate law.

Jennifer came back to wine seriously many years later, after marrying and helping to raise two amazing step-daughters. There was so much that she had forgotten and so many changes in the industry. Jennifer began her studies with Fine Vintage, Ltd. and has taken the WSET Levels 1, 2 and 3 courses. In 2018, Jennifer attended the Intensive Sommelier program at the International Culinary Center in New York City, earning her Certified Sommelier pin.

Jennifer currently works as a freelance Sommelier with several different groups and agencies and volunteers her time to the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

Natalie Pope

Natalie Pope

SOMMELIER

Natalie first started working in the food and beverage industry at the age of 18 and continued on throughout her university career in Social Work. She worked her way up from cafés and pubs to fine dining establishments. During this time, her love and passion for hospitality and wine grew immensely.

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After graduation, she decided to remain in hospitality to pursue her career as a sommelier. Natalie was certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2014 and quickly began working as a floor sommelier and as a wine educator with a local wine club. Since, Natalie has held several sommelier positions within the city of Toronto including Wine Director for a large restaurant and entertainment group where she created two, 600+ label wine programs within her first year.

Deciding to take a step back from restaurants, Natalie currently works for a local wine agency that focuses on small production, family owned and operated wineries, in addition to her teaching position here with Academie du Vin, where she looks forward to sharing her experiences and passion for wine with you

Sam Fritz-Tate

Sam Fritz-Tate

SOMMELIER

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

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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.

Annette Bruley

Annette Bruley

SOMMELIER

Since joining the team at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar in 2008, eventually leading to her becoming GM & Wine Director for both Ascari Enoteca & Gare de l’Est Brasserie and finally to her current position as Wine Director at Midfield Wine Bar.

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Annette has been tutored and mentored by some of the Toronto’s best sommeliers including Jamie Drummond, Christopher Sealy and Svetlana Atcheva. Her mentors passed on their passion, curiosity and pure appreciation for the world of wine and instilled in her the belief that wine should not be complicated, it’s something that is approachable and at the end of the day it should simply be enjoyed.

She looks forward to passing along the same passion and enthusiasm for wine to the students of Academie du Vin.

Our Advisory Board

Nitish Hejmadi

Nitish Hejmadi

PRESIDENT - HONEYTEK SYSTEMS

John Skinner

John Skinner

FOUNDER - PAINTED ROCK WINERY

Laurie Matheson

Laurie Matheson

WINE AND SPIRITS EXPERT - ARTCURIAL

Tony Aspler

Tony Aspler

PHOTO CREDIT: STEVEN ELPHICK PRODUCTIONS