We’re excited to introduce you to our wine experts. You will see these folks swirling, sipping, and tasting, and writing wine notes, reviews, and ratings for our Wine Club. All are renowned wine critics and judges in the Canadian and international wine scenes. All have dedicated their lives to the art of wine; they are award-winning authors and writers, educators, and enthusiastic ambassadors for all things wine. We’re thrilled to have these wine industry greats on the Wine Club Canada team!
Our wine experts
Tony Aspler has been writing about wine for over 40 years. He was the wine columnist for the Toronto Star for 21 years and has authored more than sixteen books on wine and food including The Wine Atlas of Canada, Vintage Canada, The Wine Lover’s Companion, The Wine Lover Cooks and Tony Aspler’s Cellar Book. Tony has also authored nine wine-based fiction novels. In 2007, Tony was awarded the Order of Canada. He also co-founded Grapes for Humanity, a charity that raises money through the wine community for landmine victims and children with disabilities.
Tony is an accomplished wine educator and lecturer. He is the creator of the annual Ontario Wine Awards competition, an honorary governor of Cuvée and a director of the Independent Wine & Spirit Trust. He is also a director of The Canadian Wine Library. Tony writes for a number of international wine magazines including Wine Spectator, Wine Business International, Tidings, Post City Magazines, Lexpert, On the Go, Fine Wine & Liquor (China), decanter.com and you can hear Tony on 680News – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – talking about wine.
Kurtis Kolt is an established Vancouver-based wine consultant and wine writer who presents seminars, hosts events, judges wine competitions, and works with restaurants on their wine programs.
Kurtis’ background is in running restaurants around Vancouver, most recently managing Gastown’s Salt Tasting Room until 2010 when he received the ‘Sommelier of the Year’ award at the 2010 Vancouver International Wine Festival. Kolt has been profiled by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, run the wine program at James Beard House in New York, and been a tasting panel participant at Wine & Spirits Magazine. Kurtis has various wine certifications and credits through London’s Wine & Spirit Education Trust, the Court of Master Sommeliers & the Winemaking Program at UC Davis. His wine column is published weekly in Canada’s largest urban publication, The Georgia Straight.
Michelle has both a Sommelier designation from the International Sommelier Guild (ISG) and a Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma. Michelle now teaches the Wine & Spirit Education Trust program across Canada and sits on numerous panels as an international wine judge. She also organizes the international conference Tasting Climate Change, the first of which took place at HEC Montreal in October 2017.
Michelle has been a critic at Radio-Canada since 2006. She is the official sommelier of Véro Magazine and recently published her first book “Dis-moi qui tu es, je te dirai quoi boire” at Cardinal Editions, which highlights wine suggestions directly linked to the intimate stories collected in interviews that she conducted with more than twenty famous personalities from Quebec.
Michelle also participates regularly in shows broadcasted on ICI Radio-Canada Télé, namely Par ici l’été (2015), and also on the RDI, CBC, Global TV and CTV networks. She is now a member of the Curieux Bégin regular team (2016) and she frequently makes wine suggestions at the show Tout le monde en parle.
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the Literary Editor and Drinks Writer at the Winnipeg Free Press. In addition to wine writing, he also writes about beer and spirits.
Ben paid his way through university by working at a handful of wine stores in Winnipeg, which helped him land the wine-writing gig on a freelance basis in 2005. He started working in the newsroom in 2012 as a part-time copy editor and, later that year, was hired as a full-time web copy/web editor. When esteemed books editor Morley Walker retired in January 2014, Ben rekindled his love for all things literary and started a new chapter at the Free Press.
Ben is a much sought after wine writer and judge in the Canadian and international wine scene.