John Szabo, Master Sommelier 2001


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John was Canada's first Master Sommelier, earning the title from the Court of Master Sommeliers in London, England in 2004, and is a member in good standing of both the Court Worldwide as well as the American chapter. He has been working in the hospitality business at home and abroad for over 15 years, filling many positions including cook, sommelier, wine importer, restaurant & winery consultant, educator and wine writer. Today, John tastes, writes, judges and consults nationally and internationally, teaches, speaks and travels the wine regions of the world in search of the best.

John manages a consulting and education firm, the Centre for Vine Affairs, specializing in restaurant wine program design and management and server staff training for clients across North America. John also develops and delivers professional trade seminars for dozens of trade organization. Past and current clients include the Wine Council of Ontario, Italian Trade Commission, All About Greek Wines, California Wine Institute, Napa Valley Vintners Association, Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Tokaji Renaissance, Wine Australia, Wines of Argentina and Wines of Chile, among others.

John is Editor-in-Chief for Wine Access Magazine’s First-In-Line eReport and Buyer’s Guide+, reviewing new wine releases across Canada. John is also wine editor and columnist for CityBites Magazine and the national trade publication, Your Foodservice Manager. He writes freelance for other publications and dailies. He has written the textbook entitled Sommelier Management, used across Canada by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers for the diploma course, and has co-written a book on home entertaining entitled The Cocktail Chef. John is also committed to sharing his knowledge through teaching for organizations such as the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, The Wine Council of Ontario, George Brown School of Hospitality and Niagara College. John has judged at dozens of wine competitions both nationally and internationally. To round out his experience and get closer to the land, he also owns a small vineyard in Eger, Hungary. As a holder of a 2nd degree black belt in Karate, his grapes are well protected too!

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