Tuesday, May 11 – Keynote Presenter

Randall Grahm – Founder, Bonny Doon Vineyard (CA); owner Popelouchum Vineyard (CA)

Randall was born in Los Angeles in 1953 and attended the University of California at Santa Cruz where he was a permanent Liberal Arts major. Some time later he found himself working at the Wine Merchant in Beverly Hills sweeping floors.  He returned to the University of California at Davis to complete a degree in Plant Sciences in 1979. With his family’s assistance, Randall purchased property in the Santa Cruz Mountains in a quaint eponymous hamlet known as Bonny Doon, intent on producing the Great American Pinot Noir. In 2010, he was  able to purchase an extraordinary 400-acre property near San Juan Bautista, which he calls “Popelouchum,” (the Mutsun word for “paradise”), and has very ambitious plans to breed 10,000 new grape varieties there and perhaps produce a true vin de terroir in the New World. He lives in Santa Cruz with his muse Chinshu, their daughter, Amélie, and his thesaurus.

Wednesday, May 12th – Keynote Presenter

Luis Osorio – Wine Intelligence

Luis joined Wine Intelligence in October 2014 after working as a consultant in an auditing and consulting firm, where he developed strategy related projects in Portuguese-speaking countries in industries such as oil & gas, banking, media and retail. Prior to this, he spent two years developing entrepreneurial projects, including start-ups and an NGO. He also did a six-month internship with a major Portuguese wine producer. Luis graduated from Lisbon Technical University with a BA in architecture / civil engineering and later with a master’s degree in business administration majoring in strategy from the Catholic University of Portugal. He also holds the WSET Level 2 qualification in wines and spirits. Luis’ passion for wine started early within his family of wine producers; he then went on to launch a wine bar and in one year he opened five more wine bars in Lisbon, later selling the company and making a valuable profit.



Robert Both – TD Securities

Robert is a Macro Strategist with the Global Strategy team at TD Securities in Toronto. Robert has been with the team since 2015 and provides research and analysis on the global economy and financial markets to a wide range of institutional, corporate, and commercial clients. Robert’s focus is on economic conditions across North America and he is a contributor to the Bank’s economic forecasts and central bank analysis.

Before joining TD, Robert completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree at Dalhousie University where he graduated with a major in Finance.


Anna Brittain – Napa Green

Anna has worked locally, nationally and internationally on environmental management and policy with organizations ranging from the environmental economics think tank Resources for the Future in Washington, DC to the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Hanoi, Vietnam. She has spent a decade facilitating and growing sustainability in the wine industry, with an expertise in communications and certification standards. She has helped lead the growth of the Napa Green program for over six years, and stepped into the position of Executive Director of the now independent non-profit in fall 2019. Anna has a Master’s of Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara and a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Williams College.


Pierre Costa – SommDigital

Pierre is based in Napa Valley, California and has an exotic mix of digital marketing and wine experience. He founded SommDigital a consulting firm that develops and implements innovative digital marketing strategies specializing in wineries. He also lectures at Sonoma State University in Sonoma, California focused on Wine E-commerce and Digital Marketing. Before he moved to Napa, he spent over five years working with Digital Media Agencies in London (England) and Dublin (Ireland) managing the digital marketing of large corporate accounts including Bank of Ireland and eircom (telecom). He spent 10 years working in the wine industry in high knowledge positions including head sommelier for star Michelin restaurant Bon Appetit in Dublin (Ireland) and Café Journal in Brazil along with finance and marketing roles with Inglenook winery, Delicato Family Wines, and Naked Wines. He is known for having a fantastic palate which was proven when he won the 2014 Top Taster blind wine tasting competition at Flavor! Napa Valley. He holds a Masters degree in Electronic-Business from University College Dublin and an Honors degree in Mathematics from UNESP (Brazil). Pierre is a passionate Star Wars fan and enjoys archery and meditation.


Beverley Crandon – CMS certified sommelier candidate

Beverly Crandon is a current CMS certified sommelier candidate, wine lover, and marketing operations addict.

Beverly has been able to lend her hand both as a consultant and a direct leadership employee in various organizations, from Fortune 500s to startups looking to generate mind share, revenues, and a recurring member-base, in their area of discipline. She aims to combine her work experience, love of wine, and wine education to date and broaden wine appreciation and advancement in those not deemed the ‘traditional’ wine consumer or professional.

Beverly Crandon started her career as an International Operations Director for fortune 500 tech companies and then expanded to the world of traditional media, always with a strong focus on product development, online strategy and effective sales funnels. During this time, she covered verticals such as automotive, real estate, gaming, dating, employment, directory, and generalist consumer goods.

Her overarching motto with Vinequity: wine should be inclusive and through that approachable. No one should be denied the pleasures of vino!


Marie Cundari – New World & Ontario Wines, LCBO

Marie Cundari is the Director of New World and Ontario Wines and Vintages, overseeing the purchasing and merchandising of the largest wine categories at the LCBO.

Marie holds an Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits and a Professional certificate in Spirits from the WSET, is a French Wine Scholar, and is a Certified Saké Professional.

With a passion for local wines, she is always looking for the next opportunity to bring new customers into the VQA category to discover the exciting wines of Ontario.


Donald A. Cyr – Goodman School of Business, Brock University

As a fellow of the Cool Climate, Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) at Brock University, Don’s research and publications have focused on the potential use of financial weather index contracts for hedging weather-related risks in viticulture as well as industrial organization within the wine industry.

He is a member of the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Wine Economics and a member of both the American Association of Wine Economists and the Academy of Wine Business Research.

His wine and viticulture research has been highlighted in The Globe and Mail, Canadian Grapes to Wine Magazine, Wine Business Monthly, and the Wine Access Magazine.

Professor Don A. Cyr joined the Goodman School of Business in 1995. He holds a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Alberta, an MA in Economics from the University of Alberta, an MBA from the University of Saskatchewan, and a BSc in Geology from Concordia University. He teaches courses in corporate finance, international finance, and investments.

Before his career in academia, Don worked as a uranium exploration geologist, and as a financial analyst at Shell Canada.

Don has been the Dean of Goodman School of Business from 2013 to 2015, and the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Research from 2002 to 2009. He has also periodically been the Chair of the MSc, MAcc/IMAcc, and MBA/MBA (ISP) Program Committees.


Ryan Donovan – Richmond Station

Ryan Donovan a red seal Chef and Co-Owner of Richmond Station. Born in Thunder Bay and raised in Toronto, Ryan has spent twenty-plus years in the hospitality industry working as a butcher, baker, charcutier, and sommelier. Ryan also commits his time to education in hospitality and sits on the Board of Directors of The Stratford Chefs School and teaches Culinary Arts.

Ryan has spent most of his culinary career as a butcher and has always advocated for organic and sustainable pasturing of livestock. Buying whole carcasses directly from the farm has been the core commitment of Ryan’s purchasing philosophy. He is the founder of West Side Beef and a graduate of the University of Toronto.

Ryan lives in Toronto with his wife and three daughters. They spend a lot of time cooking together.


Tony Elenis – ORHMA, President & CEO

Mr. Tony Elenis is President & CEO of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association, the largest provincial hospitality association in Canada representing approximately 4,000 members and 11,000 establishments in the hospitality sector. Tony was appointed to this position in April of 2008.

As an Ontario hospitality leader with over 35 years of industry experience and a proven track record of positive contributions to hospitality and management, Tony Elenis is dedicated to supporting the hospitality and tourism industry of Ontario. Prior to his arrival at the ORHMA, Tony managed high achieving hotels for 27 years.

Tony is a past Chairman of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) and also sits on the Board of Directors for the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC). Tony’s other passion lies within the World of Food and Wine, its lore and its history. His expertise and creativity in food and beverage operations is well recognized within the industry. He sits on industry boards including the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) and is a participant with hospitality schools and government related advisory and steering committees.


Ken Field – IPSOS North America

Ken has nearly 10 years of consumer research and insights experience in the travel, hospitality, alcohol, and cannabis industries in both buyer and supplier roles. He currently leads the Alcohol Consumption Tracking (ACT) study at Ipsos where he supports brewers, distillers, vintners, and RTD manufactures across North America track and understands drinking behavior trends.


Adam Gareau – IMI International

Adam Gareau is a VP, Client Service at IMI International – a market research consultancy based in Toronto. Adam brings 10+ years of experience developing and communicating insights to a variety of audiences and has been working closely with WMAO for the past five years on marketing effectiveness, consumer attitudes, and best practices


Nupur Gogia – Island Vines/Vinequity

Nupur Gogia is a level 4 WSET Diploma Graduate and is currently in Stage 2 of the Masters of Wine Program. She has been working in the trade for the last 7 years and has recently started her own portfolio of natural wines. In addition, Nupur runs her own wine company, Island Vines that runs wine dinners, wine classes and consults on restaurant wine lists.

A chameleon with many forms, Nupur has also completed a doctorate in Sociology and published several articles and co-authored a book. She is an avid traveller and a passionate hedonist that loves all things culinary and fermented grapes in form.


Carolyn Hurst – Westcott Vineyards & Ontario Craft Wineries

After a successful 30 year IT consulting and major project delivery career working with business and public sector clients around the world, Carolyn Hurst returned to her home town with her husband Grant Westcott and created Westcott Vineyards from the ground up.  A serial entrepreneur, Carolyn has created and been the President of three companies (Why Interactive Inc, International Translation Corp., and Effingham Technology Management Inc.). She has led multi-million dollar business lines within several publicly-traded international corporations including Capgemini, Jetform/Adobe, SHL Systemhouse, EDS, and  MCI International.  Her love of food, wine, travel, and culture led her to start her business career in the Toronto Restaurant/Hospitality industry. She studied Economics and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario. 


Suzanne Janke – Stratus Vineyards

Born and raised in the Niagara Peninsula, Suzanne’s passion for agritourism ignited with her first summer job at a prominent Niagara-on-the-Lake market that focused on selling local farm products to international visitors. There, her intrigue with clients from Asia propelled her to spend three years working in Japan and Korea after completing her degree in Business Communications. Excited about the evolution of Niagara’s culinary and wine potential, she returned home and has dedicated her career to the growth of Niagara’s wine industry from a visitor, cultural and consumer perspective – first as the Director of Tourism Marketing at Chateau des Charmes where she developed the wineries visitor and events program; and since at Stratus Vineyards where she was recruited in 2005 to be part of the opening management team. In her current role as Estate Director of Stratus, she is responsible for the retail, digital, hospitality programs and revenue, media and public relations as well as product, packaging sustainability and partnership initiatives. Known for her thorough understanding of Niagara’s wine evolution, progressive thinking and global vision, Suzanne actively participates on numerous industry committees and boards and has served as Board Chair for Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership, Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration. Beyond work, she is happily sharing life’s adventures, delicious, cultural and otherwise, with her two young sons, Ellis and Félix.


Paul Leary – Assemblage Consulting Group

Paul Leary is the founder of Assemblage Consulting Group, a firm focused on optimizing the profits of consumer-packaged goods businesses in California. As a leading Northern California entrepreneur and senior executive, Mr. Leary brings more than 20 years of business leadership, brand marketing, sales and operations expertise to his roles. Leary’s continual business concern is to build a company’s brand equity and financial returns by ensuring product and service quality while spearheading niche sales & marketing strategies that create consumer demand in the direct and wholesale distribution channels. During his tenure at St. Helena-based Duckhorn Wine Company, Leary oversaw the marketing and consumer sales for three distinct wine brands including Duckhorn, Paraduxx and Goldeneye. “Over the last decade, the premium sector of the consumer-packaged goods industry has become increasingly fragmented and competitive. The focus is on niche marketing, establishing direct relationships with clients, and maximizing the chain of influencers and peer-to-peer referrals. It’s up to the company to create the brand and then to let customers tell the story,” Leary says. Leary earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, a Certificate in eBusiness Strategy and Management from U.C. Davis Extension and a Certificate in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley Extension. Paul and his wife live in the Napa Valley with their son and daughter where he is a proud husband, father and member of the Napa community.


Scott Morrison – Ontario Craft Distillers Association

Having left a three decade career in Design and Advertising Scott decided it was time to take his abundant enthusiasm and energy on a whole new adventure… making alcohol! After three years of dedication and hard work Heretic Spirits is producing and in the LCBO. With the second phase build out of a 40,000 square foot facility underway in Collingwood, Heretic Spirits is actively working with our fellow distillers to help make long term changes (for the better) to the distilling industry. His areas of interest are advocacy, branding and happily crafting new products on the still whenever he can. Scott is the CEO Heretic Spirits Inc., VP of Communications Ontario Craft Distillers Association.


Shiraz Mottiar – Malivoire Wine Co.

Born and raised in Fergus, Ontario, Shiraz entered the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute at Brock University and was a member of its first graduating class in 2000. In the fall of that year, Shiraz joined the staff of the Malivoire Wine Company, a new winery on the Beamsville Bench recognized for raising the bar of Ontario wine with innovative methods, as Assistant Winemaker. He became Winemaker in 2005 and has embraced Malivoire’s founding philosophy: a winery’s excellence begins with healthy soil and vines. Shiraz continues to design and identify sustainable wine growing practices in Ontario, respecting each vintage as a unique event. Shiraz believes that the Niagara Peninsula is still defining its terroir, and he is determined, with each succeeding vintage, to contribute to that definition. Shiraz also owns a small Beamsville Bench vineyard, purchased in 2003, where he and his wife Isa live and farm three hectares of chardonnay, melon de Bourgogne and pinot noir.


Mattias Oppenlaender – Grape Growers of Ontario, Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc., Canadian Grapevine Certification Network

Matthias Oppenlaender was born in Germany where he studied agriculture and viticulture before immigrating to Canada in 1984. Matthias, his wife Monica and their five children live in Niagara-on-the-Lake and own Country Tyme Vineyards and Hubel Grape Estates.

In 2006 Matthias was elected Grape King by his fellow grape growers, and represented the industry at events, with government officials and through media. The following year Matthias was elected to the Grape Growers of Ontario’s (GGO) Growers’ Committee and to the Board of Directors. In 2009 Matthias was elected Vice Chair of the Board and he held this position until he was elected Chair in 2016. In addition to the GGO Board of Directors, Matthias is the Chair of Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc. (OGWRI), a joint Board of growers and processors established in 2007 to determine, guide and fund the research priorities of Ontario’s grape and wine industry, and the Treasurer of the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network. CGCN is a national not-for-profit corporation established by provincial industry associations from Ontario, BC, Nova Scotia and Quebec to advance the Canadian grape and wine industry with a sustainable supply of certified propagative grapevine material.

Making great wine starts in the vineyard, and Matthias focuses on growing the best quality of grapes on his 300+ acres of Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Sauvignon Blanc, Baco Noir and Vidal.


Joe Pillitteri – Lakeview Vineyard Equipment

Joe Pillitteri grew up with his parents and two sisters on a peach farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Always the class clown, Joe had passion for very few things outside of comedy – tractors. He considered following in his father’s footsteps to be able to work the land and drive tractors. As he grew up, Joe pursued a Business Marketing degree from McMaster University and following graduation joined John Deere Company as a Territory Manager and eventually Dealer Development Manager. Along the way, Joe married his wife Rebecca Hagman and they had three beautiful children. When news of a fourth child came, Joe decided to leave corporate life to pursue a livelihood that would allow him to spend more time with his family. He also began performing as a comedian for charitable causes and eventually became an in demand emcee and corporate comedian for large scale events. Giving back to the community is a pillar not only of Lakeview Vineyard Equipment but of Joe and his family as well. Using his comedic talents to help build a better Niagara is a huge privilege for Joe and one that he takes very seriously. He has been recognized with awards for his work with charity but ultimately he’s a firm believer that praise matters as much as criticism and that, in the words of his mom, “It’s best just to get up in the morning and try to do good work.”


Carrie Rau – Food & Wine Professional, Sommelier Candidate & WSET Instructor

Carrie Rau is a Cree/food and wine professional living and working in Toronto, Ontario. She is a CAPS Sommelier candidate and a WSET wine educator at IWEG Drinks Academy.

Carrie obtained her WSET Diploma in 2020, completed Level 2 from the International Sommelier Guild, and is a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers. She is currently working as a certified red seal chef in recipe research and development at a large Test Kitchen that specializes in product development.

Always passionate about career development and wine education, she has her eye on future food and beverage trends and is always looking for the next exciting opportunity in the hospitality industry.


James Rilett – Restaurants Canada

James Rilett is a political veteran with a wide range of experience in various portfolios. He has held a senior position at Restaurants Canada as Vice President, Central Canada for eight years. In this role, he has led government relations and communications campaigns as well as acting as a spokesperson for the association and the industry.






Janice Ruddock – Executive Director, Ontario Craft Cider Association

Janice Ruddock is a veteran of creating businesses and managing non-profit associations in the Canadian food and beverage sector. For 10 years Janice was the Executive Director of Taste of Nova Scotia, a non-profit association devoted to building the businesses of Nova Scotia owned food processors, producers, and restaurants. During the same time, Janice led the Winery Association of Nova Scotia during a period of intense growth for the Nova Scotia wine industry. As well Janice has also built two, multi-million dollar private corporations servicing the needs of Canadian food and beverage companies. Janice joined the Ontario Craft Cider Association as their Executive Director in January 2021. Janice is recognized by friends, business associates, and the industry as being an avid supporter of business owners who take the chances, go against the odds, and pursue their passion for bringing quality beverage and food products to their communities. In her spare time Janice loves sharing food with friends and family, reading cookbooks, travel, golfing, skiing, walking her dog Macy but most of all spending time with her husband Rob, and their two grown children Shareen and Robbie.


Scott Simmons – Ontario Craft Brewers

Scott Simmons has been the President of the Ontario Craft Brewers Association since August 2017. Prior to that he spent 33 years in the packaged goods, retail, agency, and sport administration industries, most recently as CEO of Golf Canada (2007 – 2017), the governing body of golf in Canada. Simmons also has a deep interest and knowledge of the brewing industry, having previously worked as vice president, marketing and business development for The Beer Store (2001 – 2007), where he led the development of a long range strategic plan to guide the organizational retail renewal program. He has lived in Mississauga for the last 18 years, and he and his wife are the proud parents of four daughters.


John Sinopoli – Ascari Hospitality Group

After completing an honours degree at McGill and a year of travels in Japan, in 2000 John attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC. He worked at the venerable La Caravelle and then moved on to Craft, Tom Colicchio’s flagship, part of the team that won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the United States.

Upon John’s return to Toronto, he joined the acclaimed Splendido under Chef/Owner David Lee. In 2005, John opened Izakaya with owner and partner Erik Joyal where he developed a style of Japanese food that spoke to his experience in Japan as well as a modern Canadian approach. June of 2008 saw a shift back to John and Erik’s European roots with the opening of Table 17 in Riverside with a local ingredient-driven menu. In 2011, John and Erik opened Italian-inspired Ascari Enoteca, with a focus on “off the beaten path” wines as well as Italian classics. This was closely followed by the birth of the fun neighbourhood spot, Hi-Lo Bar. In 2015, Sinopoli and Joyal developed the food and beverage program for the The Broadview Hotel and in 2017 opened Parisian style brasserie Gare de l’Est Brasserie. After moving on from The Broadview Hotel, John and Erik formed the Ascari Hospitality Group and began work on the Ascari King West, which opened in June of 2019 to much acclaim.

As 2020 saw the onset of the global corona virus pandemic, Sinopoli with other industry partners created the coalition of independent restaurants across the country called SaveHospitality.Ca. SHCA advocates to all levels of government for the policies and government programs that will aid in the survival of the hospitality industry.


David Stasiuk – Nuance Winery Supplies

David is a graduate of the Niagara College Winery and Viticulture Technician program. After winemaking travels in Ontario, British Columbia, Australia, and New Zealand, David spent 10 years as the head winemaker for Rockway Vineyards in the Niagara’s Twenty Mile Bench sub-appellation. In 2019, David joined Nuance Winery Supplies as the Technical Sales rep for Eastern Canada. David’s love for technology and his passion for people make this role a perfect fit. David continues to seek practical tools that will help advance our industry’s position on every level.


Olivia Siu – Vinequity

Olivia Siu is a WSET Level 4 Diploma candidate, a digital marketing consultant and writer at Crazy Wine Asian. She is also the Principal at Wineflocks, a virtual wine community that helps millennial wine consumers discover products they love. She completed her French Wine Scholar with highest honours and is currently pursuing her Loire Master-Level certification with the Wine Scholar Guild.

She worked at two of Canada’s largest wine and spirits distributors, as well as one of the country’s leading wineries in the Okanagan valley. Before joining the wine industry, Olivia built a successful marketing and design career in the technology sector with experience growing start-up companies into multi-million dollar businesses.

Olivia grew up in Hong Kong, lived in Montreal for a decade and is now based in Toronto. She speaks fluent Cantonese, Mandarin, English, with a good understanding of French.


Sandra Tavares – Tavares Group Consulting Inc. / Staarsoft®

Sandra, an approved Ontario Viticulture and Winery Sustainability Auditor and certified Sustainability Professional, was introduced to Sustainability in her global Environment and Health & Safety (EHS) role for UK-based Marconi plc. In 2005, Sandra established Tavares Group Consulting Inc., a firm that emphasizes the process approach to sustainability. This approach has been formalized via the Sustainability Toolkit and its associated Staarsoft® software, which incorporates risk assessment and stakeholder concerns to ensure successful implementation of sustainability programs and meaningful reporting on material environmental and social issues. The approach has been successful in a number of sectors and presented at a number of national and international conferences, including Canect 2019, Automotive Industry Action Group’s 2015-2018 Corporate Responsibility Summits, 2016 World Ethical Apparel Roundtable, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s 2015 Annual Conference & Expo, and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering’s 2015 Professional Development Conference.


Christopher Waters – Wine & Spirits Columnist, Globe & Mail

Christopher Waters is the wine and spirits columnist at The Globe and Mail, education director of IWEG Drinks Academy and a WSET certified instructor at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University. For 21 years, he was the editor/co-founder of Canada’s largest circulation wine publication, VINES, and author of the nationally syndicated column, Waters & Wine. An internationally recognized wine judge, Christopher represents Canada for the Six Nations Wine Challenge and served as head judge and organizer of the InterVin International Wine Awards from 2009-2019.


Dr. Jim Willwerth – Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute

Dr. Jim Willwerth is the Senior Staff Scientist in Viticulture in the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Brock University where he focuses on applied research and outreach for the Canadian grape and wine industry. The major component of his research program is focused on grapevine cold hardiness physiology and understanding how to maximize cold hardiness in V. vinifera. Other projects include grapevine clone and rootstock evaluations to see how clone and rootstock selection can impact performance, including cold tolerance and wine quality in cool climate regions; novel freeze and crop production strategies and; viticultural practices to improve sparkling and still wine production. Dr. Willwerth has outreach responsibilities to provide effective technology transfer to the grape grower community across Canada to improve grape production and quality across the sector. He works very closely with industry on their priorities and provides knowledge transfer through workshops, seminars and research demonstrations. One of the major outreach initiatives includes spearheading the VineAlert cold hardiness risk management program, an interactive web-based grapevine management program and early warning system for cold injury used by grape growers to mitigate the impact of cold weather events (www.ccovi.ca/vine-alert). Dr. Willwerth collaborates with researchers within CCOVI, across Canada and the US on both research and outreach activities.


Rick Wismer – MNP LLP

Rick Wismer, P.Ag, CAFA, CPA, CA, LPA, is a Partner in MNP’s St. Catharines office and Leader of the Agri-food and Beverage team for South Central Ontario. Rick delivers a broad range of services to businesses in the primary agriculture and food and beverage industries, such as wineries, craft breweries, cideries and distilleries, greenhouses and viticulture and horticulture operations. For 35 years, Rick has owned and operated commercial farm operations specializing in viticulture, cash crops, fruit and farm management services. This has given him real-life understanding of the challenges his clients face and the opportunities that can help them thrive. As a result, Rick is able to devise creative solutions to difficult problems. Rick has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph, where he majored in business and economics. He is a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (CA). Rick is also a member of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) and a Licenced Public Accountant (LPA).


Debbie Zimmerman – Grape Growers of Ontario

Since 2003, Debbie has been the CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario, the official organization that represents over 500 farm families producing grapes on over 17,000 acres across the province. Debbie was actively involved in local politics for 36 years and was elected as Regional Chair for the Regional Municipality of Niagara in 1997, a position that she served for two terms. Debbie is also the past Chair of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation for the Province of Ontario (2004-2010). In 2015, Debbie was assigned by the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, to the Provincial Review Panel for Ontario’s Land Use Plans, and in 2017 Debbie joined the Premier on the Provincial Trade Mission to China and Vietnam.

Debbie currently sits on several Boards and has been the recipient of many awards including the 2015 Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation’s “Local Food Champion” award for her commitment to local food and her years of service to Niagara, and in 2017 Debbie was named a “Friend of the Greenbelt” for her work on the Provincial Review Panel. In June of 2020 Debbie received an honourary Doctorate of Laws from Brock University for her lifelong work and commitment to the Region of Niagara.


TUESDAY, April 5th, 2022

8:45 a.m. – 6:45 p.m.


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Let us know if you have any questions about the Ontario Craft Wine Conference 2022?