Rhys Pender MW – Owner & Instructor
Rhys Pender MW is a wine educator, freelance wine writer, wine judge and consultant to the industry. Working in the wine trade since age 14, Rhys’ career has included experience in the vineyard, cellar, wine retail, education and hospitality – providing knowledge in all facets of the business. In 2010 Rhys became Canada’s youngest Master of Wine (MW) and was awarded the Taransaud Award for best Production of Wine paper.
To ensure a full understanding of wine in its key context, with food, Rhys has also completed a professional culinary diploma. He has taught hundreds of wine classes for WSET®, Okanagan College and privately to wineries, restaurants and corporate groups. He consults to the industry on marketing, new winery development, wine evaluations, viticulture, business planning, food and wine pairing and staff training. Rhys is a regular contributor on wine to publications WineAlign, Taste and Montecristo. Rhys has judged with the National Wine Awards of Canada, the World Wine Awards of Canada, the Decanter World Wine Awards, Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards and the Dallas Morning News Wine Competition. In 2008, Rhys was named by Western Living magazine as one of the “Top 40 Foodies Under 40” in Western Canada.
In 2009 Rhys and his wife Alishan planted a small 4 acre vineyard at their Cawston home and started Little Farm Winery in 2011. Rhys instructs WSET® and educational programs for Wine Plus+.
Iain Philip – Instructor – Vancouver
Iain Philip DipWSET is a long standing wine instructor in Vancouver and has been dedicated to teaching the Wine & Spirit Education Trust courses since 2002. He currently teaches all levels of the WSET programs, including the Level 4 Diploma. He has conducted WSET classes in several other markets including Calgary and San Diego, and has consulted for some of North America’s largest wine companies wanting to incorporate the curriculum into their staff training. Iain gained the WSET Diploma in 2001, French Wine Scholar in 2014 (with Highest Honors) and is a Cavaleiro in the Port Wine Brotherhood. With his wife Barbara Philip MW and their company Barbariain Wine Consulting, Iain is a regular contributor to Taste Magazine as well as a presenter and wine competition judge.
Sharon McLean – Instructor – Vancouver Island
Sharon is a certified sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild, a leading instructor of Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and French Wine Scholar courses on Vancouver Island, a wine judge and a freelance wine writer. In 2009, she completed the WSET Diploma with the highest marks in Canada. Since then she has gone on to become a French Wine Scholar, a Certified Sherry Educator and completed certification through the Center for Wine Origins (Wine Location Specialist in Port & Champagne).
Sharon is pursuing the Masters of Wine certification and has passed the first year assessments.
When not engaged in a wine glass, she is a highly sought after management consultant with more than 20 years of international experience.
Daniel Stiefvater – Instructor – Vancouver Island
Daniel brings strong industry experience, a relentless passion for wine, and infectious enthusiasm to the classroom. A certified Sommelier & Educator, Daniel “delivers the goods” in a clear, humble, and interactive style that fosters continued learning and development. Daniel is a member of CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers), a French Wine Scholar, an Italian Wine Specialist, a Sherry Specialist and teaches part-time at Camosun College; his “day job” is representing a fine wine portfolio imported by Trialto Wine Group. Previously, in the hospitality industry, Daniel has had the opportunity to experience some of BC’s most beautiful resorts, managing Food & Beverage operations at the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa; Sonora Resort – A Relais & Chateaux property in Desolation Sound; and the Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria. Daniel is thrilled to be a delivering WSET courses with Wine Plus+, striving to build a stronger wine community in Victoria and Vancouver Island.