John Szabo

John is 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 CSM Americas. 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, voices his views regularly on radio and travels the wine regions of the world in search of the best.


Current Wine Related Activities

John manages a consulting and education firm 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 organizations. 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 a principal critic for, a national tasting panel member for Wine Access Magazine and wine editor and columnist for CityBites Magazine. He writes freelance for other publications and dailies, and was recently the recipient of the 2009 Savour Ontario Wine Journalism Award. 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. Currently he holds the title of President of the Wine Writer¢s Circle of Canada.


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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