ABOUT OUR EXPERT
Stephen hails from the UK and trained in the world of luxury hospitality with The Savoy Hotel Company in London and Switzerland. After working in country house and iconic city hotels, he moved to the USA in 1994 to manage Keswick Hall, in Charlottesville, Virginia. His passion for wine began at a very young age.
While in grade school, he participated in an exchange visit with a French family and spent several weeks living with them in the Loire Valley surrounded by vines. Wine with dinner, even though diluted with water, was the norm, and he quickly became enamoured with the taste and the romance around the entire wine growing, wine making and wine drinking experience. This was a new and exciting world! Frequent trips to Europe followed and invariably included visits to wine making regions including Champagne, Bordeaux, Alsace, Burgundy, Provence, Jura, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Tuscany, Lombardy and Piedmont.
Here was a culture, beautiful scenery, fascinating personalities and a lifestyle that was contagious and intoxicating. Since those early years, he has continued to travel extensively through Europe and North America, visiting wineries, dining with winemakers in thier homes, forming lifelong bonds and expanding his wine knowledge.
Some of his most formative wine experience was gained in Cambridge, England when he was the Food and Beverage Manager of the top hotel in the city. The famous colleges of Cambridge University have some of the largest collections of wines in the world, and by virtue of his location, Stephen was able to attend dozens of wine tastings at which he was exposed to highly sought after wines that are rarely seen, let alone tasted.
Over the past thirty five years, Stephen has managed iconic 5-star resorts, hotels and private clubs in Yorkshire, Virginia, Wisconsin, St. Andrew's, Scotland, The British Virgin Islands and Montana.
Now living in Ontario, managing a private estate, Stephen is the Principal Consultant and the owner of CLARITY, bringing curated wine experiences into clients' homes and offices. He shares his knowledge and many stories about the fascinating world of wine, engaging guests with his authentic style and sense of humour in a genuinely relaxed and enjoyable way.
TRAINING AND FACILITATION
In addition to private, in-home wine tasting events, Stephen is a specialist in corporate training, communications and leadership development, often using the metaphor of wine in team-building sessions to make learning fun, inspirational and memorable. He has taught hospitality management and beverage related courses at Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.
Stephen gained the prestigious designation of Certified Wine Educator with The Society of Wine Educators in Washington DC in 2004. This notoriously difficult exam is a unique certification that not only tests a candidate's wine knowledge, but also validates his or her tasting acumen and teaching ability. The certification is widely recognized and highly regarded by the international wine and spirits industry. Stephen loves nothing more than to share his knowledge with others.