About us

The SAQ and the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) have proudly combined their missions to offer a varied range of courses that teach participants about the world of wines and spirits and its ties with the culinary arts.

The ITHQ

As Canada's largest tourism, hospitality, food service and sommelier training centre, the ITHQ is pleased to give new momentum to SAQ Workshops through an exclusive partnership established with the SAQ in 2015.

In addition to holding the SAQ Wine and Spirits Courses, the ITHQ offers foodies who are eager to learn how to pair fine foods with fine wines to dive in head first with its Wine and Food Pairing Workshops.

Awaken your senses to experience a rich and unique world of tastes and aromas.

The SAQ

A leader in the selection and sale of wines and spirits, the SAQ offered its Les Connaisseurs courses from 1988 to 2010, attracting some 50,000 enthusiastic wine and spirits lovers during this period. With the launch of SAQ Inspire, a new personalized experience for customers, the SAQ has revised its offering to provide a wider range of education opportunities. Its SAQ Workshops were born out of this initiative.

Have any questions about the SAQ in general? Contact SAQ Customer Service.


Instructors

Our ITHQ-certified instructors are experts in their field and eager to share their passion and knowledge. Workshop participants can count on a lively and spirited time!

Nicolas Angers
Guided by a longstanding interest in wine, beer and spirits, Nicolas joined the SAQ while still at university and worked in its retail outlets for a number of years. He went on to work as a Les Connaisseurs course instructor for over 15 years, and today he is a lawyer with SAQ Legal Services — as well as an amateur brewer in his spare time. Driven by his passion for the products and the pleasures of sharing and discovery, he is committed to making the rich world of wine, beer and spirits more accessible and to revealing their subtleties through a playful approach.

Jean Beaudin
Master Sommelier Jean Beaudin began his career in the restaurant sector as a maître d’hôtel and sommelier at such restaurants as Eau à la bouche (Sainte-Adèle), La Forge and La Quintessence (Mont-Tremblant), Derrière les fagots (Sainte-Rose) and Mange Grenouille (Le Bic). A founding member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS), he was the technical director behind the latest “Quebec's Best Sommelier” competition. For about fifteen years, Mr. Beaudin has been teaching the art of sommellerie in Sainte-Adèle at the École Hôtelière des Laurentides, where he trains around forty sommeliers per year.

Frédéric Beauregard
Frédéric developed a passion and love for wine early on and has been working at the SAQ for 15 years now. Curious by nature, he takes every opportunity to explore the tastes and aromas of wines. Frédéric has a Bachelor's degree in microbiology and he loves to meticulously analyze wines, his starting point for understanding how to build successful food pairings. His goal is to make the sensory world of wines more accessible and less intimidating with an approach that encourages the sharing of enjoyment and experiences.

Nathalie Bergeron
Nathalie, who has more than 25 years of work experience in the hospitality industry, human resources management, training, and restaurant design and management, has had a long fascination with wines and spirits characterized by curiosity and passion. When she decided to enrol in sommelier training at the ITHQ, she saw it as a way to combine her two passions: the world of wine with all its wonders, and the desire to share her knowledge. Her thirst for discovery led her to remain an apprentice sommelier, a position that allows her to reinvent herself constantly and offer accessible, up-to-date and engaging information.

Jean-Yves Bernard
Extensive experience in restaurant work and a number of development courses taken along the way, including an ITHQ management program and sommelier training with Jacques Orhon, led Jean-Yves to become one of the founding members of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, where he acted as a director for over 20 years. Having worked as a sommelier and maître d’hôtel in renowned restaurants, at the sides of great chefs and accomplished master sommeliers, including Jules Roiseux, he takes pleasure today in sharing his experiences and, above all, introducing others to the pleasures of wine by providing a simple setting where they are within reach of all.

Éric Bertoldi
A sommelier by training, Éric has been working since 2000 for the SAQ, where his roles as marketing product expert, taster and product selection committee member make his day-to-day work a perpetual quest for information to support corporate marketing initiatives. Travels through Europe and the Americas have afforded him invaluable field experience, but above all they have shown him that wine is a powerful social glue, and meant to be shared. Crafted for the dinner table, wine is an elixir, and as a vehicle of gastronomic pleasure, it is where enjoyment begins! Éric can answer all your questions in the relaxed setting of his workshops, where epicureans will feel right at home.

Joël Bourgeois
Joël has been making his way in the world of teaching and education since his youth in his native Belgium. Feeling the need to strengthen ties with his European roots after immigrating to Québec in 2004, he began to develop an interest in beer — of course — as well as wine, which led him to join the SAQ and enrol in sommelier training at the ITHQ. It was only fitting that his path would bring him to training and course instruction with the SAQ Les Connaisseurs team. What Joël loves about wine is that it tells the story of a place, and the fact that passion for a job well done can be found in the glass. His special interests include organic and biodynamic farming methods and natural winemaking processes.

Nicolas Bourque
Nicolas has been working at the SAQ for over 15 years and is interested in both wine and spirits. Spurred by his thirst for learning, he has travelled the world and developed his knowledge with a Master's degree in food history and a second Master's in terroir management and knowledge. Since 2012 he has put this knowledge to good use as an Ateliers SAQ instructor.  

Carmine Caravaggio
After completing a Bachelor's degree in sociology at McGill University, Carmine continued his education by enrolling in the ITHQ food service and sommelier training programs. With over 15 years of work experience in Montréal restaurants, he has joined the Ateliers SAQ team to share his knowledge and experience in various wine courses. Carmine gives pride of place to his origins with his vast knowledge of Italian gastronomy and wines. He returns to Italy each year to further develop his knowledge of this magnificent country’s grape and wine production. Viva l’Italia!

Philippe Cherrier
Throughout his more than 39 years with the SAQ, Philippe has had but one goal: excellence. As an SAQ-ITHQ committee member, ITHQ-certified wine advisor, and daytime and evening course instructor, he has used his knowledge to serve thousands of employees, managers and customers who can acknowledge his expertise! A self-taught expert, he has travelled through Europe and the Americas to complete training and development courses, including the Bordeaux Wine Ambassador program offered by the Conseil interprofessionnel du vin de Bordeaux (the Bordeaux Wine Council). He looks forward to sharing the information stored on the hard drive of his mind!

François Côté
As a consulting sommelier and an engineer, François believes that wine is a product of both passion and engineering. Many years of teaching in Canada and around the world have turned him into a skilled educator who can deftly explain things to a lay audience. A great lover of port, a specialist in glassware, and a member of the Wine Judges of Canada, François puts all of his scientific tools and passion into serving you. For him, the world of wine is one of pleasure, sharing and discovery.

Ghislain Duquette
As an SAQ quality management and laboratory chemist since 1998 and member of the Canadian Association of Œnologists, Ghislain knows the inside story when it comes to wine. He has a passion for presenting the complex in understandable form, and you will enjoy his many analogies and sense of humour, which make learning from him so much fun.

Danielle Gagnon
Danielle has been working in the restaurant business for 25 years and, thanks to the teachings of mentor Jacques Orhon, practicing the sommelier’s art since 1998. Numerous travels through the wine-growing regions of Europe have in turn shaped her vision of the world of wine, a place where tastes, aromas and textures join together in delightful combinations. Danielle sees sharing her knowledge and fervour for the divine nectar as an opportunity for constant growth.

Rachel Gagnon
At the service of the SAQ for nearly 30 years, Rachel will soon complete 20 years as a certified SAQ wine advisor. A fervent wine lover who has been fortunate enough to live out her passion at the sides of major wine producers, she discovered and nurtured a great affinity for California wines while training in one the vineyards of this beautiful wine region. She made her début as an instructor 15 years ago, working with SAQ training managers, and now hosts video tutorials on wines for SAQ employees, a means for her to develop her knowledge as well as share it with others.

Simon Gaudreault-Rouleau
Simon turned his love of wine, which dates back more than 10 years, into a career by completing sommelier training at the ITHQ. Now an SAQ product expert, he puts his experience as a restaurant sommelier and SAQ retail employee and from travels through France and California, along with his talents as a communicator, to good use on a daily basis. Ateliers SAQ by ITHQ workshops are a means for him to share his love of wine and show people that the world of wine, while complex, is not complicated.

Bruno Godet
A wine connoisseur and enthusiast for more than 25 years, Bruno built on his wine knowledge and skills with sommelier training at the ITHQ. He is now a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and has acquired his experience through travels, appearances at tasting events, and participation in the grape growing and winemaking operations of a Québec vineyard. His main objective in leading SAQ Workshops by the ITHQ is to share and discuss wine, simply and without pretension, and experience its pleasures.

Edwin Knight-Vallée
Equipped with his passion, drive, and wide-ranging curiosity, Edwin travelled through Asia, Australia and parts of Europe at a young age. His journeys have opened him up to experiencing new tastes and aromas and been a great source of inspiration. Back in Montréal, he opened the cocktail bar Le Jockey with three partners in the heart of the Rosemont–La-Petite-Patrie neighbourhood. In his never-ending quest for the right ingredients, new tastes and perfect combinations, Edwin creates his unique-tasting, original cocktails by giving free reign to his inspiration and imagination.

Jody Lamoureux
Jody, who vows his undying love of wine, is the most passionate of them all. It was while studying hospitality in Sherbrooke that he discovered its wonderful world. He has been with the SAQ for over 15 years now, sharing his knowledge in courses and at tastings. Always on the lookout for uncommon food and wine pairings, Jody is a dynamic instructor whose passion is infectious.

Janou Landry
Janou developed her expertise and customer service approach as an SAQ wine advisor, a position she has held for more than 20 years. Whether training coworkers or hosting events, she is adept in expressing the technical and at times complex language of wine and winemaking in terms we can all understand. Each year Janou visits at least one grape and wine-producing region, discovering new techniques and drawing inspiration from the people and passion behind the products. She loves to share her experiences, and her enthusiasm inspires a passion for discovery and adventure in the world of wines and spirits!

Olivier Laporte
Olivier studied to be both a geographer and brewer and has worked for the SAQ for 11 great years. Over time, his passion for fermented beverages has led him to explore the wine world and its wonders in all of its forms. An avid traveller with a great love for good food, he’s a perfect model of the globetrotting epicurean. He is curious by nature, able to express the complex in simple terms, and he enjoys working with the public: three qualities that when combined make a dynamic individual!

Éric Latreille
Éric's love of wine was born in 1997, when he first started working for the SAQ. The son of a wine advisor, he received his diploma in commercial and institutional cooking in 1996 and earned the title of sommelier at the École Hôtelière des Laurentides in 2003. He became a wine advisor in 2004 and loves showing customers at our Brossard outlet the wine world and its wonders. Over the years he has taught wine and spirits courses and workshops, taught restaurant service and sommelier courses at the Académie d'hôtellerie et de tourisme de Lanaudière, and hosted conferences. He also shares his knowledge by providing ongoing training to coworkers.

Don-Jean Léandri
After completing a first career in major hotels and restaurants, Don-Jean has now retired from his second career, as a sommelier course instructor at the École hôtelière de Laval, which he began in 1996. Having dedicated his life to serving wine and sharing his knowledge with students and the public at conferences and tasting events, did he ever really think he would be satisfied, back in his native Corsica, with the feeble intoxication afforded by the scent of the Mediterranean scrub as it wafts by? Apparently not! He’s back, more enthusiastic than ever and certain to share his great passion and driving force in his Ateliers SAQ by ITHQ workshops!

Diane Lesage
With an ITHQ diploma in Restaurant Management, instructor certification from the Bordeaux Wine School, a wealth of experience from nearly 20 years of serving SAQ customers and many more as a radio wine columnist, Diane is a born epicurean who generously shares her knowledge and love of wine with great enthusiasm. As an advisor she is second to none. She can always bring you the perfect find for your next dinner event and takes great pleasure in introducing customers to the fascinating world of wines.

François Nolet
François, who holds instructor certification from the Bordeaux Wine School and has been an active player in the wine world for more than 25 years, constantly seeks to develop his professional knowledge through travels for training purposes (in Languedoc, California, Bordeaux and Ontario). A gifted and charismatic communicator, he will have you make discoveries that are nothing less than astonishing and explain the winemaking world with infectious enthusiasm.

Xavier Ochs
Xavier has been teaching courses on alcoholic beverages since 2002 and is recognized for his skill in popularizing complex notions, as well as his participatory approach and listening ability. Readily enhancing course content with anecdotes from his professional and personal travels through Europe, Asia and the Americas, he emphasizes the art of living and the importance of taking one's time. His broad-ranging industry knowledge will enable you to cast a more critical eye as a consumer and to better understand the issues at hand. If you seek a rigorous yet friendly approach, Xavier will meet your highest expectations.

Julie Perreault
Julie has been an SAQ product expert since 2000, and she currently puts her knowledge and interest in wine to good use in her work on the SAQ content marketing team. Her rich trove of anecdotes and stories from visits to vineyards in North and South America, Spain, Portugal and each of France’s wine regions add to her mastery of wine knowledge. A teacher by training, she enjoys sharing her passion with a friendly and playful instructional approach.

François Primeau
As an SAQ employee and wine enthusiast for over 30 years, François has acquired extensive knowledge of the world of alcoholic beverages. He has been an enthusiastic instructor for the past 20 of these years and knows how to make the wine world and its language understandable. He shares his knowledge and experience generously, much to the delight of his customers. In addition to working as an instructor, he an SAQ information officer for Québec alcoholic beverage producers. François also coordinates the Fête des vins du Québec and Mondial des cidres competitions and is a radio wine columnist.

Louise Riopel
An SAQ retiree, Louise worked for many years in its purchasing and transportation department as well as in marketing. She also served as single point of contact for the artisanal producers of Québec, and her broad-ranging knowledge of its terroir products is remarkable in its scope. Louise still works in the field as an analyst for a wine import agency. She holds instructor certification from the Bordeaux Wine School and knows how to make the language of wine accessible for the benefit of all. In addition to providing training with the ITHQ, she acts as judge each year in the Québec Cider, Grands vins du Québec and Maple Syrup competitions.

Justin Rouette
A sommelier by training, Justin is an SAQ product expert who developed his theoretical knowledge and tasting know-how through numerous journeys to wine-producing regions in France, Spain, Italy, Austria and Germany, as well as California. Driven by his thirst for discovery, he readily shares his enthusiasm for the world of wine and its infinite facets.

Olivier Roy
A wine connoisseur since 2004, Olivier recommends a simple and humble approach to exploring the vast world of wine. He likes to add a dash of humour to his workshops, because his ultimate goal is to have fun, and lots of it! The way he sees it, wine, like knowledge, is meant to be shared.

Marc Simard
Marc, who has been an SAQ customer advisor for 16 years now, is a self-taught wine expert and connoisseur, and what he loves most is sharing his knowledge and popularizing the language of wine, in his own way, to enhance our enjoyment of the product. He is active in his milieu, working as an organizer for the Festival des Vins de Saguenay as well as a radio wine columnist. He even finds the time to run a food and wine pairing club!

Pierre Thibault
Pierre learned wine tasting in the vineyards of artisanal wine producers, who educated him on the vines, the terroir and production methods, instilling him with a passion for wine that he wishes to share in turn. He firmly believes in wine’s importance as a delectable pretext for social interaction and has made a dozen trips to wine-producing regions and met with over a hundred wine growers. He has also completed the ITHQ sommelier training program.

Hélène Turcotte
Hélène obtained her restaurant service and sommelier diploma from the ITHQ in 2000. She went on to teach its bar service course in 2002 and has been teaching its sommelier, service, bar and sensory analysis courses on a regular basis since 2004. In addition to her teaching activities, she has more than 16 years of experience in the milieu, including work at the Casino de Montréal and Relais & Châteaux hotels in both France and Québec in the positions of sommelier, captain waiter and maître d'hôtel. She has also worked as a sommelier in Montréal restaurants renowned for their privately imported wines.

Michel Verdon
Michel holds an ITHQ sommelier diploma and has been teaching SAQ wine courses for several years. He loves sharing his passions, which he did for four years as a television columnist, and has been dubbed the “gardener-cook-connoisseur.” His passions include all the pleasures of the palate and he has an edible garden planted with the ingredients for superb dishes of his own invention, which you can be sure he’ll serve with a good wine.

Sébastien Villeneuve
An enthusiastic SAQ employee since 1998, Sébastien is actively involved in his professional milieu. In his former role as Director of SAQ Art de vivre, he acquired experience working with kitchen chefs and winemakers. He has further developed his knowledge through a number of courses taken abroad at institutions including the Bordeaux Wine School. Sébastien has spent many years working as a radio columnist and is an active participant in the wine world, always seizing opportunities to share his infectious enthusiasm. He has acted as Vice-President of the wine association Vin-O-Monde since 2008. His motto? “Wine is a simple pleasure meant to be shared.”