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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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, 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.
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 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 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.
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!
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.
As the son of two teachers, Samuel was fated to go into education. In 2006, he finished a program in history studies just before being hired at the SAQ. Almost instantly, he felt the world of wine beckon. For him, the history of wine and humankind are intertwined and almost inseparable. In 2011, he finished his attestation of vocational specialization (AVS) in sommelier training with a scholarship of excellence. Today, this outspoken enthusiast wants to democratize the world of wine and make it accessible to everyone.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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 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 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'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.
A proud SAQ ambassador for many years, Patrick has developed a strong passion for the wonderful world of whisky. Given current trends for innovation and novelty, he was quickly won over by the astonishing sensory diversity of this eau de vie. Patrick Lépine has taken classes on the chemistry of wine and spirits, which have broadened his scientific knowledge of how whisky is made and how its flavours develop. As a writer for the website La Centrale Scotch Whisky, he has sharpened his skills in making concepts easy to understand so that everyone can better enjoy their whisky-tasting experience.
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.
Gilles became a wine adviser at the former Maison des vins in Trois-Rivières in September 1981. A few months later, he launched the first wine classes given by an employee of the SAQ in Mauricie. Ten years after that, he became part of “Les Connaisseurs,” a wine appreciation service that became available across Quebec. In 1996, he started writing a food and wine column for the local paper Le Nouvelliste, and that same year he was named “Connaisseur de l’entreprise.” He has also worked as a trainer for his colleagues at the SAQ. After retiring from this government-owned corporation in 2010, he became a facilitator and then a lecturer in the school of continuing education at UQTR, where he now communicates his 40-year passion for the diverse field of wine and also covers topics such as foreign languages, geography, history and more.
With a long-standing interest in wines and spirits, Daphné decided to make a career in this industry in 2014. After completing her sommelier training at the ITHQ, she began leading a double life as an engineer and sommelier. She has grown her passion and knowledge of different terroirs, and loves travelling to wine regions and talking with winemakers. A member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, she hosts private discovery and tasting events while sharing her enthusiasm and love of wine with generosity and great attention to detail.
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 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.
Mathieu has worked at the SAQ for over 10 years and has training in both geography and sommelier techniques. A true epicure, he pursued a career by following his love of wine and honed his theoretical knowledge through not only different training programs but also trips to vineyards in Europe and North America. Over the years, his passion has also led him to teach at the École hôtelière de la Capitale, provide commentary on the radio, and take part in several wine-related events. His main professional goals are to share his knowledge and make the world of wine accessible to as many people as possible.
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.
Gabrielle Plastre has worked in the restaurant industry for over 10 years and is a member of the service team at the restaurant Chez Victoire. She began her sommelier studies in 2013 and earned three diplomas in 2014 and 2016: her first came from the ITHQ, the second was from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (Level 3 Award with Distinction), and her third was a certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2019, she became the first Master of Port Canada after winning the national competition. Her other distinctions include first place in sommelier competitions held by Wines of Argentina (2016) and the German Wine Institute (2018).
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.
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.
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, 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!
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.
A graduate of the ITHQ Bartending Program, François worked in the restaurant industry while getting his bachelor’s degree in history. He then spent many years teaching history and economics before finally pursuing a career at the SAQ, where he has worked for 18 years. He had a big hand in developing and implementing the Espace Cocktail project throughout the SAQ network. Known as an ambassador and an authority when it comes to cocktails and spirits, François draws on his teaching experience to share his passion no matter what event he is leading. His fun, enthusiastic and laid-back style makes his approach both friendly and interactive.
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.”