Marte started her wine education at the age of 17 when she visited the Bordeaux regions of Entre-Deux-Mers and Médoc. She has been hooked on wine ever since. Following her passions for travel and wine, Marte has spent the last three decades studying wines around the world. Along the way, she has also gone back to school to be formally trained.
SommEvents is not Marte’s first business but certainly the one she is most passionate about. Coordinating events, selecting wines and food pairing, creating new ways of presenting wine and sharing her knowledge with clients never feels like work for her. Niagara is the region she has come to know in depth over the last 20 years and, although she makes her base there, no wine region is foreign to her. Using all of her knowledge, Marte helps companies with clientretention strategies using wine.
Life is a collection of moments….gather as many of the good ones as you can
For more than 10 years, Archie has been sharing his passion with the world. Retiring from his commercial photography business, he decided to follow his second passion — wine. He started from the bottom up, working at Hillebrand and Angels Gate at the same time. During the evenings, he took wine courses at Brock Univ. for the next two years, followed by a two-year program to become a Certified Sommelier, graduating with academic honours. While at Hillebrand, Archie initiated the back vintages program educating clients to the delights of older wines. Moving on to Southbrook Vineyards, he opened and managed the new Biodynamic winery for two years. He then spent 6 years at Reif Estate Winery, creating high-end sensory experiences at their chic sensory bar, educating staff and managing their wine club program. Needless to say he is a very busy person and he still wants to do more. Raised in the Niagara Peninsula, he feels a beckoning to reveal all the wonders and hidden-gem wineries that it has to offer. Becoming an integral part of SommEvents fits like a glove. Archie is qualified in all aspects of wine education that will give the client an exceptional experience. One of the more colourful sommeliers in the area, he is always entertaining and demystifying the aspects of wine.
Ashley’s fascination with food and wine began when she was very young, as she accompanied her parents to wine tastings. Years later, when she was old enough to finally experience wine herself, it was love at first taste!
After a decade of travelling to different wine regions to start her education, including Italy, Ashley went on to pursue a formal education in wine. She has completed her WSET Level 3s and is working toward a Sommelier Certification and Italian Wine Certification. To date, Ashley hosted numerous private tasting events where she was able to showcase her talent for blind tastings which always delights guests.
Ashley specializes in event hosting at SommEvents, where she provides food pairings and a lesson about each wine. “I want wine tastings to be fun and educational without being pretentious, especially for younger generations,” explains Ashley. “There's a lot to admire about a wine’s history and the different processes of making it and I want to share that with everyone.”
Jennifer never considered wine as a career. She first learned to embrace the diversity in wine after a local merchant encouraged her to explore wines other than the cheap and cheerful white Zinfandel (her usual choice). He explained what to expect from the producer, the terroir, the vintage, and more. Her informal education continued as Jennifer embarked on “armchair travels,” experimenting with wines from around the world while reading about them.
It was only after spending 20 years in the legal field and raising her family that Jennifer considered wine as a career. She began her studies in wine and has since taken the WSET Levels 1, 2 and 3 courses. In 2018, she attended the Intensive Sommelier program at the International Culinary Center in New York City, earning her Certified Sommelier pin.
As virtual tasting educator at SommEvents, Jennifer believes that wine should be approachable. “When you explain what can be seen as a complex product to someone in layman’s terms, you can see a light bulb go off and all of a sudden they get excited about what is in their glass,” says Jennifer. “That’s my favorite part about leading a tasting.”
Tracy discovered her passion for wine after visiting different wine regions around the world and learning about various grape varieties and how they influence the profile of the final wine. As a certified wine professional, Tracy has advanced qualifications from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust as well as her WSET Levels 1, 2, and 3, Fine Vintage Ltd. Sommelier Certification Level 1, and credentials from the Burgundy Wine School – Exploring Burgundy.
Tracy brings extensive experience leading wine tastings and food pairing sessions in restaurants, retail environments, and one-on-one with clientele. Her love and knowledge of wine are extensive, and it is evident upon meeting her that client interaction is key to her.
At SommEvents, Tracy leads private groups in educating them about the different varietals, how to taste wine, the various regions, accessories, as well as food and wine pairings. More than anything, she embraces curiosity about wine and is passionate about offering unforgettable wine experiences. “With so many choices, it is incredibly difficult to choose a favourite wine. It will depend on what I am eating, what time of year it is, what time of day it is, if it is a special event, who I am with. and where I am enjoying it,” says Tracy. “Red, white, rose, sparkling? I love them all!”