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Meet the WSET Diploma Instructors

Close up of a man outside smiling.

Peter Wearing DipWSET discovered a love for wine while travelling to wine regions after university. As a political science graduate he took a fairly typical job with a market research company, designing and analyzing research projects on everything from consumer packaged goods to political campaigns. After many successful years in the market research industry he took a leap to follow his wine passion at his own company. He took WSET at IWEG and received his Diploma in 2011. He felt it important to give back to the industry that has given so much joy and began instructing around the same time. He became a certified WSET wine educator and primarily focusses on instruction at the Diploma level. His particular areas of expertise include Italy, Burgundy and Chile. He is also an authorized educator for the Wines of Chile Academy program.

Teaching approach:

I like to give students the tools they need to understand and feel comfortable with the exam. This means starting with the end in mind, appreciating what is required and what it will take to get there. There is a slew of information on wine regions, grape growing, producers, etc. and it is easy to get bogged down in the minutiae. Understanding the key pillars to success not only helps in writing the exam, but it also helps students prioritize their time and efforts on the most important elements of the program. I have not met many students who take the Diploma with an unlimited amount of study time, so whatever I can do to help them become more efficient is crucial.

Woman in a blue shirt standing in a room with wine bottles on the wall in the background

Elsa Macdonald MW has been a wine enthusiast for most of her life so it wasn’t all that surprising in 2003 when she left her management consulting career to attend regional wine courses in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. This experience fueled her desire to develop professionally. She entered the trade by joining Vincor Canada as a territory manager in downtown Toronto and has taken on progressively more senior roles learning the intricacies of both the trade and the consumer environment. Always studying and traveling in her spare time, in 2018 Elsa achieved the highest standard of wine credential when she became a Master of Wine (MW). She is only the second woman and sixth person in Canada to do so. There are just over 400 MW’s worldwide.

Elsa has traveled extensively to wine regions in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, USA and of course across Canada. Her passion is in understanding the unique expressions of this truly international drink and in helping people appreciate its pleasures.

Elsa is the Head of Wine Education for Arterra Wines Canada. She also delivers wine education to sommeliers, WSET diploma students and trade professionals through several wine schools in Canada including IWEG.

Man in a blazer and glasses smiling while holding up a glass of red wine

Eugene Mlynczyk’s MW DipWSET love of wine began in California while studying at Stanford University in the 1980s. He returned home to Toronto as the fledgling local Niagara wine region was emerging, and began studying wine seriously, completing the WSET Diploma at IWEG in 2002, simultaneously launching a new career in the local wine trade. Eugene became a Master of Wine in 2015 after four years of study, gladly passing both parts of the written examination on his first attempt.

Eugene’s current role is National Sales Manager at Principle Fine Wines, the luxury team within Arterra Wines Canada. When not drinking, sharing or describing wine, Eugene tries to focus on family activities, and can often be found hiking or running in the woods competing in his favourite sport, orienteering.

Teaching approach:

Everyone learns differently, so I like to use a variety of teaching methods with a focus on as much interactivity as possible. I also love to make the classes fun, while still moving ahead and getting things done.

Woman smiling into the camera while sitting in a chair on angle holding a bottle of wine

Debbie Shing (she/her) DipWSET is a WSET Level 4 Diploma graduate and a certified WSET Instructor with nearly 20 years of experience in wine sales and marketing across Canada. Prior to establishing her own agency in 2020, Quvé Group, Debbie has worked GALLEON, Philippe Dandurand Wines, Mark Anthony Brands and BC Liquor Distribution Branch.

Debbie is also the co-founder of Canadian non-profit organization Vinequity, the diversity committee lead for Drinks Ontario, the province’s trade association for importers of beverage alcohol, and membership director for the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) Ontario.

Debbie is on faculty at IWEG since 2014 and has worked as guest sommelier at Barberian’s Steak House and BlueBlood Steakhouse. She is a past judge for Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants as well as Intervin Wine Awards.

Teaching approach:

My teaching style is based on “landing the plane.” Starting at cruising altitude, we will explore regions and concepts from a larger scale, then work our way down onto the knowledge tarmac where we’ll explore individual ideas in detail. You will also experience a lot of teamwork and group discussions, and I like to focus our time on mastering the SAT and WSET short answer exam style questions.

Close up of a man with glasses smiling.

Christopher Waters DipWSET is a WSET certified instructor who has served as the education director of IWEG since January 2019. In addition, he is the wine and spirits columnist at The Globe and Mail.

For 21 years, Christopher was the editor/co-founder of Canada’s largest circulation wine publication, VINES, and author of the nationally syndicated column, Waters & Wine. An internationally recognized wine judge, Christopher represents Canada for the Globe Fine Wine Challenge in Sydney, Australia and served as head judge and organizer of the InterVin International Wine Awards from 2009-2019.

Teaching approach:

There’s a lot of detail and discipline involved in studying a topic. When it comes to courses about wine, spirits, sake and beer, it’s easy to lose the pleasure principle. I think it’s important to keep the fun element in the pursuit of fundamental learning. Teaching at IWEG means embracing a number of techniques to convey the study materials with clarity and precision, but also striving to encourage and inspire the students to do their best throughout the course.

Woman in a turquoise blazer and black top smiling into the camera.

Caitlin Ferguson DipWSET got into the wine business as a result of her love for travel and culture after living in France for a year when she was 25. After experiencing the manual labour involved in harvesting grapes, she decided to experience the city side of wine, and headed to London, UK. In London she worked at Vinoteca Wine Bar & Shop, where she learned so much about wine and her passion for wine was confirmed. Caitlin returned home to Toronto in 2010, and has since been running a small import agency called Bogie’s Best Imports as well as teaching WSET Level 3 Award in Wines, WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines, the Spanish Wine Scholar and the French Wine Scholar. Caitlin is passionate about Spanish and French wines as well as sherry and she likes to keep wine fun, and leave the pretentiousness behind. 

A man with glasses standing in front of grapes on a vine

Geoffrey Moss is a Master of Wine and a WSET Diploma alumnus. He is the principal of Lithica Wine Marketing, a boutique branding and marketing agency with a focus on direct-to-consumer sales and marketing. After graduating with a degree in political science from McGill University, Geoffrey took the only logical next step and enrolled in a winemaking and viticulture program.

Study tip:

When I was just starting my professional career, I thought credentials would help to bolster my credibility. But, in truth, it was the act of working towards those post-nominal letters that made the biggest difference, both personally and professionally. I realized I had to make the time and put in the work if I wanted to be successful. Having a study partner helped to keep me focused and honest, while also offering an important alternate perspective. It wasn’t an easy or smooth journey, but that just made me want it more. You’ll realize when you’re ready to pass.

Join the WSET Diploma Class of 2025

The market-leading WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines qualification provides expert level knowledge and develops key analytical skills for success in the global wine business. Perfect for both the trade professional and the serious enthusiast, the course will arm you with specialist-level skills and experience, plus international recognition as an expert in the field of wine.

Holders of the Diploma will be able to identify characteristics of the principal wines of the world, make informed assessments of a product’s quality and value, and identify appropriate opportunities for the products within a given market. 

Graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to underpin the job requirements in such roles as Food & Beverage Manager, Wine Buyer or Sales Executive.

The Diploma fulfills the prerequisite for the wine qualification requirement for entry to the Master of Wine (MW) program.

To enroll in the Diploma, you must have successfully completed the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines (previously known as the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits or WSET Advanced Certificate). If your first language is not English, you are strongly recommended to have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above or be able to demonstrate an equivalent ability level.

The 2023-25 in-class program in Toronto will start on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023 at IWEG, 211 Yonge Street, Suite 501. Learn more.

The 2023-25 online program will start on Monday, October 2nd, 2023. Learn more.

The IWEG experience

As the leading organization in wine, spirits and sake education in Canada, IWEG has offered the WSET Level 4 Diploma since 1988.

Our Diploma graduates over the years have gone on to become vital members of the wine and spirits industry in Canada and worldwide. IWEG holds the record for having the largest amount of Diploma graduates in Canada!

IWEG has been offering Diploma studies for longer than any institute outside of the WSET School in London, which means we enjoy a long history of student success. Our passionate and highly qualified Diploma educators, who come from different fields within the trade, provide on-going support to help you master the analytical tasting skills and supplemental theoretical knowledge necessary to succeed.

Sommelier Opportunity at Stock Bar

Calling all prospective wine professionals. Are you passionate about wine? Do you strive to learn more about the great wines of Italy and France? If you’re interested in a career in wine and have experience and or some formal wine education, then consider a role as sommelier of Stock Bar.

•    $20-$22/hour + tips
•    Flexible work schedule
•    Ongoing professional development
•    Opportunity for advancement

Responsibilities include:
•    Consult with customers and assist with wine selection and purchases 
•    Wine inventory and cellar maintenance
•    Wine inventory stocking and control
•    Assist and participate in staff wine education 
•    Heavy lifting required (up to 20kg)

•    Hardworking and punctual
•    High energy and ability to successfully multi task
•    Passion for Italian and French wine 
•    Personable and friendly demeanor
•    Excellent customer service skills
•    Strong attention to detail
•    Team player and ability to nurture strong working relationships
•    Professional appearance with good personal hygiene
•    WSET Wine Specialist Certification an asset

Contact Marlayna Perrone at if interested in the role.