MEET YOUR MASTERS OF WINE
For five decades, Opimian has recognized the extraordinary value of the Masters of Wine guidance, relying on their discerning palates and comprehensive understanding to ensure that only the finest wines reach our Members.
A Master of Wine (MW) is a prestigious and internationally recognized qualification in the field of wine. It is considered one of the highest levels of expertise and achievement in the wine industry. The title is given by the Institute of Masters of Wine, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Here at Opimian, we feel so lucky to work with our esteemed and knowledgeable MWs.
How does our wine selection process work? For each cellar, our team of MWs carefully sample and taste hundreds of wines from exclusive global producers, all at our Montreal head office. Leveraging their vast experience and well-established connections within the wine industry, they identify hidden gems and introduce our Members to exceptional producers worldwide. The result? A superb lineup of wines for you to try.
Let us introduce you to the MWs who are the heart and soul of Opimian’s wine curation.
Michael Palij MW
Hailing from Canada but currently residing in the UK, Michael’s focus is on Italian wines. His extensive collaboration with vignerons over time has positioned him as a sought-after advisor for technical insights within wineries, particularly for blending and providing commentary on diverse fermentation processes. Michael was the founding fund manager for the Institute of Masters of Wine Endowment Fund and is now a Director of the IMWEF. Over the years, Michael has introduced Opimian to some truly special producers.
Jacky Blisson MW
Jacky is an independent wine educator, writer, and consultant with over two decades of experience in all facets of the global wine trade. She is the first Master of Wine in Québec and one of only ten across Canada. Her clientele features esteemed names like Napa Valley Vintners, Rías Baixas Wines, and Rioja DOCa, while her self-named YouTube channel and wine review site enriches knowledge for wine enthusiasts worldwide. She’s also a judge for the National Wine Awards of Canada, underscoring her indelible mark on the wine industry. Jacky was recently appointed a Bourgogne Wine Official Ambassador. She is based in Montreal.
Igor Ryjenkov MW
Igor was the first in Canada to earn the prestigious Master of Wine credential in 2003. His wine business expertise has been informed by 24 years in the Ontario trade, first in retail, then in key buying positions, and lastly in projects, most notably developing the new 5-dot wine style matrix. Additionally, he offers private consultation, guiding local importing agents and international wine producers through brand development and the final leg of reaching the Ontario market.
These three Masters of Wine—Michael, Jacky and Igor—are the driving force behind Opimian’s commitment to delivering an unparalleled journey to our Members. Their collective wisdom weaves a narrative of excellence that continues to shape the very essence of our community.