Meet your Masters of Wine
From the beginning, and for 50 years now, Opimian has relied on the expertise of a Master of Wine to ensure that only top-quality wines from around the world are offered to Members. Kenneth Christie MW started it all and then passed the mantle to Jane Masters MW in recent years.
To mark our 50th Anniversary, we are excited to begin introducing you to your new consultant Masters of Wine. Together, they will continue to provide a curated range of exclusive wines to suit all occasions and tastes. In addition, the diversity of opinion and style will take your Member experience to the next level of enjoyment.
Meet Louise Wilson MW and Michael Palij MW, the two experts who selected all the wines in this Cellar. Together, they tasted 157 wines and spirits over four days in our Montreal Head Office in order to make the selections for our 300th Cellar.
For the first time, two literal masters of their tasting skills were able to make their assessments of each wine and then compare their notes. The result is a stellar lineup of wines for you to try.
Michael Palij MW is a Canadian living in England. He specializes in Italian wines. The result when his first trip to Italy in 1993 sparked a passion for the country, as well as for its food and wine. Having worked closely with vignerons for years, he is regularly asked for technical advice in the winery to help blend or comment on different ferments. Over the years, Michael has introduced Opimian to some truly special producers. In this Cellar, Michael tasted and wrote about some very special Australian and Burgundian wines.
You may now be familiar with Louise Wilson MW, who joined our ranks last year as Opimian’s Senior Manager—Procurement & Category Management. Louise lives in the Niagara region and is one of ten Masters of Wine in Canada. She has worked in a number of different fields including export, retail, hospitality and education. One of the highlights of her journey to becoming a Master of Wine in 2020 was the honour of receiving the Yalumba Scholarship and having the opportunity to visit Australia’s oldest winery. Louise brings her expertise to the wines from New Zealand and Australia in this Cellar.
Opimian is also very pleased to be working with Jacky Blisson MW and Igor Ryjenkov MW.
Jacky Blisson MW is a Master of Wine based in Montreal. She is the first Master of Wine in Québec and one of only ten across Canada. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies at Concordia University, Jacky pulled up stakes and moved to Burgundy to pursue an Advanced Masters in Wine Science and International Trade at the CFPPA de Beaune and AgroSup Dijon.
During her 11 years in France, Jacky held successive positions as UK and North American Export Sales Manager for Burgundy fine wine brokerage Domaine Wines and major Southern Rhône Valley winery Gabriel Meffre. She also worked harvest seasons in Beaune and the Walker Bay, South Africa.
Since returning to Canada, Jacky has built a solid reputation for her high-quality written and video wine education content, and her consultancy work.
Born in Russia, Igor Ryjenkov MW has a degree in Journalism from the Moscow Institute for Foreign Relations. Having settled in Canada in early 90s, his journey in wine got started with a visit to a Niagara Peninsula area winery in 1995. That was followed by a serious reading, tasting, travelling and studying binge, which took him through the WSET Certificates and Diploma and straight into the MW program in 1999. His wine study journey culminated with achieving the MW qualification in 2003, the first in Canada, having been awarded the North American scholarship twice and Henkell-Sohnlein Award for best dissertation in the process.
Igor joined Opimian’s Master of Wine team in 2022.