Award win sends CFWI wine instructor on Australian adventure

She’s a Niagara native who has been cultivating a career in the wine industry at Niagara College now Britnie Bazyelwski is the first recipient of Peter Lehmann Wines Mentor Award.  

As the first recipient of the bi-annual Mentor Award from the Australian-based winery Bazyelwski travelled to the Barossa wine region in Southern Australia with mentor Anthony Gismondi for a week-long adventure from March 14 to March 21. She participated in hands-on wine harvesting vineyard tours experience the history and culture of the region as well as Melbourne’s dynamic food and wine scene.

Bazyelwski said she was honoured to have been chosen for the award and for the opportunity to learn from Anthony Gismondi. “He is an amazing wealth of knowledge and his perspective on the future of the Canadian wine culture is invigorating” said Bazyelwski. “Align with that the zeal that the Aussie wine community has for sharing their craft and passion for great wine I am sure that this will undoubtedly be a trip that will not be forgotten.”

Bazyelwski grew up literally in the vines as her father has long been a vineyard labourer and vineyard manager in the Niagara region. While she had intended to pursue a different career path a part-time position at a local winery sparked her passion for the world of wine and led her to Niagara College’s Certified Sommelier program where she gained certification from the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She has been working at Niagara College since June 2013 as wine program support liaison and as a part-time instructor at NC’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute.

After being nominated for the award Bazyelwski was short-listed with a group of five nominees from across Canada who travelled to Kelowna B.C. to participate in a retreat. She won over the judges with her goal to reinvigorate Canadian Wine Culture over the next 15 years with the creation of a Canadian Wine Cooperative to bring Canadian wines to people around the world which included a strong social media platform.

“Britnie is an important part of the next generation of the Canadian wine industry” said Matthew Lane Peter Lehmann Wines vice-president – Americas. “She’s dynamic smart and is helping build the Canadian Industry through her work with her students. We have no doubt that she will continue to grow through this once-in-a-lifetime trip to experience winemaking in Australia first-hand.”

“Being handpicked for the award among rising stars in the wine industry from across Canada is an incredible achievement for Britnie whose passion and expertise not only benefits our students every day but has the potential to boost our nation’s wine industry as a whole” said Craig Youdale dean of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “We are very proud of the fact that the first recipient of this award was selected from Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute which is also a testament to the expertise of our program and faculty.”

The Canadian Food and Wine Institute located on Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus is the college’s centre for food wine and beer education. It is home to Benchmark the college’s teaching restaurant as well as the Teaching Winery and Teaching Brewery. It is also home to Junior Culinary Team Canada to represent our nation at the 2016 World Culinary Olympics.

Niagara College offers more than 111 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit


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