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Top Wie Symposium
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Friday , 26th July, 9am - 5pm

Burdock Barrel Warehouse

201 Geary Ave, Toronto

Presented by Escarpment Laboratories and Paradise Grapevine, the Holy Waters Symposium is a two day program of technical, scientific and sensorial seminars that explore some of the most relevant and least understood topics facing producers and consumers of wine and beer today. Leading professionals from around the world will gather in Toronto to address challenges and present ideas and solutions in the pursuit of creating better wine and beer. See the full list of presenters and topics below 


Tasting Terroir

Brenna J. Quigley, MSc - Geologist, 

Illustrator and Terroir Specialist 

Terroir is one of the most important, yet least understood, terms in the world of wine. This talk will dig into the science behind terroir and explore how the geologic history of a region can influence the taste of the wines you drink.

THP, the mouse in the room

Richard Preiss, MSc - Microbiologist

at Escarpment Laboratories

"Mouse taint" is widely considered a flavour defect which can impact the flavour of both sour beers and natural wines. This flavour is a result of the production of tetrahydropyridines (THPs) by lactic acid bacteria and/or Brettanomyces. In this presentation, the current state of scientific knowledge surrounding THP ("mouse taint") will be presented and discussed. Practical suggestions for mitigating THP in mixed microbial beverages will also be presented.

Under the ‘Velo de Flor’

Caitlin Ferguson - Sherry Educator and wine importer 

at Bogie's Best Imports

An exploration of the fascinating process of ‘biological ageing’ when wine is aged under a living layer of yeast cells - ‘velo de flor’ in Andalusia, Spain. By tasting a selection of wines from the Jerez region, we will discover how flor yeast alters the character of wine and discuss how flor is helped along the way by human interaction, climate and even architecture to create a truly unique wine!

Sulphur and low intervention winemaking

François Morissette - Vigneron

at Pearl Morissette

The revival of natural fermentations has popularised wine with a new generation of drinkers that demand natural, low intervention and sulphur free wines. Sulphur has become a contentious topic, but what do we actually know about this element, it’s forms and its uses? François Morissette, vigneron and owner of Niagara’s pioneering winery Pearl Morissette, discusses the use of sulphur in the production of low intervention winemaking.

Modern Piquette

Todd Cavallo - Owner and Winemaker

at Wild Arc Farms

A discussion of the history, economic significance, and chemistry of piquette, a low alcohol wine product made from spent grape must. We'll take a look at piquette's historical role in the vineyards of 19th century Europe, and how it's resurgence makes sense in the current marketplace. There will also be a dive into the roles of pH, alcohol, yeast, and Lactic Acid Bacteria in the production of modern Piquette.

Wild Production

Ehren Schmidt - Master Blender and Brewer

at Mikkeller Baghaven

Join Ehren Schmidt, Master Brewer/Blender/Yeast Scientist at Mikkeller Baghaven, for an overview of the fermentation and production of their spontaneous and wild ales. Topics include the use of indigenous yeast, fruiting techniques, spontaneous fermentation, maintaining wild cultures, blending and more.

Removing Context - An Unguided Tasting

Amy Blake, MSc - Senior Research Technician at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

Svetlana Atcheva - Partner and Brand Ambassador at Pearl Morissette Centre

Lexi Wolkowski - Sommelier at Burdock

Open your mind and taste without the obstruction of context during a blind tasting with Svetlana, Lexi and Amy as they discuss their methods and techniques for objectively analysing wine. Only by completely removing context are you free to taste without preconceived sensory expectations, you may be very surprised by what you find.


Amy Blake


Amy Blake is the Senior Research Technician in the Consumer Insights department at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. The department is focused on understanding all of the aspects of consumer preference for horticultural products, with an ultimate goal of aligning research and innovation with what consumers want.


Amy’s major responsibility is to manage the trained sensory panel, a group of people who use their senses (smell, taste…) to evaluate horticultural products like fruits, wines and cider.


Amy has a Bachelor of Science degree (University of Waterloo), a post-graduate certificate in Grape and Wine Technology (Brock University) and a Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences (specialization: Plant Science, Oenology and Viticulture) from Brock University. After Graduation, Amy worked as a sessional instructor at Brock University teaching Wine Chemistry and in several wineries and laboratories before starting at Vineland.


Brenna J. Quigley, MSc


Brenna Quigley is a geologist, terroir specialist, and illustrator committed to thoughtfully applying the science of geology to the world of wine. She works with wine professionals in all areas of the trade in order to precisely understand and define the most impactful elements terroir. Her work focuses on both education and hands on vineyard investigations, and takes her to vineyards around the world including France, Spain, and California. She holds a BS in Aquatic Biology and Geology and an MSc in Geology from the University of California Santa Barbara.


Caitlin Ferguson


Caitlin Ferguson is a certified Sherry Educator by the Consejo Regulador Jerez-Xeres-Sherry and loves sherry so much that she wrote a master’s thesis about it! Caitlin also runs a small wine/cider imports agency based in Toronto called Bogie’s Best Imports and teaches WSET L3 & L4 and coming soon the Spanish Wine Scholar Guild.


Ehren Schmidt


Ehren Schmidt is the Master Blender and Brewer at Mikkeller Baghaven in Copenhagen Denmark. He studied Geological Sciences with an emphasis in Geomicrobiology at The University of Missouri-Columbia. His passion for beer and background in microbiology led him into the brewing industry where he has become an authority on wild yeast and bacteria isolation, characterization, and implementation. Ehren has won a variety of awards for his creations, including a bronze in the Wood and Barrel Aged Sour Beer category at the 2016 World Beer Cup and Gold at the 2016 San Diego International Beer Competition. Ehren’s passion is combining aspects of art and science to create new and interesting beers that are constantly raising the bar and sparking discussion.


François Morissette


François Morissette doesn’t make wine for Ontario. He makes wine for the world, especially for those who appreciate his approach of minimal-intervention, purity, and low sulphur.

He is classically trained, having worked on the Grand Cru terroirs of Frédéric Mugnier of Chambolle Musigny, Christian Gouges of Domaine Henri Gouges, and Jean-Marc of Domaine Roulot. Further oenological training was also undertaken at L’Université de Dijon.

He attempts to uncover the inherent nature of each and every vintage. The result of this focused dedication is a selection of wines that speak for themselves. At Pearl Morissette, no two wines are ever the same.


Richard Preiss


Richard is the cofounder of Escarpment Laboratories in Guelph, Ontario. Escarpment is Canada's craft yeast lab, offering a wide range of high quality liquid yeasts to brewers. Richard is a scientist and brewer and obsessed with the art and science of microbial flavour production. His goal is to unlock and communicate the flavour potential among the vast array of ingredients and processes used in the fermentation industries. 


Lexi Wolkowski


Lexi has been harassing people about wine for years, most notably at Bar Raval and Brothers, but has been working in various restaurants since the age of 15. She developed a passion for wine while studying for her English degree, but eventually wine took over, and it became a full-time gig. These days, you can find her pouring all the delicious things at Burdock, and has an upcoming project in the works.


Svetlana Atcheva


Svetlana Atcheva is a classically-trained sommelier who worked for many years in different Toronto restaurants. She is well regarded for her high energy, open-mindedness, precise sense of quality and remarkable tasting ability. She is a Partner and the Brand Ambassador at Pearl Morissette winery in Niagara. 


Todd Cavallo


Todd Cavallo makes wine in the Hudson Valley of New York State, the oldest winegrowing region in the US. As a small-scale organic grower and low-intervention winemaker, he was looking for ways to keep his wine prices low without going broke. He has resurrected the historical practice of making piquette from spent grape pomace, releasing the first commercial version ever produced in the US in 2017. In addition, he makes more traditional wines from Vinifera and Hybrid grapes and ciders from cultivated and foraged apples. His primary goal, aside from making delicious beverages that represent the terroir and culture of the Hudson Valley, is to show that you can grow grapes in New York without herbicides or synthetic pesticides and fungicides, and hopefully move the needle in that direction across the state.


  • Wine Symposium + Wine Festival Ticket
    Wine Symposium + Wine Festival Ticket
    See individual events for times.
    Burdock Barrel Warehouse
    See individual events for times.
    Burdock Barrel Warehouse, 201 Geary Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 2C1, Canada
    See individual events for times.
    Burdock Barrel Warehouse, 201 Geary Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 2C1, Canada
    Ticket gains you entry to the Wine Symposium and one Holy Waters Wine Festival session.
  • Wine Symposium
    Wine Symposium
    Fri, Jul 26
    Burdock Barrel Warehouse
    Jul 26, 2019, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Burdock Barrel Warehouse, 201 Geary Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 2C1, Canada
    Jul 26, 2019, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Burdock Barrel Warehouse, 201 Geary Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 2C1, Canada
    A full day of technical, sensorial and scientific seminars.



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