Tina Jones - Banville & Jones Proprietor/ Principal, Wine & Drinks College Manitoba

Tina Jones is a highly successful Manitoba entrepreneur, community contributor and philanthropist.  She is owner of Banville & Jones Wine Company and principal of Wine & Drinks College Manitoba (WDCM), which have grown into the largest private wine store and destination wine school in Manitoba. Tina has reached for the highest international standards, creating opportunities for advanced wine and spirit studies at WDCM through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, and the Wine Scholar Guild. She has expanded the impact of wine education to develop the award-winning magazine, The Cellar Door.

Tina is also an active partner in the dynamic concept The Rink Training Centre, providing innovative individual skill development to all levels of hockey players.  Tina and her partner Brad Rice are also pioneers in Winnipeg, with the first Canadian Sports School Hockey League teams with the Rink Hockey Academy and a newly completed $25 million Center of Excellence project.  The partnership has also recently expanded to British Columbia with the exciting new Pursuit of Excellence acquisition to create The Rink Kelowna.  Tina’s work also extends to partnership in Winnipeg’s popular Green Carrot Juice Company, a concept for fresh, cold-pressed juices that has grown exponentially since its inception in 2014.

Tina’s energy and creativity have also made her a tireless community builder.   She currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Health Sciences Centre Foundation Board of Directors. Her distinguished work with HSC Foundation has raised record funds and touched thousands of Manitobans. Her creative leadership in community work has also brought tens of millions of dollars to other Manitoba charitable organizations.

In recognition of Tina’s community service, innovation and accomplishments she has been awarded the Order of Manitoba, Manitoba’s highest honour (2020). The designation recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement, benefiting in an outstanding manner the social, cultural or economic well-being of Manitoba and its residents. She has also been named by the Women’s Executive Network with a Top 100 Award as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women (2018). The Association of Fundraising Professionals Manitoba recognized her as Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year (2017); and the University of Manitoba has honoured her with the Distinguished Alumni Award (2018).

For Tina, success is built on vision, hard work, building great teams and continually reaching for excellence.

Mike Muirhead - General Manager and Buyer

Mike oversees the operations of the company, with a staff of 40, an inventory of 2500 different wines from around the world, numerous restaurant customers, and an important retail segment.  Mike has worked in fine restaurants from North America to Australia, and holds wine qualifications include Sommelier, the WSET Level 3 Advanced Certificate (Distinction), and the CSW from the Society of Wine Educators.  He also serves on the Board of CAPS Manitoba.  He has worked vintage at Tolaini Estate in Tuscany, and has participated in the invitation-only Pinot Camp in Oregon. His wine travels have been extensive, and he is has a sincere appreciation for well-made wines; however he admits to a special love of the Pinot family.

Gary Hewitt - Purchasing, Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier

As the person who began work with Banville & Jones before a store existed, Gary is not only the longest serving staff member: he is also the architect of the Banville & Jones wine selection. Gary’s MSc in industrial fermentations gives him an envious scientific background for the study of wine. In addition to his Sommelier credentials, Gary holds the prestigious Diploma in Wines and Spirits from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET)® for which he was awarded the Wines of Australia Scholarship for top achievement. He is an instructor in the WSET programs, and also holds certification as an instructor from the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS, affiliated with ASI), the French Wine Society, and the Society of Wine Educators. He is also Past President (2015-17) of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers Manitoba Chapter and the current Education chair. His professional wine work has included extensive travel through the world’s wine regions; he holds a love for the wines of Germany, and has worked a wine-making practicum in Germany’s Pfalz (Lingenfelder).

Sylvia Jansen - Wine Educator, Wine Consultant, Certified Sommelier

In addition to her Sommelier credentials, Sylvia holds the Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust® and was awarded the Wines of Germany Scholarship for top achievement. She joined Banville & Jones in 2002 following a successful but somewhat misguided career in the university system. She is a Sommelier Instructor with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS, affiliated with ASI); and holds the Train the Trainer Certificate from the Society of Wine Educators. She also serves on the Board of CAPS (Manitoba) as past president. Sylvia teaches in WSET and CAPS programs, and also develops our wine appreciation courses; she writes extensively for our publications; and she collaborates in training in Banville & Jones’ important wine retail work. Her enjoyment of travel and languages have taken her to many of the world’s wine regions, but interestingly, Champagne has received multiple visits.

Saralyn Mehta - Assistant Manager, Director of Sommelier Services, Certified Sommelier

One of our certified Sommeliers, Saralyn is Director of Sommelier Services and an Assistant Manager of Banville & Jones. Saralyn has an extensive background in hospitality. When she arrived at Banville & Jones she found she was in good company in her love of great wine, great food and in her approach to a high standard of hospitality. As Director of Sommelier Service Saralyn helps build and maintain stocks for personal wine cellars all over Manitoba. She is also a regular contributor to The Cellar Door magazine and confesses to a small love affair with the great white wines of Burgundy.

Todd Antonation - Licensee Manager

Our Licensee Manager and wine specialist, Todd has tremendous hospitality experience throughout Canada. Todd holds the Level 2 certificate from the International Sommelier Guild (ISG), and holds a keen understanding of what restaurant customers want and what restaurants need. He works with more than 60 restaurant clients to develop great selections and innovative wine lists. He ensures stocks are available, and that every wine list change is a good one. Todd’s tastes in wine are tremendously varied, but he admits to a fondness for any wine with a Spanish accent. He also knows that there is a good wine pairing with any NFL football game, especially another Denver win.

Jill Kwiatkoski - Sommelier, Directrice Logistics

Jill is a long time foodie who turned to all thing wine when we opened our new store. Starting as our special events coordinator, Jill took her passion for wine and logistics and has become Banville & Jones Directrice – responsible for all ordering, receiving and supplier relations. Jill has her level 1 and 2 ISG certificates, and has successuflly completed the Canadian Professional Sommelier Program (CAPS). When she is not making sure all of our wine gets here on time, she loves travelling, and learning new languages.

Rob Stansel - Assistant Manager, Certified Sommelier

Rob is a Certified Sommelier (CAPS) and Assistant Manager, who has worked in all facets of our business for over a decade.  He currently assists Jill in Purchasing, and has been known to tell a story or two at our Wine & Food Evenings. He loves vermouth, craft beer, and obnoxiously oaked Chardonnay.

Jenny VanDenDriessche - Office Manager

Jenny is our ever-efficient Office Manager. When she’s not filing mountains of paper and organizing our work lives, she’s having a good time at a Jets game or busy being the best hockey mom to Alexis. She loves her dog, Oreo, but is no fan of spiders, especially Tuscan ones.

Sara McDonald - Special Events Coordinator, Wine Specialist WSET L3

Sara, our events coordinator, started her wine career after finishing the Hotel and Restaurant Management Diploma from Assiniboine Community College. She currently holds her WSET L3 and is looking forward to pursuing further studies. When she’s not working hard to make sure events are enjoyed by all of our clients, you can find her listening to Fleetwood Mac and sipping on Riesling!

Rick Watkins - Certified Specialist of Wine, Wine Specialist WSET L3

Rick is a full time librarian and full time wine lover. Rick has been with us almost since the beginning making sure that our cave is full, and that the most current reviews are ready and available. A real life encyclopedia on wine ratings, Rick can recall Robert Parker (‘Bobby’ to Rick) or Wine Spectator scores at the drop of a cork. He has an extensive cellar and his enjoyment of research means that he always knows the story behind the wine or the winery. You can find Rick in the store on Fridays and Saturdays or working an event, but if you need a wine rating during the week, just pop down to the Cornish Library, we’re sure he wouldn’t mind talking wine at his other job too.

Steve Lagimodiere - Wine Specialist WSET L3

Steve has worked in the Winnipeg wine industry for several years.  As a long time St Vital resident it’s only natural he ended up at Banville and Jones.  Steve holds his WSET3 and is interested in further pursuing his wine studies in the future.

A gifted musician, Steve has been a recognized member of the Winnipeg music scene for over 2 decades and a large portion of his time away from the store is spent giving private guitar lessons.  When he’s not geeking out on wine Steve can be found coordinating deliveries and inventory, teaching our Essentials courses, or hovering in his favourite section of the store, Spanish Reds.

Josie Duthoit - Wine Specialist WSET L2

Josie started in wine after many years of restaurant experience and has WSET L2. She says her three main loves are “business, wine and the great outdoors”. Josie makes sure that we have lovely baskets and accessories available. She is also a coordinator for the Wine of the Month Club. Favorite wines; anything Spain or Italy.

James Johnston - Wine Enthusiast

James joined Banville & Jones in 2016, and has quickly become an integral part of the team. You can find James stocking and helping out our logistics team. He has taken a number of wine classes and is interested in learning all he can about wine. When pressed for a favorite wine, James is quick to respond with anything French or Italian. How can you choose between them? When not at the store, James is a brilliant musician and can play almost any woodwind instrument.

Rebecca Lechman - Sommelier (CMS) WSET L3, FWS, IWS

Sadly, on March 29th, Rebecca passed away leaving a big hole in our Banville & Jones family. We keep her on the staff page as she truly embodied the spirit of our team. We miss you every day Rebecca, and still ask ourselves – What would Rebecca Do?

On her 35th birthday Rebecca decided to pick up and change careers following a long time passion of hers – wine!  With the combination of a biology degree and years of experience in hospitality and event management Rebecca knew Banville & Jones was the perfect next stop on her career path.  A lifelong student Rebecca completed her WSET level 3 as well as her French Wine Scholar certification and in 2019 became a certified Sommelier through Court of Master Sommeliers.

Rest in Peace Rebecca – Love, your family at Banville & Jones.

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