Canada's Master Sommeliers Toast The Visa Infinite Dining Series

Visa Canada hosts fourth annual Infinite Dining Series, providing exclusive access to unparalleled culinary food and wine experiences.

TORONTO, Feb. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - In celebration of its highly acclaimed Infinite Dining Series, Visa Canada is set to bring together Canada's only three Master Sommeliers for a night of collaboration and wine pairing.  Dubbed "The Master Sommelier Challenge," the event will task John Szabo, Jennifer Heuther and Bruce Wallner - Canada's only three sommeliers who have received the designation of "Master" - with creating perfect food and wine pairings as they select extraordinary Pinots to compliment Chef Eron Navoalski's dishes at Toronto's Aria restaurant on February 28, 2012.

The sophisticated evening of food and drink is part of a larger, nationwide series of gourmet dining events at renowned Canadian restaurants, offered exclusively to Visa Infinite cardholders. The Series also includes brunch events, putting a fine dining twist on the iconic Sunday meal, and "Chef Experiences," allowing participants to interact with Chefs as they cook.

"The Visa Infinite Dining Series, in which I've participated previously, is thoroughly first class. It's the ideal forum to showcase what we love to do," said John Szabo, Canada's first Master Sommelier. "We spend a great deal of time working on the intricacies of pairing food and wine, and having our theories tested live on the spot by guests at the event will be very rewarding. Mostly, however, it will be a celebration of fine food and wine, with a little entertainment thrown in for good measure!"

Collectively, Szabo, Heuther and Wallner have led some of Canada's - and the world's - most respected wine programs. All three are members of the Court of Master Sommeliers, an elite group noted for their mastery in beverage knowledge and service. Requiring extensive education and examination, the Court is both exclusive and highly respected. Established in 1977, it demands a thorough understanding of the art, science and history of wine and beverages of all types, and most of all, a refined palate.

"'The Master Sommelier Challenge' at Aria will provide our guests with incredible food and the rare chance to sip and savour extraordinary wine picks from Canada's most highly-respected and accomplished sommeliers," said Brenda Woods, Head of Marketing, Visa Canada. "The Visa Infinite Dining Series continues to set an incredibly high bar for dining experiences across Canada, and we're confident that every event we've planned for our fourth installment will deliver on, and exceed expectations."

Visa Infinite cardholders across Canada can experience the gastronomic events in the following venues:

2012 Events:

  • Jazz Brunch at FRANK Restaurant in the Art Gallery of Ontario, Brunch Series
    Toronto. Sunday, February 26, 2012 11a.m.
    Jazz up your Sunday brunch routine with a decidedly more artful experience at the Art Gallery of Ontario's celebrated FRANK Restaurant. Join Chef Anne Yarymowich and her team for a delicious multi-course brunch, then explore the AGO's exhibits (gallery admission is included).

  • Champagne Brunch at River Café with Andrew Winfield, Brunch Series
    Calgary. Sunday, February 26, 2012 11a.m.
    Join Chef Andrew Winfield for a champagne brunch in a cozy and welcoming lodge atmosphere —on Prince's Island Park, set apart from downtown Calgary and your busy life.

  • The Master Sommelier Challenge at Aria Restaurant, Dining Series
    Toronto. Tuesday, February 28, 2012 6:30p.m.
    Join Canada's three Master Sommeliers for a wine and food pairing challenge that is truly rare, exclusively for Visa Infinite cardholders. This is the first public appearance to include all three Master Sommeliers, and the results will be remarkable for wine lovers.

  • Restaurant e18hteen with Chef Matt Carmichael and California Winemakers, Dinner Series
    Ottawa. Wednesday, March 28, 2012 6:30p.m.
    Join Chef Matt Carmichael and winemakers from California in a tantalizing exploration of international tastes as interpreted by one of Ottawa's top kitchen teams.

  • Celebrity Chef Lynn Crawford with Chef Ned Bell at YEW restaurant + barin the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Dinner Series
    Vancouver. Saturday, March 31, 2012 6:30p.m.
    Two of Canada's ingredient-obsessed and quality-focused chefs join forces for a culinary mash-up worthy of the Four Seasons.

  • Ultimate Sunday Brunch with Jamie Kennedy and California Winemakers at The Gardiner Museum, Brunch Series
    Toronto. Sunday, April 1, 2012 11a.m.
    Join one of Canada's premier local-food advocates, the award-winning Chef Jamie Kennedy, as he presents a spectacular multi-course brunch in the pristine and gorgeous dining room at the Gardiner Museum.

  • DNA Restaurant with Derek Dammann and California Winemakers, Dinner Series
    Montreal. Wednesday, April 4, 2012 6:30p.m.
    Join a uniquely innovative operation at DNA Restaurant, where Chef Derek Dammann executes spectacularly inventive dining experiences for his guests.

  • Hawksworth Restaurant with David Hawksworth and California Winemakers, Dinner Series
    Vancouver. Tuesday, April 17, 2012 6:30p.m.
    Join Chef David Hawksworth for a stellar evening at one of the newest and most acclaimed restaurants in Vancouver.

  • A Rare Sunday Brunch at Kitchenette with Nick Hodge, Brunch Series
    Montreal. Sunday, April 22, 2012 11a.m.
    Join Chef Nick Hodge for a perfectly paced Sunday brunch featuring his signature bistro-style "soulfood," exclusively for Visa Infinite cardholders. This is an extra special opportunity, as Kitchenette is not normally open for brunch.

  • The Ultimate Country Culinary Escape at Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa, Dinner and Country Brunch
    Cambridge. Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10, 2012
    Join award-winning Chef Jonathan Gushue in the bucolic surrounds of Langdon Hall, a Relais & Chateaux property of breathtaking beauty in the town of Cambridge. This overnight experience will envelope you in the ambiance of a world-renowned country inn, as you while away time with delectable delights, local and global wines.

To purchase tickets for one or more Visa Infinite Dining Series events, Visa Infinite cardholders can call 1-888-711-9399 (seating is limited), or visit and log-in as a Visa Infinite cardholder for more information.

Visa Infinite provides cardholders with one-of-a-kind, memorable experiences for themselves, their family and friends. This includes exceptional benefits at some of the world's finest hotels, exclusive access to entertainment and sports events and a complimentary 24/7 concierge service. Visa Infinite also incorporates Visa's range of trusted security benefits, featuring a zero liability policy, emergency card replacement & cash service, and cardholder inquiry service.

About Visa
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency.  Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants.  Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers.  Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products.  For more information, visit

About John Szabo
John Szabo is Canada's very first Master Sommelier, having received the accreditation in 2004. He's a principal wine reviewer for and, a regular contributor to the National Post and the Toronto Standard, and wine editor and columnist for Toronto's CityBitesmagazine. His wine picks are heard monthly on Classical 96.3 FM radio. Szabo is consulting beverage director for the Trump Tower Toronto. He designs wine cellars, manages wine collections and hosts luxury wine tours for private clients. He is the buyer for the unique Sommelier Service wine club, and to round out his experience, he owns a vineyard in Eger, Hungary.

About Jennifer Heuther
Earlier last year, the Court of Master Sommelier recognized Heuther's years of hard work and dedication by naming her Canada's first female Master Sommelier. She is well-known in wine circles in Toronto, and has directed or consulted on some of the city's most prestigious wine programs, notably for Ruth's Chris Steak House and Oliver &Bonacini restaurants. She has worked with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment for seven years, and is currently head sommelier, overseeing their wine operations, including the new Real Sports Bar and Grill and e11even. Democratic in taste, Heuther's choice picks include everything from Ontario's Tawse rieslings to Krug champagne.

About Bruce Wallner
Certified as a Master Sommelier in London in 2009, Wallner counts himself fortunate to have been involved in some remarkable wine operations. In 2000, he became the initial chef sommelier of Palazzo Versace. He worked for five years as chef sommelier for the legendary Hotel du Vin in the U.K., the first sommelier from outside of France to do so. Now based in Toronto, he helps young sommeliers develop their skills through the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. He likes to drink riesling, pinot noir, syrah and anything else that touches the soul.

SOURCE VISA Canada Corporation

For further information:

Erin Sufrin, Visa Canada, 416-860-3869,

Megan Stoudt, Fleishman-Hillard, 416-645-8206,


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