Please meet our 2021 Conference Speakers, in order of appearance:

Chris Wilson, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright and President, AIDV Canada

Chris Wilson is an intellectual property litigator with a passion for wine and trademarks. He was recognized in Chambers Global 2018 for leading the pre-eminent IP litigation practice in Western Canada, and was named the 2019 Intellectual Property Lawyer of the Year for Vancouver by Best Lawyers Canada.

On the beverage side of his practice, Chris assists domestic and international producers, agents and growers in the wine, beer, spirits and RTD beverage industries with all aspects of trade-marks, labelling and geographic indications. Chris has a particular interest in the protection of shared goodwill at common law, allowing for groups of producers to protect regional and other shared appellations.  Chris was a co-founder and co-host of the annual British Columbia Wine & Liquor Law seminar, now run under the auspices of AIDV Canada.

Chris is the current Chair of AIDV Canada, a Director of AIDV International, and a Past Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Intellectual Property Section.

Théodore Georgopoulos, Wine & Law Program Director, Université de Reims, and President, AIDV International

(biography to follow)

Nicolas Angers, Avocat, Services juridiques, Société des alcools du Québec

Nicolas is in-house counsel at the SAQ since 1997 and a member of the Quebec Bar since 1995.  After a few years in litigation in a private practice law firm based in Montreal, his passion for wine lead him to join SAQ’s legal services acting, at first, primarily in real estate law and litigation.  His practice soon developed to include all matters relating to SAQ’s role in the Quebec alcoholic beverages market.  As such, he is involved in all legal aspects of SAQ’s business such as contracts and supply for instance but he also became a reference in connection with the complex legal framework governing the alcoholic beverages market in Quebec.  He participates in the work of various committees involving governmental entities and industry.  Formerly a store clerk at an SAQ branch during his law studies, he is also a homebrewer and a wine educator since 1999, currently part of the team in charge of the wine education program put in place by SAQ and the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec intended for the general public.

Jillian Rousselle, Executive Director of Program and Strategic Services, British Columbia Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch

(biography to follow)

Erin McEwan, Executive Director, Corporate Strategic Services, British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch

(biography to follow)

Laurie Macdonald, Executive Director, VQA Ontario Wine Appellation Authority

As the Executive Director at VQA Ontario, Laurie Macdonald oversees the management and operations of Ontario’s Wine Appellation Authority.  VQA Ontario administers provincial regulations that govern wine composition and labelling for Ontario wines and ensure label integrity for consumers. She has led VQA Ontario since its establishment in 2000.

Before joining VQA, Laurie practiced as a professional engineer in the mining and explosives fields and later was the Registrar at Professional Engineers Ontario, the licensing authority for Professional Engineers in the Province. Laurie currently serves as a Director on the Boards of the Bereavement Authority of Ontario and the Ontario Colleges Quality Assurance Service. She holds a commercial pilot licence and is an active Civilian Instructor in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Corps.

Paul-Erik Veel, Partner, Lenczner Slaght

Paul-Erik is a partner at Lenczner Slaght in Toronto. He is a litigator who practices in class actions, public law, intellectual property matters, complex commercial disputes, and professional liability. Paul-Erik has significant trial experience, having acted as counsel in trials involving a number of industries and subject-matters. He has appeared repeatedly before both the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal.  Paul-Erik also has extensive experience with regulatory and public law proceedings.

Paul-Erik is also an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.  He has published articles on a variety of legal topics, including contracts, class actions, competition law, and constitutional law. Prior to joining Lenczner Slaght in 2010, Paul-Erik graduated as the Gold Medalist from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and then clerked for Madam Justice Louise Charron at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Pat Bowen, PhD, Research Scientist, Grapevine Physiology and Viticulture, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Pat Bowen is a Research Scientist in grapevine physiology and viticulture at Summerland Research and Development Centre. She specializes in improving the environmental sustainability of vineyards, and characterizing terroir through application of geographic information systems (GIS) and sensing technologies. She has applied her research in the development of BC geographical indications.

Jan Westcott, President and CEO of Spirits Canada/Association of Canadian Distillers

Jan Westcott has more than 35 years of experience in the Canadian beverage alcohol industry. He is CEO of Spirits Canada/Association of Canadian Distillers, the sole national trade association representing Canadian licensed manufacturers and marketers of premium spirits. Through the 1980s, he served as President of the Canadian Wine Institute and, in 1989, became the founding CEO of the Brewers of Ontario, a Canadian provincial body representing both licensed brewers and their distribution channel, The Beer Store.

Prior to these roles, Jan worked in advertising, the mining industry and government. He is a founding director of Smart Serve, has served on the boards of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Earth Day Canada, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the Recycling Council of Ontario, the Canada Safety Council, and he currently serves on the board of The Empire Club of Canada and chairs the board of directors of Halton Region Crime Stoppers. He is married with two children and lives in Oakville, Ontario.

Daniel Hohnstein, Partner, Tereposky & DeRose, and Director, AIDV Canada

Dan is a partner at Tereposky & DeRose LLP, a boutique international trade law firm based in Ottawa. He represents and advises private sector companies, industry associations, and governments in matters relating to international trade and investment. His practice covers state-to-state dispute settlement; the negotiation, interpretation, and implementation of international trade agreements; trade remedies (anti-dumping, countervailing, and safeguard measures); and cross-border customs compliance. He appears as counsel in trade disputes before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and, in Canada, he represents clients in proceedings before the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT), and Canada’s Federal Courts.

Robert Tobiassen, President, National Association of Beverage Importers (NABI)

Robert Tobiassen is the President of the National Association of Beverage Importers (NABI), Washington, DC. Prior to that appointment, he was the Principal at Tobiassen Consulting Plus Solutions LLC after a 34-year Federal service career. He was Chief Counsel at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), U.S. Treasury Department, from 2003 to 2012, where he was responsible for providing comprehensive legal support on a broad range of regulatory, administrative, and policy issues. He served as the legal liaison with US state alcohol regulators, trade associations, and other stakeholders, including Members of Congress and their staff. He is a frequent speaker at alcohol law seminars and a published expert on legal issues concerning alcohol. Among other awards, Mr. Tobiassen received the 2003 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious SES Executives and the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the Secretary of the Treasury.

Mr. Tobiassen holds an A.B. in Political Science with distinction from the University of California, Berkeley, a J.D. from the Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon where he served on law review, and a LL.M. in Taxation from the Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC.

Dan Paszkowski, President and CEO, Wine Growers Canada

Dan Paszkowski has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Wine Growers Canada (WGC) since 2006, representing wineries across Canada responsible for more than 90% of annual wine production. He is an active advocate on national and international wine issues, and represents the Canadian wine industry on all federal policy issues, international trade negotiations, and various advisory bodies including the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG), and the National Quality Assurance Committee, among others.

Maureen Downey, DWS, CWE, FWS, Founder,

Dubbed ‘The Sherlock Holmes of Wines’, Maureen Downey, is an independent expert on fine and rare wine and wine collection management, and is the foremost global authority on wine fraud, counterfeit wine and fine wine authentication.  She advises the world’s top collectors in purchasing, selling, and managing their collections with her firm, Chai Consulting, founded in 2005.

In 2015, she launched to help assist both the wine trade and collectors become educated about the realities of wine fraud and counterfeiting in global markets, as well as how to authenticate fine wines. It now has over 40,000 images of both authentic and counterfeit bottles, labels, ink, corks and capsules to aid members in authentication.

Chai Vault Inc, is Downey’s new venture – a blockchain based solution to proving authenticity and provenance of a bottle for its entire lifespan. Once certified, either at production, in a direct provenance situation, or in the secondary market by one of our certified, licensed TCM Authenticators – bottles offered for sale can have their online Ledger of Authenticity & Provenance displayed for view by potential buyers. For the first time, buyers of wines and spirits will be empowered to see the proof of authenticity and provenance history of a bottle prior to making a purchase.

Today, Ms. Downey is considered one of the top women in wine and can currently be seen combatting counterfeits in the Netflix film, Sour Grapes.

Lesley Brown, President, Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS Canada)

Lesley Brown has become a key figure in the Canadian wine industry and over the past 20 years has richly contributed to building a culture of sharing, educating, promoting, and nurturing rising stars in both the restaurant and wine sectors. Lesley is actively involved in the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) as the new national president. She also serves as a board member for the Import Spirit & Vintners Association as well as an industry advisor for the BC Hospitality Foundation and serves on the planning committee for the Vancouver International Wine Festival.

Lesley is currently the VP of Sales & Marketing at HQ Wines & Spirits where she passionately represents some of BC’s top brands including Okanagan Crush Pad Winery,  as well as like minded International Wine producers who share the same values about farming, family and business. If there is a food or wine event or activity at play, Lesley can typically be found at the centre of it!