Keith Nicholson, DipWSET

Founder of Statera Wine Academy & Certified WSET Instructor

Keith Nicholson is a certified Sommelier, who spent the majority of his career in the wine and hospitality business in Vancouver.  He has worked on the hospitality side with over twenty-five years within restaurant management and presenting wine programs at some of BC’s top dining establishments such as The Bearfoot Bistro and Le Crocodile.  Previously Keith was a Sales Consultant selling wine to restaurants and Liquor retail.  He has spent time harvesting wine at the Laughing Stock Vineyards in Naramata, BC, and was a past Instructor with the International Sommeliers Guild.

Keith completed the WSET Diploma in 2014, received his Teachers Certification and has now opened Statera Wine Academy, which is an Approved Program Provider for WSET Certification, and continues also to work as a Restaurant Consultant.

Keith is a winner of the VIPWF Sommelier Challenge, a scholarship recipient from Society of Wine Educators and a Sommelier of the Year finalist from the Vancouver International Wine Festival.

Keith Nicholson has been on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) BC Chapter since the opening the the BC Chapter in 2014 and presently holds the position Director of Education. CAPS holds the Best of BC Sommeliers competition annually in connection with the Vancouver International Wine Festival. To become a member or find out more details visit

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Sabrine Dhaliwal

Statera Spirits Instructor

Armed with an exhaustive knowledge of cocktail lore, a penchant for holding court behind the pine and a reputation for shaking up unique, elegant-yet-funky twists on traditional drinks, Sabrine Dhaliwal has quickly established herself as a top-shelf talent recognized not just in her adopted hometown of Vancouver but the world over.

Originally from the Netherlands, Sabrine came to Vancouver in 2009, and enrolled in Vancouver Community College’s Hospitality Management Program and bolstered her wine knowledge by completing levels 1-3 of her Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

In 2012, she further honed her knowledge of modern and classic cocktails by adding a Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) accreditation to her arsenal, while supporting the bartending team at the renowned West Restaurant, where she helped create an assortment of new seasonal cocktails and apprenticed under much-respected bartender David Wolowidnyk. The novice became the mentor herself in 2015 when she stepped into his shoes as bar manager at West before moving on in early 2016 to join another global bartending talent and mentor, Lauren Mote, as lead bartender at UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar.

A banner year for the bartender, 2015 saw Sabrine claim top spot at the Global Belvedere Challenge in London, England — a two-day competition that coincided with World Martini Day and pitted top bartenders from North America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia against each other — and win the inaugural Vancouver Molinari Sambuca Cocktail Competition.

Since moving to UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar, she has taken the reins in March 2016 as Bar Managers, continuing to mentor apprentice bartenders, focus on wine education and guest experience.  

In Spring 2017 another great honour, her industry peers and Vancouver Magazine recognized Sabrine’s hard work and efforts when she was awarded Vancouver Magazines Bartender of the Year. 

In fall 2017, to add just one more way to spread her passion and knowledge of the spirits world into an already exhaustingly busy schedule, Sabrine has joined forces with Statera Wine Academy to teach WSET Spirts Qualifications Levels 1 & 2.


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Mariko Tajiri

Statera Sake Instructor

Mariko Tajiri presently works for That’s life Gourmet wine & food agency based in Toronto.  She has worked with Sake for over 10 years across Canada, talking, teaching and guiding people through the amazing but sometimes intimidating world of Sake. 

In 2016, Mariko became a WSET Level 3 Award in Sake, Certified Assessor and Instructor. In Fall 2017, She join forces to teach Sake level 1 & 3 with Statera Wine Academy.

Born in Hokodate Japan and raised in Vancovuer, she relocated to in Toronto but fortunately for us on the west coast, she visits Vancovuer frequently. 

She started her Sake career as her grandfather’s sake mule, carrying bottles as big as herself a kid.(She boasts, I am Japanese after all!) During the instructor course in Japan, being the self professed super geek that she is, her favourite part was visiting the National Research Institute of Brewing in Hiroshima and talking to PhDs about esters and different smells in Sake. 

She is also proud to say that she’s never done a sake bomb…yet!