Quench Me: James Treadwell
James Treadwell is an accomplished sommelier who has honed his skills in the world’s top restaurants. Although he received his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science and History, James decided that a life in wine was really the way to live his passion. In 2005, James found himself helping customers choose their wine at Europe’s renowned Chewton Glen. Since he was in Europe, he took that opportunity to travel and become acquainted first hand with many notable vineyards and winemakers. You can find James working at his and his father, Stephen’s, restaurant, Treadewell Farm-to-Table Cuisine in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. James focus there is to provide customers with the best of Ontario and international wines. James was named one of Ontario’s “Top 30 Under 30”, one of Niagara’s “Top 40 Under 40”, and the “Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year”.
What inspired you to become a sommelier?
The opportunity to provide an amazing guest experience through the service of wine, and the opportunity to learn more about such an industry with so many different interesting areas (history, science, business, etc.)
What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to be a sommelier?
There are two – first off, taste as much wine as possible. First hand experience is always better than reading something in a book or magazine. Secondly, work abroad (in Europe, the US, etc.) as this will allow you to experience a different perspective on wine service, wine list management, and the role that wine plays in a guest’s restaurant experience, not to mention the opportunity to taste many different wines.
What differences have you noticed between Canadians and the English?
I found that wine plays a much bigger part in the dining experience in the UK. Another difference would be in wine-world focus. I found guests in the UK to be much more Old World focused, especially French. I think Canadians are more partial to the New World and a tad more open-minded to new trends.
What do you think are upcoming trends in the wine industry?
Loire wines becoming very popular in the north american market. The continued growth of emerging wine regions, like Ontario, in a restaurant’s wine program. The celebration of lesser known indiginous grape varieties.
What do you like best about being a sommelier?
Being able to guide guests in maximizing their wine experience, especially when introducing them to something new. Being able to showcase and support individuals whose talents, passion, and mindset make this industry so amazing.