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History of Vendange Institute

The Vendange Institute has been in operation since the fall of 2004. The institute holds the distinction of being the first program provider in Ottawa to deliver stimulating wine education programs certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). The programs satisfies the needs of the novice and enthusiast through to the industry expert and professional sommelier. The institute has in excess of 800 graduates since opening their doors in 2004 and will celebrate their 10th Anniversary in the fall of 2014. The Vendange Institute is the FIRST and ONLY program provider in Ottawa to offer the ’French Wine Scholar™ Study and Certification Program’ and the ' Italian Wine Scholar™ Units 1 and 2' from the Wine Scholar Guild.

At Vendange, our mandate is to provide the best wine education to our students. From our impeccable and attractive locale and tasting bar, to our selection of quality wines for in-class tastings. We invite you to take the plunge and immerse yourself in the amazing world of wine and spirits, with our skilled educators to guide you. Your appreciation of wine and spirits will grow with each tasting and in depth discussion. Let our mentors ignite the spark in you, and you will soon find yourself to be as passionate as they are about the subject matter. All of this is made available to you in a fun, casual and relaxed atmosphere and your classmates will become peers for years to come!

Institute Founders & Ottawa Tourism Award

The Vendange Institute was founded by Louise Smith and Norman McEvoy.

Norman was a results driven entrepreneur who drew on numerous years of sales and service experience and was responsible for the sales and marketing end of the company.

Louise has spent many years in senior management roles and acts as the administrator for the institute, overseeing the operational, financial and personnel activities.


In 2005, the Vendange Institute received the New Company of the Year Award at the 11th Annual Ottawa Tourism Awards.

What's in a Name

The name 'Vendange Institute' was chosen by two of the original team members, oddly both named Chris. Vendange is french for 'late harvest' and institute is self explanatory.

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