Fiona Hepher

Fiona's journey in alcohol-free began in January 2020 when her mother gave up alcohol. It was a decision, she says that 'gave me the permission I didn't know I needed to break up with alcohol'. Within a year the pair had tried all of the AF beers, wines and spirits available to them in Vancouver and, in search of some new options, set up their own company, Sansorium, an 'alcohol-free, online marketplace' to import some new options. In the last two years, they have held over 150 pop-ups across the country.

It's not the only thing that Fiona has helped to bring into this world. As a part time community birth doula, she also supports parents with the physical, emotional and spiritual stresses of childbirth.

She's most drawn to the world of alcohol-removed wine. 'I love the storytelling, the romance and the expression of various grapes and regions,' she says. 'This category continues to excite me with envelope-pushing techniques and innovative technology.' 

While Fiona is obviously hoping to find some interesting new wineries and styles at this year's judging, she is, she admits, also excited by the creativity surrounding spirits and aperitifs and says she'll be 'tasting for who can deliver the greatest bite!'