Ever since his days co-owning Midfield Wine Bar, one of a new wave of wine bars to emerge in Toronto in the early 2010s, Christopher Sealy has been influencing the way Torontonians drink wine—not by sharing his antics on social media with clever feats of hashtagging, but by doing the hard work on the floor and in the cellar.
That Sealy is the complete opposite of an attention grabber—even as he runs stellar wine programs at the Alo group of restaurants—befits the line he has carved in the city’s wine scene. He keeps a low profile, displays consummate confidence and projects an air of absolute control, from his meticulously assembled attire to the thoughtful manner in which he considers a client’s request. Sealy got into the wine trade partly by happenstance. He was living in Paris, dabbling in photography and DJing when a friend suggested the hospitality trade might be to his liking.
“I reflected on this, and with strategic thinking I felt that being a specialist of wine could be interesting,” he says. He trained with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and Court of Master Sommeliers, and “the rest is a history of continual learning.”
Sealy began his career with the Terroni group before opening Midfield in 2012. He briefly worked at George with chef Lorenzo Loseto in 2015 joined Patrick Kriss at Alo, which debuted on our 2016 list at #7–and then placed first overall in 2017, ’18 and ’19. Now, he is wine director for the Alo Food Group, which includes Aloette and the newly opened Alobar Yorkville.
Keeping “wine life” interesting at each location is Sealy’s forte. Alo’s program comes about as a group effort, through constantly tasting new wines with Chef Kriss and his team “so that we have multiple references for when the kitchen produces a new dish.” At Aloette, Sealy allows his sommelier team to step up. “I discuss new wines, introduce the wine and they really run with it.” Alobar is focused on presenting benchmark wines from classic and emerging regions. “Not necessarily the most popular wine, but [a wine that has] its own reputation big or small and works to engage the guest.” At least in part due to Sealy’s efforts in stewarding Toronto’s taste in wine, he observes that “everyone is thirsty and there is now more choice than ever.” And for that, we propose a toast