Erin’s love affair with wine started with a Nebbiolo in Kicking Horse, now she runs our Design District store and is coordinating our upcoming wine club! She’s passionate about whisky, spin class and metal music – join as we get a little closer with this amazing woman!

VS: The hospitality and service industry was where your passion for wine really sparked, what was it that attracted to pursuing a career in the wine industry?

EL: I can remember the exact moment that I fell in love with the world of wine. I was working at this awesome little restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort called Corks. I barely knew anything about wine, but Paul Trudeau who owned the restaurant was super passionate and eager to teach me as much as he could. We were sitting in the office one night after service and he pulled the cork on a beautiful Nebbiolo. The wine was so delicious and complex and Paul explained that “Nebbia” means fog in Italian and that’s where the name comes from. It was then that I realized that wine was so much more than just fermented grape juice.

VS: What was the most challenging part of passing your WSET III?

EL: Jumping into it half way through! I registered on week 8 of the 15 week course and luckily Fine Vintage accepted me. I had done level I and II of the ISG previously, so I think that helped for sure! My instructor was super supportive and I studied my butt off. I ended up passing with merit!

VS: You took a step away from the retail side of the wine business to work as a wine sales rep, what drew you back to the retail side of things?

EL: I really missed interacting with customers. I love helping someone find the perfect bottle, whether it’s for a gift, to pair with a meal or just to indulge on a Tuesday night. As a rep, I was lucky to work with one of the best portfolios in our province, but I found it a bit limiting. In the store I get to work with hundreds of different producers and spirits too. I LOVE whisky… almost as much as I love wine.

VS: If you could cultivate one personal skill or trait, what would it be and why?

EL: I’m easily distracted, I always have been. I would love to work on that!

Wait… what was the question?

VS: What bottle of wine (or beer, or whiskey) has been your favourite so far this year?

EL: The 2013 Lady Hill Cabernet Franc from Oregon. It’s amazing! It has notes of creamy chocolate covered cherries, blackberries, smoke, purple flowers and subtle herbaceous notes. So good!!!

VS: You love a well-crafted cocktail, if we were to go get a drink right now, which restaurant would you want to go to and which cocktail would you order?

EL: Proof! They have super creative bartenders there and some of the most inventive cocktails in the city, but I’m a sucker for the classics, which they also do very, very well. I usually prefer whisky or brandy as the base spirit, so I’d probably start with a Side Car.

VS: What are you looking forward to most in Calgary this summer?

EL: Hanging out in my backyard! My husband and I bought a house last year and this will be our first (full) summer there. We have a great fire pit and lots of space for entertaining!

VS: What country do you want to visit most (wine related or not)?

EL: Germany is on the very top of my travel wish list! The Rheingau to be exact. It’s one of the most geographically specific wine regions on the planet, it’s steeped in history and arguably produces some of the very best Riesling in the world.

VS: In this industry keeping a balanced lifestyle is key to success, what do enjoy doing outside of work?

EL: Spin!!! I love it and wish I had more time to do it! I go to The Sweat Lab up near Aspen and the culture and sense of community there makes me feel like I’m home as soon as I walk in the door!

VS: What was the last book you read/series you finished?

EL: By series do you mean television?! I feel guilty unless I’m reading anything other than wine text books. Not a good excuse considering my first job was in a library! I did just order a book called “American Wino: A Tale of Reds, Whites & One Man’s Blues” though and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

VS: What is something most people don’t know about you?

EL: People always seem shocked to hear of my love for Rock music. I recently saw the Eagles of Death Metal (for the third time) with Death From Above 1979 and it was an amazing show! My husband and I used to run a bar back in Golden, BC and we had a ton of really great bands that played. Priestess, Pride Tiger and The Villains (who were from Calgary) were some my favorites, but they’ve all broken up since then.

VS: Last but not least, which one of our signature styles do you think represents you best and why?

EL: This is the toughest question here. If I HAD to pick just one style though, I’d say Crisp. I love bright, lively, high acid Riesling and when we first opened the Kensington store this was the style I identified with first. But Bubbly, Smooth & Mellow are very close contenders.



Whites with snappy acidity and vibrant flavours that will awaken your senses

Our crisp whites offer lovely refreshing acidity and a nice citrus punch; these wines will revive you and make you feel like you’re enjoying fresh fruit in an orchard in the middle of July. Think about of the last time you were out somewhere in the heat of the summer; one of those days when the pavement was melting, the paint was peeling off buildings and all you could think about was how badly you wanted something to quench your thirst. When you stumbled onto a lemonade stand and took that first sip, you were cured.

We can’t say our wines will cure dehydration but they are a great option while you’re enjoying patio weather.



You’ll find varietals like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Riesling and Vinho Verde and more!



Loved for their understated qualities these whites are beautiful and exotic

Talking about mellow wine is like talking about a classic film star. She’s a lady with international acclaim and classic appeal. Mellow wines don’t jump up and down screaming for attention; instead they prefer to lure you in with their quiet charm and feminine wiles. Swirling a nice Viognier or Pinot Gris is all about soft, intricate and attractive flavours that might make you think about your favourite perfume, stepping into a flower shop or leaving a patisserie where they’ve just taken almond pastries out of the oven. This is Sophia Loren in a glass.



If you enjoy varietals like Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer or Chenin Blanc you’ll love this style!



Whites that ask to be a muse. This is Claude Monet’s water lilies’ in a wine glass.

Lavish and luxurious wines with all the razzle-dazzle. Think about the things in life that make you feel like you’re living large. Imagine yourself wearing layers of pearl necklaces, leading a ticker tape parade, eating popcorn laced with truffle oil and lounging on the king bed of the Ritz Carlton penthouse all at the same time. Lush wines are what we drink when we’re feeling on top of the world and when we want to celebrate life. This is 4th of July fireworks and the clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve all rolled into one beautiful gold package. Bottoms up!



Varietals like Chardonnay, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier are found here.



Ruby reds with a timeless style and appeal; wines that will never go out of fashion.

Elegant reds ask you to dig a bit deeper. Some people enjoy them for the romantic ideas they conjure while others enjoy the subtle nuances that each bottle possesses. We can’t think of a better way to describe elegant reds than talking about Coco Chanel. Think about No. 5, the little black dress or the most importantly the iconic Chanel suit, a true couture item that is well lined, carefully crafted and something that will always be in vogue. An elegant wine is like a nice stroll along the promenade in the seaside town of Biarritz or a day at the ballet in red maillot.



Here you’ll find Pinot Noirs, Gamays, Chiantis and more!



Reds that are pleasant from start to finish

Supple and velvety, smooth reds are a real crowd pleaser; something that everyone loves. Like a popular jazz standard, the best way to sum up these wines is to think about hearing Miles Davis on vinyl. Everyone has heard those tunes and when the horns come in on the track you can’t help but connect over the sheer universal joy in hearing something so incredibly smooth and pleasing to the senses. Miles Davis was one cool dude and that’s how we feel about the wines in this section. You’ll feel like you’re slipping on a new pair of driving gloves every time you pour yourself one.



Varietals such as Grenache, Merlot and mouth-watering blends can be found here.



Our deepest most complex reds; these wines make a statement

Full and flavourful with an intense fruit core, these reds are the talk of the town. Bold wines have an intensity about them that not only commands your presence but also asks you to stay a while. Pretend for a minute that Clint Eastwood has just walked into a bar, stared at you for a long hard second and proceeded to put out a cigar out on his forearm before challenging you to an arm wrestle. You’re heart might skip a beat but you’ll be happy that you tried it. That arm wrestle might be one of the best things you ever do in your life. That’s how we describe a bold wine.



Food friendly varietals like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are right at home here.



There’s nothing quite like hearing that cork pop!

Call us crazy but the sound of a cork being popped just makes everything better. Headaches dull, clouds seem to part and even the sound of crying children can be drowned out by the wonderful thought that you’ll soon have a stem in hand and an effervescent treat to tickle the end of your nose. A glass of bubbly just spells a plain good time. It might be a celebratory drink with friends, an excuse to get all gussied up for a fabulous night out or it might just be a date with the couch to watch Sex and the City re-runs solo.



Here you’ll find everything from Champagne to Cava, Prosecco, Lambrusco and everything in between!



Wines made with a little extra TLC

What are you going to find in this section? You’re going to find late harvest nectar, ice wines, delectably sweet Rieslings and 5 puttonyos worth of sweetness. And why are you going to love these wines? The grape juice that you’ll find in our Rich section took a lot of extra TLC to make the transition from vine to glass and can be used to make some of the most magnificent food and wine pairings known to man. We just have 3 words for you: Oysters and Sauternes.



This style houses dessert wines like Sauternes, Ice Wine and Tokaji.



Simple and Straightforward

When you think of simple and uncomplicated you can’t help but think of a guy in his college freshmen year. The beers that we’ve categorized as Clean are straightforward and unassuming with bright flavours and not too much complexity. You’ll enjoy these beers more than a keg stand and find them to be about as fresh as a 19 year-old guy at an all girl frat party. Big time!



Light and easy, simple Lagers, Pilsners & Blonde Ales.



Find your zen on our beer wall

Life Coaches and self-help books will tell you that balance is the key to a happy life. That may true but when we’re talking about a balanced style of beer we’re talking about the merits of a good pale ale with well integrated hop and malt flavours. Balanced beers won’t help you understand the deeper meaning of life but they’re still worth sampling for their easy-drinking quality. Take that Deepak Chopra!



Brews such as Brown Ales, Red Ales, Cream Ales, Black Lagers & Dunkels.



For your fun side, beers not meant to be taken too seriously

There is fruity like the Village People and there is fruity like wonderfully citrus kissed Hefeweizen, warm kirsch Belgians and bubbly orchard fruit ciders. While there is no denying the fun of disco and flamboyant cowboys, our Fruity section will give you options to keep you singing and dancing all year long. This is an amiable selection to accompany garden time, dinner parties and of course they pair wonderfully with dessert.



If you’re after a Cider, Radler or any fruit infused brew, you’ll find it here alongside Wheat beers.



The safe way to have an intense experience…

Here’s a short list of things that are truly intense: squirrel suit jumping, big wave surfing and the insane ramblings of Gary Busey. While our Intense selection of beers could be described as big and loud, they certainly won’t lead to death on impact, shark attacks or being verbally abused on Celebrity Apprentice. You’ll love the IPAs and scrumptious Trapist ales. Gary agrees.



Some like it hopped! Here you’ll find IPAs, DIPAs, Trappist brews, Sours & Barleywines.



Beer that leaves an impression

Powerful, sturdy and strapping are all great words to describe the Robust section. Everything you find here possesses strong brawny flavours that leave a lasting impression. Just think back to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s version of Conan the Barbarian; despite the horrifically bad acting that comes with those 80s classics we just can’t help but love the brute force and thick accent. Conan would call you an infidel for drinking anything else.



Home to heartier brews like Stouts and Porters & some Barrel Aged offerings.



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Effortless and exhilarating in any season

It’s undeniable, Rosé is in vogue. It’s enjoying a renaissance following the White Zinfandel craze that swept North America in the 70’s. Today, Rosé is the queen bee. Rosé is your ever fashionable friend. It’s the timeless accessory you can turn to in any season. In the spring it’s like wearing peeptoe shoes on a warm day. In the summer, a breezy dress. In the fall it’s the perfect boots and in the winter, a cozy knit scarf.



Rosés are the product of a myriad of varietals, some of the most common are: Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cinsault.