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.