Behind the Styles: Grace Dafoe

Behind the Styles: Grace Dafoe

Here at Vine Styles we have some seriously incredible customers. Meet Grace, she hurtles herself down an ice track, head first, reaching speeds of around 120km/h (that’s what most people drive down Deerfoot Trail…) for fun! A Skeleton athlete with a love for food and wine, Grace shares how she balances the things she loves the most in life, why she shops Vine Styles and which bottle she’s hanging onto for a special occasion!

VS: Tell us how you came to be a Skeleton athlete.

GD: I started Skeleton in 2012, after growing up figure skating for 14 years. I always think of it as one of those stories where if one thing would have gone differently I don’t think it would have actually happened. A family friend’s son was on the Olympic team, they suggested I try it (skeleton) out. There is an event at COP called Passport to Sport so I got to try it from the ‘Tourist Start’ (corner 11), I remember it really well, 2010 Olympic champion John Montgomery was there! He told me I had a good build for skeleton and gave me some advice. I was really nervous, even just the 4 corners were terrifying but for some reason I was drawn to it. Next thing I know I’m in a recruitment camp testing things like sprinting, throwing and long jump, after that I was invited to a “driving school” where you learn how to race over a weekend, and on the last day you actually do a run from the top! I completed both of my two runs and I was invited to be on the Alberta Provincial Development team.

VS: What does your average day look like?

GD: It really depends on the season. When I’m in competition season my day is full of sliding. I’ll slide in the morning, get home, train and then go over my notes and repeat! On tours it’s much more hard-core. When I’m home, I’m really not a morning person, my dog Ivy gets me out of bed and I enjoy a slow morning with her, that’s a pretty important constant in my life! After that I head in for training and in the afternoon, when I’m most productive I do work, promo stuff like podcasts and interviews like this. I’m a night owl, which works well since my lifestyle is far from typical.

I work at the Cochrane Multisport Program for Sport for Life Cochrane. I work full time all summer when the programs are up and running, in the winter they don’t need me as much after the programs have been coordinated. It works well while I’m training and sliding!

VS: Your sport takes you all over the world, what keeps Calgary as home?

GD: I’m a born and raised Calgarian so my family is all here, that’s my number one what keeps me here. I just bought a house in June so no matter where I travel/for how long (8-10 weeks this year) it’s so nice to have my place to come home to, and that certainly keeps my roots here. My friends are here too, and we have a great training facility so it’s a great fit for me.

VS: Most of your travel seems to take you to more “wintery” destinations, if you could take a wine and food trip anywhere, where would it be?

GD: This year I competed in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland with some vacation time in Poland. If I could do something more wine focused it would be Spain and Portugal. They are next on my list for a “real vacation”. I’m going to San Francisco this summer too, I’m really looking forward to that! I’d also like to go back to Italy, I went as a teenager with my family but I’d love to go back and be able to appreciate the wine!

VS:You’re a foodie, as an athlete, how do you find time/space in your busy life for food wine and culture?

GD: When I’m traveling during my competitive season I really like to eat locally. We often stay in family-run hotels, the family often lives in the house behind the little hotel. There was one place we stayed at in Germany where the Grandmother of the family cooked for us which was amazing! You really get to see what the local fare is like and enjoy the local wine and beer that you can’t get at home in Canada. But it does depend what part of the season it is, when I’m two weeks up from the Canadian selections that determine my races for the year, I’m eating pretty clean, cooking for myself and only enjoying wine once or twice a week. Now that my season has wrapped up for the year I can get be a little freer and enjoying wine and going out for dinner. For athletes, food is fuel but I really believe food should be good for you, good for your belly and good for your soul!

VS: Where are your favourite places to grab a bite in Calgary?

GD: The Guild, Juree’s Thai (seriously, you need to try it!), Monki, The Beltliner, Model Milk and Hayden Block are at the top of my list but I could go on forever.

VS: What is your most memorable wine moment/bottle?

GD: I don’t think I’ve had my defining wine moment yet. I have a bottle in my wine fridge, 2015 Sage Hills Pinot Noir and I’m hoping is ‘the one’. It’s the first bottle I bought with the intention of saving for a while. I think I will open the Black Sage after my Team Selections in October, especially if I make the jump to the National Team. If not for then, maybe during the Olympics next year. Or just for a Thursday, who knows! Sunday dinner with my family is really important to me, we gather over food and wine every week so that pillar of my life really makes wine special for me.

VS: If you could give advice to people trying to make time for wine and exercise in their life, what would it be?

GD: It’s all about moderation and finding your own balance of what keeps you sane and happy! There is no “one-size fits all” answer to this but I’m more of a quality over quantity kind of wine drinker, I’d rather have one great glass than a whole cheap bottle. Drinking can really impact your recovery and sleep so moderation is really important.

VS: If you weren’t a skeleton athlete, what sport/athletic activity do you think you’d be doing instead?

GD: I’ve been an athlete most of my life, after I quit figure skating I didn’t really know how to be active without that structure in my life. If I hadn’t found skeleton I really don’t how active I would be. My university degree really goes along with that, it’s in Health and Physical Education, my major is Physical Literacy. It’s a relatively new area, it’s always been around but now it has a name for it since kids have stopped being physically literate. Meaning that they feel confident, competent and motivated to move and participate in sports. When I started learning about that I really identified with that when I was between figure skating and skeleton and just starting to remember all the things I could do as a kid!

VS: What is your greatest personal achievement (athletic or not!)?

GD: It’s a real toss-up between a few things. Last year I got my university degree, I became a homeowner and went to World Junior Championships for Skeleton all within 6 months of each other!

VS: What do you enjoy most about shopping at Vine Styles?

GD: My first visit was a Discover Your Style Day with my Mom. It was so much fun to try different things. The store isn’t intimidating and being arranged by style helps give direction for customers as to what they would like. I don’t really focus on regions, I don’t have biases against any region and I found organization by region was hard to navigate for me, I’d just end up going up and down the aisles aimlessly. Vine Styles is easy to shop at for buying for people too, if you have an idea what they like it’s easy to know what section they would probably enjoy!

VS: Which one of our signature styles describes you best?

GD: I think I’m ‘Smooth’, but sometimes ‘Bold’. I think that corresponds to my personality, I like to think I’m pretty smooth and easy-going, I don’t talk a lot, I listen a lot, like a ‘Smooth’ wine, it doesn’t loud talk, but it is always there. But sometimes I’m ‘Bold’ in the right situations I am very outgoing and you need to ‘

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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.



We have many amazing wines in our online shop.

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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.