Nathalie is a graduate of the University of Quebec and a Montreal native. She moved west in 2004 and embarked on a 10-year adventure as Conference Manager at the prestigious Banff Centre. Recruited to partner in the wine business by WSET classmate Darren, Nathalie decided to pursue her passion and come to Vine Styles as CED (Chief Experience Designer). Her multitasking skills thrive when there is a lot going on – fueled by her passion, drive and good humour, she’s rarely sitting still, but she likes it that way!
VS: So, what does your typical work day look like?
NG: Coffee until it’s time to sample some wine. Office work until it’s time for customer and wine rep visits. Ideally finishing the day with a winemaker’s dinner somewhere or with a few people coming in the store to learn about wine, craft beer or scotch and whisky! There’s really not much to complain about!
VS: You moved to Alberta from Quebec, what do you love most about living here?
NG: Chinook winds in the winter, the sun all year round, the mountains, the people, only 5% tax… and the wine store privatization!
VS: In those sweet moments of solitude when you’re not at the store or checking emails, what do you enjoy doing?
NG: I like going to hot yoga, reading a good book by the fireplace with a good glass of wine. Whenever I can I get down to my cabin in Idaho and hangout by the lake, no cellphone there, it’s perfect!
VS: What is the most rewarding part of running/owning your own business?
NG: Meeting people. For me strangers are just friends I haven’t met yet. Between customers, reps, winemakers and Vine Styles team members … I definitely get my share of social interactions.
And also to hear customer’s feedback on our stores, whether they like the simplicity of the way it’s laid-out, the unique selection, the passionate and knowledgeable people, or the amazing wines they sample. Their feedback, and returning visits make my day, and makes all of our hard work totally worth it.
VS: What are you most proud of?
NG: Learning to ride a motorcycle. It was a pretty steep learning curve for me, 9 years ago, but I absolutely love it now!
VS: What is something most people don’t know about you?
NG: I play trumpet… well, I played trumpet for 15 years. Mainly blues/jazz and classical but some rock and folk in pubs etc. When I tried again 5 years ago it was an absolute disaster. Definitely doesn’t come back as quick as riding a bike does in the spring time!
VS: Which one of the Vine Styles’ ‘styles’ do you feel represents you best?
NG: Bubbly… both because of the style of wine and how it is described (festive, effervescent & charming), and the fact that sparkling is probably my favourite wine style.
VS: Where is your dream wine country destination?
NG:Riding my motorcycle through Spain’s wine country. Well, obviously not riding and wine touring, but riding to wine country and then parking the bike for a few days while in wine country.
VS: Who do you admire?
NG: Olivia Pope! She is always stunning, and well-dressed. She’s super smart, independent, very ambitious and driven. Her sense of righteousness, the way she handles stress and achieves so much in her days… she even fits swimming in her crazy schedule! Let’s not forget how she can handle her wine! She is fictional I realize this, but definitely inspiring…!
VS: What was the last book you finished?
NG: The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It’s short, magical, sweet, and yet terrifying and real in all of its quirkiness.
VS: What is your favourite Vine Styles memory?
NG: The Saturday of our official opening weekend celebrations in Kensington in June 2014. It was so busy on that day we could barely see the floor at any point during the day. You could feel the excitement in the air, it was an amazing day… and there were Crave cupcakes!
VS: And finally, what goals have you set for yourself for 2016?
NG: Hahaha! Too many to name. I narrowed it down to 7 main goals this year, but they all have subcategories!
(VS: For the record: her goal setting and achieving process is involved and inspiring!)