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deVine Wines, your favorite spot for wine.
Ed considers himself one of the "lucky ones" who has a career that he is passionate about. It all started in 1980 when he got a part-time job working for the ALCB while attending university. At the beginning, his interest in wine was strictly academic. "I was driven to learn about wine so I could help customers on the sales floor. It was as simple as that." Ed immersed himself in the subject for a whole year before he tasted his first wine - Blue Nun Liebfraumilch. "I didn't know what all the fuss was about until I tried the 1978 Bouchard Aine Beaujolais-Villages. The aroma was beautiful and I was hooked."
Ed continued working part-time for the ALCB until graduating with a B.Ed. A full-time opportunity came up to co-ordinate VIVA, Edmonton 's first international food and beverage exposition. After two years, Ed moved to the ALCB flagship specialty store on 106 Street. Many of deVine's customers fondly remember the tasting room at that location. "I was there too. If you don't recognise me now, it was because I had hair then!"
When the ALCB privatized in 1993, Ed left the industry for a few years to start his own sports memorabilia import/export business. "The experience I gained during that period helped me to reach my ultimate goal: opening up a fine wine store." Ed managed Sunterra Cellar for two years and cristall's wine market for five before opening deVine. "It seems that everything I have done in my work life prepared me for this experience. This includes the customers and people I met along the way, some of whom have become my partners in this venture. I feel very lucky and privileged to be where I am today."
Ed's other passion is cooking. "Nothing beats a great meal, served with fine wine, and shared with good friends. I wish I had more time to pursue this hobby. My partners Dirk and Annabelle are great cooks. The kitchen brings us even closer together as a team."
When not at work, Ed enjoys golf (or a facsimile of the game), snooker, and Edmonton's bike trails. He is looking forward to traveling more in the future. "Perhaps I'll get to visit a few wine regions along the way!"
Favourite grape varieties if he had to pick: Riesling for white and Syrah for red. Favourite wine region to explore if he could only choose one: Bordeaux. Favourite food: lamb shanks, osso bucco, and ox tails. All-time favourite wine experiences: 1961 Chateau l'Arrosee, 1977 Fonseca Vintage Port.
Annabelle was the manager at Sunterra Cellar in Commerce Place for three years. Her wealth of experience and cheery disposition is well-known to wine afficionados throughout the city. Her passion for wine matches her passion for food, and she can be counted on for giving excellent food/wine pairing advice - dare to ask her for an exotic pairing.
Annabelle is a GREAT cook, and many of us have sampled her Portuguese influences at home and at several of the in-store tastings. Annabelle likes Old World wines, and she especially loves Port (the ones that come from Portugal!) - you will see her leading many of deVine's port tastings.
All-time favourite wines: 1977 Fonseca, 1985 Bollinger RD, 2001 Chryseia, 2001 Closa Batlett, and the 1989 Chateau Haut-Brion.
Please meet Chad Gascho, one of the managing partners at deVine Wines & Spirits. Chad has several years' experience working in the wine industry. He has a more-than-moderate knowledge about wine in general, but he really knows great beers; he is responsible for the selection of over 100 microbrews and imports in deVine's cooler.
Chad's face is one that you will see almost every time you enter the store, as he is largely responsible for the day-to-day operations of the shop. From shipping and receiving, to setting up and running tastings, to the ambiance and decor of the store, Chad is devoted to making deVine a unique and pleasurable place to shop. He is friendly and always happy to help out (like everybody else you see at deVine!) so come on down and hang with Chad and discover what deVine is all about.
Dirk comes to deVine strictly from a consumer background, having never worked in the wine business before. Dirk loves to talk wine (especially about the high-end stuff), and he enjoys the interplay of differing opinions and mutual admiration over a great bottle.
Firmly planted in the Old World, Bordeaux and Vintage Port are his first loves (although Burgundy, Italy, and Spain are not far behind). Sometimes, occasionally, a bottle from the New World will bring a "Wow" out of him.
Dirk treasures the times when he participates in wine dinners with his family and his wine-tasting friends. "Wine is for sharing, it provides a vehicle to spend time with those you love; I would never open a great bottle of wine by myself."
Rick is presently working on obtaining his Red Seal in Carpentry. When not working at this or at deVine, he is usually planning his next trip. He has traveled to many different countries, lived in two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and has been to every province and Territory in Canada, with the exception of Nunavut, which taunts him daily.
While his knowledge in wine does not nearly match that of his coworkers, he is happily learning to navigate the vast wine landscape, recently returning from his first official wine tour in the Okanagan. Rick's larger interest is beers and ales. His favorite Brewery? Brooklyn Brewery from, of course, New York.
Meet Bill. After working in the retail wine business for over nine years, Bill has arrived at Edmonton's premium wine boutique: deVine Wines. Previous to being employed in the retail wine trade, Bill had a career for overa quarter of a century in the field of publishing. These twenty-five years required a lot of travelling through out North America. He saw a lot of cities and many wine shops.
Wine is Bill's passion so he enjoys trying new wines and visiting wineries in Canada, the USA, and Europe. He believes the love of wine along with its many discoveries is a life time journey. Bill has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Economics and is a certified Mixologist. Besides wine, he enjoys classical music, photography, and hiking with his dog.
Every wine afficionado can name that one bottle that made them stop and say: "Ah, that's what all the fuss is about. I get it". For Mark, it was a bottle of 2005 Chateau Lagrange, St. Julien that Dirk opened one evening. A few months later, Mark left 23 years in the food-service industry to come and work at deVine's. Born in New Brunswick, Mark has lived in Edmonton since 1986. A self-appointed sport's trivia encyclopedia, his idea of a grand evening is a fridge full of beer and a good hockey game. He is concerned about his budget now that his palate has blossomed to include fine wine.
Chris comes to deVine Wines after working several years in boutique hotels and a brief stop as manager of Sunterra Cellar. Having thoroughly explored most new world wine regions Chris is now obsessed with France and Portugal. If you come in and ask for a recommendation you'll probably walk out with a bottle or two of Cabernet Franc - French, of course.
Meet Kelsey Trites , the most recent addition to the deVine family. With a previous history in the serving industry and three quarters of a bachelors degree in Nutrition, you could say wine isn't Kelsey's "first language". But don't be fooled, wine is easily one of her first love's.
Despite her youth, Kelsey has had the opportunity to visit wineries across British Columbia as well as in Sonoma and Napa Valley. Her passions being travel, food and wine, she hopes to continue expanding this list. However, being a new Downtown tenant and student, exploring deVine's extensive library of wine will be a substitute that keep's her palate and wallet happy until that day comes.
If you are visiting deVine Wines and Spirits Kelsey encourages you to please come and say hello as she love to chat about all things food and wine, and is more than willing to recommend the latest and greatest vino that's not going to clean out your wallet.
Coming from the great land of Ontario, Nicolas Ibarra is a new addition to the deVine wine family. Nic's background has helped him to travel to over 30 countries! He enjoys continuously learning about all topics (he's actually a pilot too!) Though his preferences in liquor are mostly to rums from the Caribbean, he does love wines - so being at a place like deVine wines has given him the great opportunity to continually learn about the amazing world of wines and spirits. So stop by at any time and say hello, he loves chatting about travelling and of course rum and wine. His favourite rum? Flor de Cana 12 year old.
Kandice comes to us from small town Cold Lake, Alberta where she spent six years working at a small liquor store before taking six years off for university studies. Though her love of liquor stems from a love of gin and herbal liqueur, her new-found adoration for wine is growing by the day. She views each day at work as a learning experience and can often be found working at our various wine tastings and charity functions. Her palate is expanding ferociously but will always hold a special place in her heart for a nice citrusy sauvignon blanc. Feel free to stop by and see her at any of our tastings, or just for a tasty recommendation for your evening.
Valentine Vollant came from France to work at deVine Wines with the goal to learn a lot about the wine industry, she had traveled in France and met a lot of wine makers. She is passionate about wine since she was young and she loves particularly to speak with the wine makers and how the wine reflect the terroir.
She would like to create a link between her passion and her job it is why she is here. Her second passion is the food, french and good food obviously. She is also interested by the relation of the wine with the food and how one wine can change your meal and give you some emotion. She loves to travel and discover new countries like Canada and she wishes to discover new wine regions in these countries. Also she has following business studies in France and now she would like to work with her both passion, wine and business.
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