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By Louise Wilson Cormier MW

As a beverage alcohol agent in Ontario, I am often asked, “How do you select wines and spirits for your portfolio?” This is usually followed by, “that must be so much fun!” It is a lot of fun. Sharing the liquid art of artisanal producers with similar philosophies and kindred palettes is as good as it sounds. But what influences my decision to include a producer in the Wilco Fine Beverage collection?

Vinitaly 2023
Photo Credit: Bob Beck @gluggdesign

After 30+ years in the industry, I have formed a strong opinion about the kinds of drinks I want in my glass (also the glassware I want in my hand – but that is another conversation). First and foremost, every wine, spirit, or non-alcoholic drink that Wilco represents is something I would enjoy and be proud to pour for my family.

My appreciation begins with quality but does not end there. If I’ve found something that tastes good, embodies a sense of place, and checks the boxes for flavour, balance, elegance and length, the next question I ask is, “does this product deliver good value?” To me, good value does not necessarily mean inexpensive. It means the beverage experience surpasses expectations relative to cost, regardless of the price category.

What do I mean by the beverage experience? The journey might start with an interesting story…. “this winery has helped to rescue this rare grape from near extinction,” or “this producer is making wine from PIWI varieties” (more on both in an upcoming post). For the travelers among us, we may be inspired by our latest destination and begin to look for those special pours we discovered on holiday. We may be moved by the beauty of a label and the joy we feel when gifting (or receiving) such a bottle. By the way, I feel the same way about well-plated meals and well- dressed cocktails. I do judge books by their covers.

Wine from Piedmont producer Silvano Nizza
Photo Credit: Bob Beck @gluggdesign

The beverage experience doesn’t end with the final sip for the best-in-class bottles. These superior selections have us spreading the word to like-minded friends or celebrating our find with a post on social media. Perhaps we look forward to an upcoming occasion where we can revisit that glass, attend a tasting from the producer or even explore some of their other offerings.

The beverages selected for the Wilco collection are bottled stories crafted by passionate people; they appeal to all five senses and linger in our memories.

Until next time,

Louise Wilson Cormier MW

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