Debbie Trenholm, President, Savvy Company Accredited Sommelier In 2003, Debbie Trenholm founded The Savvy Grapes—a business rooted in her passion for wine. Debbie’s enthusiasm for sharing that passion and experiences with wine, her refreshing approach to wine marketing and her knowledge of the wine industry have been essential to her company’s growth and success. Debbie and her team of sommeliers have built a professional reputation as the “go-to” wine resource for consumers, professionals and the media in Ottawa and across Canada.
Debbie’s curiosity for wine peaked during her career as an international business and marketing executive for high-tech companies. Around-the-globe business trips took her to numerous wine regions. Intrigued and eager to learn more, she enrolled in the Algonquin College Sommelier program and received her accreditation in 2000. Dedicated to learning about wine beyond the glass, she took her interest in the business side of things to the Queen’s University Executive MBA program, graduating in 2003. For Debbie, hands-on experience is as important as theory. She has explored the roots of the wine industry around the world—picking grapes in vineyards during harvest, bottling wines and even designing wine labels, gaining a full understanding of and appreciation for the many hands involved in the crafting of a bottle of premium wine.
Making wine accessible—with flair
Debbie and her team of Savvy sommeliers are committed to making wine accessible—through creative social experiences such as the popular Savvy Selections wine-of-the-month club; the relaxed, educational Savvy Supper Series; sommelier-led wine tastings; and winemakers’ dinners. The Savvy Company is creating new experiences for consumers by introducing Savvy U and Savvy Travel, and Debbie and her team are constantly engaged in developing new business opportunities and innovative marketing approaches for wineries. Debbie is a member of the Wine Writers Circle of Canada, the International Society of Wine Educators, and the National Capital Sommelier Guild. She shares her knowledge and experience with wine enthusiasts across the country through her TV and radio appearances as well as articles in business and lifestyle journals and national newspapers. Debbie’s achievements and personal commitment to the highly successful The Savvy Grapes and now Savvy Company has been recognized by the business community with Ottawa Business Journal’s ‘Forty Under 40’ Award in 2007 and ‘Professional Services of the Year’ honours from the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards in 2006.