"Combining great wine, sumptuous food and good people is a proven recipe for a fabulous time."
Accredited Sommelier - Algonquin College, Ottawa
Smart Serve certified
Registered Dental Hygienist
Question: How do you see your role as a Savvy sommelier?
Gina Wohlgemuth: To me, wine and food are two of life’s greatest pleasures. At Savvy, we give people the chance to experience those pleasures in new ways. The delighted faces during of one of our Savvy events are my measure of success. Really, there’s nothing more gratifying than watching people make new discoveries. I also work as a dental hygienist; I have to admit that with a glass of wine in hand, people are a lot more enthusiastic about what I have to say!
Question: Has your love of wine led you to travel?
GW: Everywhere I go I make a point of exploring the local wine industry. I have a real affection for Italy. I visited a couple of years ago and had the pleasure of working for a week at a local winery. I didn’t speak of word of Italian going over there, but by the end of my visit I was helping with wine tastings and using some of my newly acquired Italian phrases. The culture really resonated with me. There, wine is part of everyday life: there isn’t any stigma attached to it. Wine tourism has become something of a family activity for my husband, son and I. We’ve traveled to the Niagara region, Prince Edward County and the Okanagan. Some wineries produce non-alcoholic drinks and many offer bistro and restaurant style food service, so there’s something for everyone. Next on my list are New Zealand and Australia, and Chile and Argentina.
Question: What’s the oddest yet most successful wine/food pairing you’ve encountered—and what made it work?
GW: This goes back to my sommelier training. As part of our coursework we had to each present a wine and food pairing to our peers. Someone brought in chocolate-drizzled shrimp paired with Italian red wine. It’s something I never would have expected, but it generated a lot of great discussion. The earthiness of the wine complemented the earthy sense of the fish and the lightly sweet flavour of the chocolate. It was one of those moments that reaffirmed one should never be afraid to explore the unordinary and push the boundaries of normal—in both life and wine.
Gina's Wine Tips
Get a taste of geography: match your wine and food by region. With wine, you not only learn geography—you taste it.
Red, white and sparkling—a bottle of each and you’re always prepared.
Fortunately, there’s no one right way to match food and wine. There are many.
Combining great wine, sumptuous food and good people is a proven recipe for a fabulous time.