"I’m a hostess by nature. I love having people into my home and serving them great wine and food. My role at Savvy Company is simply an extension of that."
Accredited Sommelier, Algonquin College - Ottawa
Smart Serve certified
Bachelor of Journalism, Carleton University - Ottawa
Q. What sparked your interest in wine?
Velma Leblanc: I think it all began with food. I’ve taken a lot of cooking courses through the years but I tended to pair the same few wines with all my dishes. I’d walk into the store and be overwhelmed by the maze of wines and ultimately resort to a familiar choice. I wanted to learn more about wine so I could make better and more adventurous selections. Now I’m in a position to help other people navigate what can be a seemingly endless sea of wines.
Q. What’s been one of your most memorable wine experiences?
VL: A cooking course took me to Tuscany a few years ago. As part of the class we visited a local vineyard, which stored its wine in oak barrels in 500-year-old deep caves. We stepped out of the caves into grape-covered hillsides—a spectacular sight to behold. Seeing first-hand this traditional winery in action changed the way I approach wine. When you understand all that goes into making a bottle of wine, it gives you an even greater appreciation for its flavour.
Q. What piece of advice about food and wine do you like to share with others?
VL: Take advantage of the power of food to enrich the flavour of wine. Great wine and great food can be enjoyed separately, but the perfect combination of the two can result in a masterpiece. I encourage people to experiment and learn how different foods affect the taste of a wine. Try a few different dishes—one spicy, one sweet, another salty - and combine them with a few different types of wine. You may be surprised by what you taste.
Velma’s Wine Tips
In the world of wine and food pairing there are no hard rules, only guidelines.
Wine is a fabulous excuse to explore the world.
Wine can enhance any food experience.
Understanding how a wine is made gives you a greater appreciation for its flavour.
I’m a hostess by nature. I love having people into my home and serving them great wine and food. My role at Savvy Company is simply an extension of that.