Archive for ‘Helping our communities’

Have you tried this AMAZING wine?

Posted by Debbie

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Amazing Wine labelHave you ever had a glass of amazing wine? A wine that is so remarkable that it sends you to a place, a memory or even triggers an emotion. Now there is another amazing wine that you should put on your ‘must try list’. The name is easy to remember: Amazing Wine.

It is truly amazing for several reasons – it is a quality wine made in Ontario, it is less than $15 AND with each bottle purchased, $1 dollar is donated to charities that send young people from Ottawa to help build schools around the world.

Amazing PeopleKimothy Walker

This amazing initiative is the brainchild of Kimothy Walker. During her 25 year career at CTV Ottawa anchor of the Weekend News and reporter for News at 6, Walker was continuously interviewing incredible people in the city, “I wanted to create a way to share the positive stories about the generous work that these inspirational people were doing – right here in Ottawa.” It took only a matter of seconds for the news director at CTV to create Amazing People – a special segment every Thursday evening profiling a different person and their amazing story.

JonTamJonathan Tam was one of the first Amazing People profiled. A successful businessman who sold everything to devote his time to SchoolBOX – a not-for-profit organization based in Almonte that builds schools in Nicaragua. “People like Jon deserve more than just 8 minutes of airtime for the hours that they devote to their community,” commented Eric Collard, Eric CollardWalker’s friend and partner in the newly formed Ottawa Media Group.

“I wanted to extend the brightness of the spotlight with a gala and celebrate them.” Without hesitation, Walker and Collard along with the help of friends organized the first Amazing People Gala in 2011 which was intended to be a small event to support SchoolBOX. The Amazing People Gala exploded to 550 people raising over $50,000.

The money raised goes towards Ottawa-area teenagers who will learn about their ability to make a difference.  Over the past few years, two groups have travelled to Nicaragua where they were involved in building schools and interacting with communities.  They learned to be leaders and experience first-hand their impact on the world.

SchoolBOX logo“Amazing People is a celebration of the human spirit”, radiates Walker. “People want to be part of something – a movement – that is positive. Thousands of CTV viewers vote for the Amazing People to be honoured at the Gala.“ Now in its fourth year, the Amazing People Gala will be hosted on Saturday October 24 at the Delta Ottawa Hotel. The goal is to raise $150,000 this year for SchoolBOX as well as well as other charities associated to Amazing People who have been profiled.

Toast Amazing People with a glass of Amazing Wine

Breaking away from the normal process of contacting wineries for donated wine for their event, the Amazing People Gala organizing team took the approach of creating the Amazing Wine product line. Château des Charmes Estates Winery located in Niagara-on-the-Lake was thrilled to be asked to create Amazing Wine. “We liked the positive vibe of all those involved in Amazing People and wanted to be a part of this Ottawa event,” explained Michele Bosc, Marketing Director at Château des Charmes. “Selling the Amazing Wine at our Ottawa store is a natural fit as it makes it easy for anyone to pick up a bottle or a case of the special wine any day of the week.”The winery will donate $1 for every bottle of the white and red wines to the Amazing People charities.

Peggy & DevlinHERA Mission logoAmazing Wine is now my house wine. Clients, family, friends and neighbours will be getting bottles of these wines for their birthday and for Christmas. ” states Peggy Taillon, founder of the Hera Mission of Canada for her dedication to supporting orphans in Kenya. Taillon was named the 2011 Amazing Person and her charity is a recipient of this year’s fundraising efforts. Guest charities who are benefiting are Ryan’s WellMiracle League and Project North as their founders have been honoured as Amazing People.

Make Amazing Wine your house wine!

Buy at Château des Charmes store located at 407 Laurier Ave West (next to Minto Suites Hotel), or order it online at or call Savvy Company 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).


Amazing Wines Tasting Notes

Amazing Wine bottles Sept 20152013 Chardonnay

Delicious tastes of apple, pear and warm spices fill the glass. Aged in French oak barrels to create a medium bodied smooth and crisp wine that will complement many foods from roasted chicken to a seafood feast….or simply enjoyed while unwinding with friends.

2012 Cabernet Franc

Stunning red in colour with juicy tastes of red plums, raspberry and blackberry laced with a hint of smoke and ground pepper. This is a medium bodied wine ready for anything off the BBQ, gourmet pizza, hearty stew…oropen when friends drop by.

Dance the night away

amazing Gala 2014 picJoin us at this year’s Amazing People Gala. Tickets are still available but they’re selling fast!

Mark your calendars and save the date, as we are celebrating some of Ottawa’s most Amazing People Saturday, October 24, 2015 at the Delta Ottawa City CentreThe Amazing People Gala Committee has been hard at work organizing this year’s event. They will pull out all stops to make sure that it is the biggest, most exciting and inspirational Amazing People Gala to date!

Be prepared for an evening full of laughter, tears and inspirational stories surrounded by  Amazing People and inspirational leaders from the Ottawa Area.  Past Amazing People galas have included incredible flash mobs, incredible singing and crowded dance floors.  The focus for this gala is about celebrating the human spirit and having fun.

You can learn more about Hera Mission of Canada and SchoolBOX by visiting their websites.


You don’t even have to get up from your chair to order these wines!
Click & order >>


This article was written by Accredited Sommelier Debbie Trenholm and published in the Fall issue of Ottawa Life Magazine





Debbie is Dancing with the Stars!

Posted by Amanda

Monday, October 13th, 2014

And now for something completely different! We are dancing the night away.  This Friday Debbie is trading wine glasses for dance shoes as she competes (for bragging rights) along with 7 other Ottawa ‘personalities’ in Dancing with the Stars, an oh-so-much-FUN fundraiser for Easter Seals Ottawa. Grab your dancing partner & join the Savvy Team.  This dinner & dancing is almost sold out.

Practice makes perfect…

For the past 2 months, Debbie has been waltzing & cha-cha-cha-ing at Fred Astaire dance studio  with her dancing partner Dan Labelle (co-owner of the studio).  Just as they do on the ever popular TV show, 8 Ottawa celebrities will rip up the dance floor performing two dance numbers.  The winning dancing pair will be decided on by your votes.

I have been a keen supporter of Easter Seals for several years volunteering,
participating in their annual Bring on the Bay 3km open water swim.
I’m over the moon 
to be one of the celebs in Dancing with the Stars –  I did not know waltzing could be such a workout!  -Debbie

Here’s the 2014 Star Studded ‘Celebs’:Dancing icon

Jean-Luc Boissonneault, Co-Founder & CEO Free Form Fitness
Shawn Dawson, Entrepreneur & Founder of Dream Mountains Foundation
Derick Fage, Host & Producer of Daytime Ottawa on Rogers TV
Sarah Freemark, Anchor/Reporter on  CTV Morning Live
Mary Anne Ivison, Morning Show Co-Host, Country 101.1
Liza Mrak, Mark Motors of Ottawa
Shawn Simpson, TSN Team 1200
And…our very own Debbie Trenholm, Founder & President of Savvy Company

They’ve already been dancing on TV!

CTV Ottawa Morning Live popped into the studio while Debbie & the other celebs practiced. Watch them in action >>
And Leanne Cusack from CTV News at Noon reported from under the disco ball too!
Watch Debbie do the cha-cha>>

Join us! Be purple & proud in the Savvy cheering section

We invite you to join us at this fun evening of dinner & dancing at the Ottawa Convention Centre .  You’ll get the Savvy VIP treatment! Buy your ticket or a table for a spot in our cheering section & we’ll thank you with a special Savvy ‘swag bag’ of wine glasses, a gift certificate of $50 for our next Savvy Event & other Savvy goodies.

Can’t make it?  Vote for Debbie online!

Contribute big or small to my fundraising goal of $1,000. Click here to show your support with a donation – thanks a million in advance!

Event details

Friday October 17th 
Ottawa Convention Centre 
5:30pm – Let’s kick the night off with bubbles featuring award winning Palatine Hills Estate Winery
6:30pm – Multi course dinner with wines from Burnt Ship Bay Winery & Pondview Estates Winery.
All night long there will be a silent auction, the dance competition with local celebrities, then the dance floor will open to everyone to dance the night away until the wee hours.

Tickets: $150 each or $1,250 for a table of ten. To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact Hayley Magermans at or 613.226.3051 ext 227.

It’ll be a fun night for everyone AND you can help raise funds towards providing financial assistance for essential mobility equipment for children and youth with physical disabilities.

See you there!





A Top notch day in Prince Edward County

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

We are often called on to create & host a Sommelier led wine tasting in someone’s home where friends & neighbours gather to celebrate a special occasion or just get together.  I love doing these in-home events as they give you an opportunity to meet fantastic people who are eager to discover new wines.  Often the host will go all out & hire a chef to create appetizers or a meal to make the wine tasting extraordinary.

I recently met Chef Dean Otto & his ‘sous chef’ (aka wife) Jeanine at one of these events.  They took over the kitchen & created gourmet wonders all night long.  While the guests noshed & sampled the wines I introduced them to, I had a moment to chat Dean & Jeanine.  During the course of the evening, I learned that they are the driving force behind a special fundraiser for Roger’s House that they host every year – Maddy’s Gala. This event celebrates the short life of their daughter Madison ’Maddy” Otto who died very suddenly at the age of 5 in 2007.  The family’s story about Maddy’s time in Roger’s House inspired me to want to donate a special item for the gala auction.

Maddy'sGala Live Auction Item Top Drawer Wine Tour 2013At our office, Amanda got on the phone to call out to Sherry Martin of Karlo Estates to see if we could use the “Top Drawer Wine Tour” of Prince Edward County reserved by these County partners for special fundraising events like Maddy’s Gala – all the more reason to go on Saturday (February 8) so that you can bid on this one-of-a-kind Sommelier led wine tour.

This all-inclusive tour along ‘The County’s’ back roads will be in a private vehicle with a tour guide kindly provided by Sandbanks Vacations

We’ll be visiting three wineries, all that have won international acclaim as well as the breathtaking Lavender Farm in bloom. Corks will fly at our first stop to visit Hinterland Wine Company where partners Jonas Newman and Vicki Samaras specialize in crafting fine sparkling wines.  We will taste and tour through the sparkling wine process and enjoy their warm hospitality.   Onto Norman Hardie Winery & Vineyard where we will sample his wines while enjoying a lunch of gourmet pizza done Norm’s way in his outdoor wood fired oven.

Then the group will take a moment to breathe deeply as we wander through the Prince Edward County Lavender Farm in full bloom.

Our final stop is to Karlo Estates set in a Loyalist barn converted into a stunning winery.  Winery owners Richard Karlo & Sherry Martin will take you through their entire portfolio of 11 wines as they pair small bite nibbles. We’ll walk it all off through their vineyard to the famous dry stone bridge to enjoy some Port and a group photo.  What a perfect day it will be.

Roger's House

The 7th Annual Maddy’s Gala is not just a good cause – it’s an amazing cause.  This year’s goal is to raise $75,000 in support of The Ottawa Senators Foundation & their charity of choice, Roger’s House. This will bring their 7 year contribution to $325,000.

Learn more about this special event by watching the CTV Ottawa Morning Live interview.


More details about the Top Drawer Winery Tour for 8 people:

Hinterland Wine Company  Tasting at the County’s Sparkling House
Norman Hardie Winery & Vineyard – Gourmet lunch in the vineyard & tasting
Prince Edward County Lavender Farm – Tour of the farm & the fields in bloom
Karlo Estates – Full portfolio tasting with food pairings
Savvy Sommelier as your ‘tour guide’ for the day
Sandbanks Vacations private chauffeur & vehicle around Prince Edward County

Tour value: $2400
Tour dates: Sunday through Friday between June 17th  to July 17th 2014 – so that you can enjoy the lavender fields at their finest.

Details about Maddy’s Gala

Where: Delta City Centre Hotel – 101 Lyon St., Ottawa
When: Saturday February 8th, 2014
Cocktail Hour: 6pm to 7:30pm
Dinner: 7:30pm
Live Auction: 9:00pm
To purchase tickets click here >>

A HUGE thanks to our friends & partners in Prince Edward County who eagerly supported Maddy’s Gala with this wonderful Live Auction item.  We look forward to being the Sommelier for this special day trip to ‘The County’.

See you then!

Youville Live Auction Item Top Drawer Wine Tour 2013






A fun day in the country – Chefs Cook-off at Midsummer HerbFest

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

The annual Midsummer Herbfest, an Ottawa Valley tradition returns for its sixteenth year. It is a fun one-day must-attend event for those interested in herbs, gardening, cooking and living a healthy lifestyle. Held on the grounds of The Herb Garden, a privately owned AGRI-tourist destination in an idyllic rural setting that provides for a unique rural ambience.

For the 8th year in a row, we are proud to be involved in the ever popular Chef Cookoff. As MC & Sommelier, I will present the dishes, offer wine & food pairing tips, as well as Ontario wines that will match perfectly with the chefs’ creations.

The popular Chef Cook-off, boasting three esteemed local chefs:
Cesare Santaguida, owner & chef at Vittoria Trattoria (located in the Byward Market as well as Riverside

Neil Mather, Executive Chef at Graffiti’s located in the Holiday Inn Kanata

Brian Vallipuram, Executive Chef at Grill 41 located in Lord Elgin Hotel

Each year, the chefs are challenged to create any recipe including the Herbfest’s themed herb – this year it is horse radish & showcase their talent by doing a cooking demo under the big top tent before 100s of people. Here is a sneak preview of the recipes. Try them before Herbfest, or join us to see the chefs in action on July 24 – see you there!  More about Midsummer Herbfest at

Horseradish & raisin risotto | pan seared Bison tenderlion

Chef Cesare Santaguida, Vittoria Trattoria

Serves: 4 persons

Beet Risotto
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh horseradish (grated)
2 tablespoons Miso paste
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup raisins
Parmigiano Reggiano

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and half of the butter over medium heat. Cook shallots for about 3 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add Arborio rice and continue stirring for another minute. Add wine horseradish and Miso paste stir for 2 minutes, or until wine has evaporated. Pour in 1 cup of the chicken stock and let reduce. Slowly add one ladle of chicken stock and stir until evaporated. Repeat this step until the risotto is al dente (16 to 20 minutes). Use remaining chicken stock to finish the cooking process. Remove from heat and mix in the remaining butter, raisins and parmigiano cheese.

Bison Tenderloin
1 ½ to 2 pounds Bison (or beef) tenderloin
2 teaspoons grape seed oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan on high heat, add 2 teaspoons of grape seed oil. Once the oil is hot, place meat in pan. Sear for 3 to 4 min per side.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Plating Directions
Place about ½ cup of risotto on plate, Place 1 piece of tenderloin

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Fitzroy Beef Tenderloin with salsify & bean salad in horseradish dressing

Chef Neil Mather, Graffiti’s

2x 3oz medallion of local beef tenderloin pan seared medallions med rare to medium

1 slice white bread cubed without crust
1/2 cup cream
grated horseradish root
ground clove
salt & pepper

bring ingredients to the boil & blend

1 shaved salsify
2 oz green beans blanched & sliced
1oz sesame oil
1 pinch sesame seeds
salt & pepper to taste
grated horseradish root

toss ingredients together

Plating: Plate salad with medallions of beef & horseradish sauce. Garnish with infused chive oil & tarragon sprig

Roulade of Salmon & Scallop with Tomato Horseradish Cream Sauce

Chef Brian Vallipura, Grill 41

8 ozs salmon
2 U-10 scallops
2 plum tomatoes – diced
2 tablespoon fresh horse radish – grated
½ onion (medium size) – diced
1 spoon pickled ginger
¼ cup oil
2 tablespoons garlic
1 cup 35% cream
75 ml rice vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Mixture of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme & parsley chopped)

Slice salmon into four thin pieces and marinate with fresh herbs (thyme and rosemary), a teaspoon of garlic and a teaspoon of oil. Place scallops in the middle of salmon and roll into two rosettes and set aside (to hold together, use bamboo skewers).

– In a small sauce pan preheat and add three teaspoon of oil. Sautee onion, garlic and diced

tomatoes and stir while cooking for approximately 5 mins.

– Add vinegar, cream, and ginger, cover and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Remove from

heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh horseradish.

In a non-stick frying pan, heat pan and add remaining oil. Fry bottom side of salmon rosette for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and finish in the oven at 375 for 7-8 minutes. If no oven available, cover the frying pan with a dome cover and add a teaspoon of butter, a touch of water (to prevent from drying and sticking) simmer for 7 minutes.

Plating: Pour sauce on a warm plate. Place salmon rosette in the middle and serve. ENJOY!


Helping our communities

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 6th, 2009

All of us in the Savvy Team are proud of our extensive involvement in the Ottawa community, provincial and national charities along with not-for-profit organizations.  We give back by sponsoring community and charity events, lending our event management expertise to fundraising committees, connecting organizations with wineries, and even provide our Sommelier Sommeliers as live auction items – a very popular fundraising item!


We delight in hearing people say, ‘Savvy Company is everywhere!’  From day one, I have been a strong believer that being involved in the community – whether the place we live or the wine community – is essential and enriches our lives. As all of us involved in Savvy Company have different communities and ways of helping people, every year, each Savvy Team member personally selects their preferred charity or organization to donate $500 in Sommelier Services.


Here is a taste of the community and charity fundraising we have been involved in:



An Evening with Abigail

Ashbury College

Big Art Event for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa

Canada Dance Festival

Canadian Living Magazine’s Breakfast for Learning

Canadian Cancer Society

Canadian Museum of Civilization – Children’s Program

Canadian Ski Patrol

Canadian Discovery – Canadian Cure Making Diabetes History

Canadian Organic Growers Association

Canterbury High School Reunion

Champion for Kids Ottawa

CHEO Foundation

Citizen Advocacy

Central Experimental Farm – Children’s Programs

Critchon Community Cultural Association

Feast of Fields

Friends of Hospice Ottawa

Habitat for Humanity – Women’s Build

Help Lesotho

Hospice Huntsville

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Kawinis Club of Ottawa

Macabi Canada – Ottawa team fundraising

Nepean Sailing Club Easter Seals Regatta

Ottawa Chamber Music Festival

Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation

Ottawa School of Art

Ottawa School of Speech & Drama

Ottawa Senators Foundation

Ottawa Valley Herb Association’s annual Midsummer Herbfest

Red Cross Canada

Red Cross – Ottawa Branch

Ronald McDonald House

Royal Ottawa Hospital

Runway for a Cure

Shirley E Greenburg Women’s Health Center

St Paul’s United Church

The Great Canadian Theatre Company

T’N’T Daveathalon (Huntsville, Ontario)

Vancouver Playhouse


Weekend to End Breast Cancer – Toronto & Ottawa

Westboro Community Association

Westboro Nursery School











If you would like us to be part of your community activity, contact us on cheers(at)savvycompany(dot)ca.  Cheers!