Posts Tagged ‘IVLP’

We’re heading west to San Fran & Napa

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
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In Denver, as well as San Francisco, we had several opportunities to meet Canadians who had decided to work south of the 49th parallel. An interesting conversation was particularly had when we met Marcy Grossman – Canadian Consul General in Denver (centre left in black & white) who during her career, has been posted in various Canadian consulates throughout the US. During our meeting, we learned about how these consulates are an instrumental resource referring and assisting Canadian businesses to create business relationships with American companies. “We can help vet and find appropriate American businesses in the various regions to work with,” Marcy explains. “$1.9 billion of trade crosses the Canada-US border.  And over 8 millions jobs in the US rely on trade with Canada”. Marcy highlighted that in Colorado there are 100+ Canadian and internationally owned business including Suncor, EnCana, Great West Life, Molsons Coors, Agrium & Enerplus.

Each consulate has a list of priority industry sectors.  In Denver, Marcy explained that they are:

  • North America Energy Security (pipeline, tar sands, etc)
  • Border Security
  • Agriculture and Trade Policies
  • Trade issues affecting competition

You can see the Rolex flipping in Marcy’s head as we explained the nature of our businesses. Without a beat, Marcy offered to make introductions, send useful documents and provide connections to firms that she and her team has existing relationships. What an incredible resource.  Marcy was ready to help in every way.

We then peeled back the Canadian flag (figuratively) and turned the tables to ask Marcy about personal experiences about being a Canadian businesswoman working in the US. Afterall, for the past 2 weeks we have been exposed to all of the resources and initiatives that the American government has geared towards growing women entrepreneurs in their country. Finally we had the opportunity to talk with another Canadian businesswoman & were curious of her perspective from a Canadian point of view. Let’s just say, we could have spent hours more with Marcy. I look forward to our paths crossing again.

Always a place at the dinner table…

Each city we visited, the 6 of us had the opportunity to meet an even further extension of people and to experience non-business setting. We all remarked about the unexpected kindness and generosity of the people in each city who opened their own homes for us and welcomed us for dinner and great conversations. All done completely voluntarily through their affiliation with the US Institute of International Education program office their respective city.

Not only did we enjoy this personal connection, I was inspired and in return, I will look into doing the same for international visitors to Ottawa. Thank you to whose who set a spot for me at your table – Anar & Todd in San Jose (Anar is seated 2nd from left & Todd is in back row), Roy & Laurie (in Denver), Marty (in Kansas City) and Katrina (in Austin)….and their friends who joined us at the table too. While the food on the table was good, it was the people in the chairs that were most memorable.

Go west young ladies, go west!

While Denver was fascinating and held many more opportunities and ventures to experience, San Francisco awaits! After nearly a week in Denver, we re-packed our luggage one last time and headed west to enter into another time zone and to see the western most coast.

I have visited to San Francisco several times for both fun as well as for wine related work. It is such a dynamic city, I was looking forward to see what San Francisco Institute of International Education had arranged for us. Their itinerary covered a lot of freeways and certainly did not leave much free time to explore this fantastic city. We’ll be back!

During our entire trip we have been trying to land dinner in Chinatown. We promised ourselves (and Amina as it was her birthday) that when we arrive in San Fran, it was the first thing we’d do. True to that plan, I asked the concierge at Park 55 Hotel not for his recommendations, rather for the Chinese restaurant he goes to. “The Capital on Clay Street has the best food and has the best chicken wings – hands down!” I was surprised by this comment, yet claims of San Francisco’s best wings was proudly plastered on the front door and the cover of the menu. And so…when in Rome, do as the Romans do…we ordered a plate of these mysterious wines along with an array of interesting Chinese dishes. Every mouthful was loaded with fresh ingredients, fish and spices. Delish!

Lending a hand to grow a business

The meetings in San Fran & the Bay area were different from the other cities. We were invited into businesses focused on kick starting small businesses, primarily for immigrants.

We met with Opportunity Fund (located in Silicon Valley) to learn how they help small ‘Ma and Pa’ businesses in the Bay area from dry cleaners to taxi cab drivers with microlending. With their regional, they are providing loans mainly to Hispanics – 55% are women, and 42% are under 35 years old. “We are the first stop BEFORE they go to the bank for a loan”, explained Devin McAlpine.

From there, we met with Joanne Gan at Kiva to learn about the impact of ‘crowd funding’ – individuals like you and me offering a minimum of $25 to an emerging business in a different corner of the world. They are currently lending $400 million by means of 800,000 lenders (aka you & me) around the world supporting budding entrepreneurs with uber low interest rates. “We are a website that provides connections to people with money to people who are looking for ways to make money” explained Joanne. And wandering around their open space office, Kiva demonstrated a novel workspace format that those of us from the east would coin as ‘very west coast’. Lots of photos were taken to remind us that a cube farm does not nurture a successful business.

Leaving the cheque book behind, we then moved away from lending funds to lending space in a commercial kitchen with our visit to La Cocina. This is an incubator kitchen primarily for immigrants to create unique foods from their homeland in a certified FDA kitchen with the goal to grow into a new business venture. Complete with all of the industrial kitchen equipment you can imagine, professional development courses and business coaching as well as a dedicated team focused on creating opportunities (farmers markets, catering, festivals) their culinary creations to sell. We were all impressed us with the commitment to create both the push and pull to help build a community of new businesses, or as renown business author & blogger Seth Godin would call it – a tribe.

We were interested midst of other communities at work when we visited the beautiful campus of Standford University. ‘It is so invigorating to be amongst young people learning’, Fiona mentioned as she looked around the campus & outdoor patio. Known as one of the most expensive universities in the US, I could not help myself from imagining what some of these young 20 somethings aspire to do once they graduated.

Do you know the way to San Jose?

Throughout my high tech career, rarely did a day go by when Silicon Valley goes unmentioned at the watercooler. In previous trips, I had driven past San Jose, but never stopped. This time, we arrived at our meeting earlier than planned, so we walked around the streets of San Jose and soaked up some California rays.

This Silicon Valley mecca that creates vibrant minds, innovative technologies and millionaires overnight was surprisingly dull and run down. Certainly there were corporate towers and campuses with familiar logos, but the main street lacked energy while the retail & restaurants were stagnate. Strange. The downtown core seemed to be somewhat ghost town, while surrounded by highrise corporate empires with logos of household names.

An afternoon in Napa with meetings of a different pace

Other flipside, in my wine career, Napa is the iconic mecca and I was thrilled that our last afternoon was dedicated to visiting the boutique wineries of Ceja Vineyards and St Supery Winery. Both businesses have a woman at helm. These two wineries are making an impression both locally as well as internationally with their wines. While for the past weeks, our meetings have been in boardrooms with death-by-Powerpoint slidedecks (ok, not that bad – it is just an expression!), I was excited to show the other ladies what a meeting in my wine world involved: sampling wines with the winery owner, talking about vintages, rambling through vineyards and visiting cellars.

Our tour was organized by Napa’s newest business (owned by 3 women no less!) – Verve Napa Valley Tours. First stop: Family run Ceja Vineyards where owner Amelia Ceja was holding down the fort at the tasting bar while juggling other buying clients. In contrast, our meeting at St Supery was in a private room overlooking 2200 oak barrels aging something amazing. Each meeting provided an educational & personalized tasting peppered with stories about the history of the business,  commercial growth along with mentions of the significant buildings on the estate …and whatever else came to mind over a glass of wine!

In keeping with our mantra to ‘go local’ at each city, I succumbed (yes, me of all people!) and the others too purchased some of our favorite Napa wines. These wines had connection to our tour and will be savoured & shared with those back home to remind us of our brief visit to experience first hand how California wine industry grows.

What? It’s done!?!?

Just like the day we started, we boarded our bus & conversations about our experience kept us entertained all the way back to San Fran. The only difference from before, was that was the end of our scheduled itinerary. Our last appointment. Our last day. Weird…our IVLP trip was done.

3 weeks and 5 cities with 6 phenomenal women had come to a close. It felt odd. The day that followed felt even more empty, as we departed at different times to back to our home city. Fiona left a day early as she was already booked for a vacation with her son in Mexico. Amina switched to an airport hotel to catch her 5am flight (which she did not make in the end). I set my alarm for 4:30am to surprise & see Nancy, Jennifer & Stephanie off, then went back to bed before getting ready for my flight at 10am.

Waiting for me in the lobby was Johnsy (middle row with black hat) – our US State Department representative – who was with us every step of the way – literally.  Johnsy made sure that we were always on schedule and stayed together. Thank you Johnsy for making sure that the trip went as smoothly as it did. I knew that you did so much more behind the scenes than you let on. Coincidentally, that once she was no longer watching over us, flights were delayed or missed & bags were lost. We all mentioned in email threads afterwards ‘where was Johnsy when we needed her?’

The best part of going away…is coming home

This saying is true of any holiday or time away from family for business travel. This trip was different though. While we arrived as strangers with a simple common thread of being Canadian, the experience that the US Embassy in Canada and the US State Department offered us by hand selecting the six of us to be part of their IVLP delegation focused on Women Entrepreneurs & Trade provided me personal growth, education that I probably haven’t realized its fullest impact yet, along with countless connections (not to mention a brick of business cards), and a greater appreciation for the importance of women being involved in growing the economy by starting their own businesses or breaking the glass ceiling – in any industry.

No post-trip report was required to be filed back to the US Embassy, rather I wrote this blog & tweeted as a way to give you a glimpse of my daily experiences as a proud women entrepreneur from Canada on the IVLP. Within days of my return, an email found its way into my inbox announcing that I was now an IVLP alumni and that there were still more connections and resources available in the months and years to come. The whirlwind trip may be done, yet the rest is only beginning.

In fact, last week, I had a quick voicemail from Amina saying that she was coming to Ottawa for a meeting the following day. I was excited to see her again! Picking her up at the station, we feverishly caught up all within 15 minutes while I drove her to her meeting. Little small talk was made and it was great to see her in her element….and later in the day, I found her ‘Afrique Expansion’ brochure left in the back seat of my car. She is definitely a businesswoman who never stops!

I imagine that this will be the way it is between the 6 of us now on. A friendly phone call to say hello, a tweet about an interesting tidbit or a group email to share the latest family or work news. I know that while we are spread across the country we will be inseparable.  We will always be there for each other. What a cool feeling to have of a group of women I had a hard time keeping track of their names less than a month ago.

Efforts to make plans to get together or arrange a quick rendez-vous when our travels brings us to our home cities of Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg or Prince George. Whatever may be the reason that our paths cross again, one thing is for certain, I have wonderful friends and business advisors who I can reach out to at anytime.

A million thanks!

Thank you to those at the US Embassy and US State Department who nominated and selected me to be part of the International Visitor Leadership Program featuring Women Entrepreneurs and Trade. I am truly grateful for the opportunities that you have created for me and look forward to those that are still to come.

With a glass of California wine in hand, I raise a glass to all of the people involved in making our trip memorable.  Cheers to you!
-Debbie

OK….so what is our combined shoe & luggage count now?

Total number of checked luggage: 12 pieces – increased now to include a case of wine from Napa – guess who that belongs to? 
Total number of shoes & boots between the 6 of us: 42 pairs total
Weight of each piece of luggage: well, we all ‘hovered’ at the airlines’ maximum 50lb mark per suitcase

Quotable quote & bloopers

Let’s just say that there are many inside jokes, stories and expressions that “will stay on the road”.

Continue to follow us on Twitter:

While we are not tweeting about our trip, we invite you continue to follow us on Twitter as we will be talking about #IVLP and the trip for a long time to come!
• @savvydebbie (me)
• @Halifax_Gateway (Nancy Phillips)
• @JenniferBrandle (Jennifer Brandle)
• @PillPak (Fiona Webster Mourant)
• @amigerba (Amina Gerba)
…while Stephanie had all of the latest tech gadgets in her purse, she never really got ‘onto’ Twitter…we’re still working on her!

 

What our fortunes say…

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Denver: A mile high…& growing

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, March 21st, 2013
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Our travel itinerary had our time in Denver for the most days compared to the other cities on our 3 week IVLP tour. None of us had ever visited the city, except for touching down at the airport enroute to somewhere else.  The borders of this Midwest state are perfectly square, yet during the 5 days we were here, we found that they are pushing the boundaries with everything they do in this vibrant city.

If I were to pick one word to describe Denver, it would be ACTIVE.  From the meetings, events, dinners in peoples homes, networking functions and even at the Women’s Film Festival, it appeared that every level Denver-ites were actively involved in their city.

Actively promoting their uniqueness

As if perfectly timed, we excited to learn that we arrived just in time to take in the last 2 days of Denver Restaurant Week.  Over 300 restaurants across the city showcase a set multicourse menu of their signature dishes for a price of $58.20 per couple.  A strange number for a marketing promotion, I thought.

It was later explained to me that 5820 refers to the number of feet above sea level that Denver is located….aka a mile high…up.  This unique geographical position with the Colorado Rockies Mountain range in the not too far distance (less than 1 hour drive from the city centre) coupled with the fact that it is in a dry desert-like climate area boasting 300 days of sunshine, this city we found takes advantage of its unique altitude that no other city in the US can hold claim to.

We had delicious discoveries in downtown Denver at Restaurant 1515 and inmearby Boulder where we enjoyed lunch at Kitchen [next door].  We learned that there is a growing trend for chef/owners to start their restaurant in a small location amongst a neighbourhood such as Highlands providing lower overhead costs & rent than a downtown address. This is similar in concept to the business incubator spaces that we have visited in other cities as the location offers low overhead & operational costs as the restaurant grows its reputation and eventually moves downtown. We went to Corner House and Old Major (on its 15th day in business as they were still ironing out their kinks).  Surprisingly, the restaurants were jam packed – even on Monday & Tuesday nights! Other restaurants we were tipped of as ‘must dos’ were: Squeaky Bean, Vesta’s Dipping Grill and Ace.  All the more reasons to return to Denver!

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Our first day of activities in Denver could have taken place anywhere.  Back to back events to celebrate International Woman’s Day where we were the guest of honour along with keynote motivational speaker Deedee Corradini, whose list of accomplishments is outstanding.

Inhale… Deedee began her career working on Capitol Hill (while being a single mom of two kids under the age of 8), first and only female mayor of Salt Lake City, UT (where she spearheaded the winning bid to host the Olympics), President of US Women’s Ski Jumping Team (leading the charge & recently winning a controversial law suit against Vancouver Olympic Games – with the Canadian women’s ski jumping team in tow) and now she’s President of International Women’s Foundation.  Exhale…

I have one question –  How does she do it ALL?

Both Jennifer & I wrote separate blogs about our experience during this single day as our Denver blog would be far too long.  Click to read mine and Jennifer’s article: You can’t BE what you can’t SEE– that appeared in Prince George Citizen.

Time to unwind

By Saturday, we all desperately needed a break from our tightly scheduled itinerary.  Waiting at airports & the times in between meetings or traveling on our bus was really the only time we had to catch up on work or call our friends and family back home.  And even this time was peppered with questions about our meetings and sharing of ideas.  When Denver began to brace itself for a ‘big’ snow storm, I have to admit that I was relieved to wake up to a cold rain-mixed-with-snow Saturday. While usually a perfect day to go to explore the city or visit a museum, I opted to relax & tackle my work to do list with a vengeance.  Turns out that the others did exactly the same!

Denver’s active lifestyle

Sunday was carved out to be 100% ‘me time’.  With new snow, and the Rocky Mountains just an hour away, what do you think I did? Absolutely! I treated myself by leaving my name badge and laptop behind to break away from our tightly knit group for a day of skiing on 13 inches of fresh powder at Breckenridge.  As you could imagine, it seemed that every Denver-ite was doing the same thing!

Going from 5820 feet to 13,000 feet in a matter of a few hours took my breath away – literally. It was perfect conditions with not-a-cloud-in-the-blue-sky day, no wind, ‘fresh pow’ and the ultimate – ‘fat skis’ made my ‘me day’ absolutely heavenly in the above the treeline playground.  It certainly revitalized me for the last week of our trip ahead.

This day was a turning point for me, and perhaps for the other 5 women with whom I have become fast friends. We all did our own thing on this day – not spending every waking minute with each other, which is completely different from the past 2 weeks.  While I was in my element on the ski slopes, I was looking forward to seeing them to share my adventures and to hear about their day too.  The 6 of us have grown an incredible bond.  We have started planning our ‘reunion’ and figuring out when we will be visiting each other’s city.  One thing is for certain, I have a new board of advisors for my business as they know more about Savvy Company from our meetings and discussions. I am very grateful for this unexpected connection through participating in IVLP.

‘ACTIVE-ating’ the downtown core

Since we arrived, we all commented on the positive energy and great vibe in Denver.  The Denver International Airport is growing into an Airport City, there were loads of funky looking housing developments & old brownstone warehouses cleaned up transformed into offices or loft living.  Construction and cranes seemed to be everywhere. There was a blend of modern, historic buildings and some that were revitalized similar to what we saw in Kansas City. Ken Schroeppel was once an urban planner, now Instructor of Planning and Design at University of Colorado Denver and highly regarded blogger on Denver’s development Urban Infill –  gave us a walk through of the development plans for the city’s Union Station revitalization.  He explained that residents are active in the decision making process of major developments in City Hall.

We couldn’t believe it when he explained that residents vote on all aspects of developments of their city.  Yes, vote! “Denver is civic minded.  They haven’t met a tax increase they didn’t like”, quips Ken with a smile. Actively engaging Joe Public in the decision making process of improvements and changes in their city was impressive.  And Ken explained that the City immediately undertakes the approved change/project with a timeline to have it completed within 4 years. Mind boggling when I think how long City of Ottawa has debated the pros and cons of installing Light Rail Transit.  In Denver, the Union Station revitalization and development project is already breaking ground and Francisco Alonzo – Director of Innovation at the Airport proudly reported that the first train running from downtown to the airport will be in 2016 along with a network of other lines, hotels, office buildings, active spaces for fountains, farmers markets, restaurant, retail and rental apartments.

We stayed at Brown Palace Hotel – Denver’s historic hotel. In contrast, a few blocks away was the 16th Street Mall – a pedestrianized street with free modern shuttle service that is directly connected to the city’s main bus lines providing a quick way to jump on and off at each street corner in order to make it easy to shop & dine at the various retail & restaurants lining this street. In the summer, 16th street is the heart of the city where on World Music Day, anyone with an instrument are welcome to perform on stages that the City of Denver has built.  Beyond this one day activity, the Keys of the City is an innovative way to keep 16th  Street Mall active with pianos of all kinds colourfully painted by local artists throughout the spring & summer months. “It started several years ago with a couple of pianos, and this summer, we figure that we will have 30+ pianos donated and painted for anyone to sit down and play or simply tinker on”, proudly commented Brittany Morris Saunders, VP Public Affairs of Downtown Denver Partnerships.

 

Oh, there is so much more to tell you about Denver that I will leave you with this for now
& be back with part 2 of the blog – stay tuned!

What is our combined Shoe & Luggage Count?

Since we had Sunday ‘off’, while I was skiing, the others did some ‘retail damage’ in Denver.  Amina bought another suitcase, all the while the others bought new outfits (we were getting bored with our packed luggage) and new shoes & boots! At our Monday meetings, we had a whole new and refreshed look!

Here’s the latest count…

Total number of luggage: 11 pieces that we checked in…don’t even ask how many we carried on!

Total number of shoes & boots between the 6 of us: 42 pairs (up from last count of 38)

We are women after all! 🙂

 

Follow us on Twitter

For in the moment tweets about our tour, follow our group on #IVLP and

  • @savvydebbie (Debbie Trenholm)
  • @Halifax_Gateway (Nancy Phillips)
  • @JenniferBrandle (Jennifer Brandle)
  • @PillPak (Fiona Webster Mourant)
  • @amigerba (Amina Gerba)

 

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Savvy Company in the News….

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
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The team of Savvy Sommeliers are often called on by the media to be included in TV segments, featured in columns & blogs or interviewed on radio.  Here is a quick list of where you would recently seen and heard Savvy Company in the news.

In 2014

Debbie on CTV News at Noon

Wine & Cheese or should it be Beer & Cheese?  Debbie takes CTV News at Noon host Leanne Cusack on a delicious discovery of Ontario wines AND craft beers that pairs well with locally made artisan cheeses. Watch the 2 part segment >>

The Urbanite headlines ‘Craft beer-of-the-month-club puts beer in your mailbox’. Food & Drink columnist Natasha Marar interviews Debbie about Savvy Company’s newest venture – Savvy Hip Hops. Read the article>>

 

daytimeDebbie joined the airwaves to co-host with Derick Fage on Daytime Ottawa on Rogers TV.  Debbie & Derick have been in front of camera countless times before so it was undoubtedly be a fun show! Watch the host chat

 

Metro Ottawa News does a spread about the launch of our Savvy Hip Hops Craft Beer of the Month Club. Thanks to the Metroland team for always promoting local businesses! Read the article

The Ottawa Citizen showcased our  Savvy Selections wine of the month club as one of the ‘go to sources’ where you can buy wines that you have enjoyed at a restaurant.  Read the article>>

 

In 2013

Debbie continues to be called on as a guest contributor to Canada.com Weekly Wine Chat each Thursday at 2pm.  Join her along with other wine industry expert panelists chiming in from coast to coast.  Read the online chat

Vanessa is the ‘Grande Fromage’. French TV station Ruby TV went shopping for artisan cheese with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa – toute en francais!   Watch the segment  Bravo Vanessa!

Debbie was nominated and selected by the Embassy of the United States in Canada to be one of six Canadian women to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) focusing on Women in Trade and Entrepreneurship.  She blogged along the way:  3 week, 5 cities, 6 women & 8 suitcases

 

 

In 2012

CBC Radio’s Fresh Air featured our Savvy Selections wine of the month club as one of the top gift ideas for those hard-to-buy-for people on your shopping list.  Listen to the segment.

Renowned wine writer Konrad Ejbich features our Savvy Selections wine of the month club in his ‘Gift for Geeks and Normal People too!’ blog for last minute wine gift ideas.

Savvy Company’s Outstanding in their Fields taste & buy events is one of Where Ottawa  Magazine’s Best Bets Weekend Roundup…alongside with Bruce Springsteen concert!

CBC Radio Ottawa Morning Karla Hilton states that Vanessa has the COOLest job as Cheese Sommelier.  Listen to  interview with Vanessa about local artisan cheese.

Blogger 2nd Ferment declares to its readers, “forget about the stock market & invest in Future wines from Lailey Vineyards”.  Great comments about a special taste & buy event hosted by Savvy Company.

Shari Goodman from Whisk: a food blog shares her food & wine discoveries at Ottawa’s first annual Winterlude Winemaker’s Brunch.

The Yummy Mummy Club was in Ottawa to take in Winterlude festivities.  While they were in town, Savvy Sommeliers Vanessa & Derek hosted a Blind Wine & Cheese tasting for them at the Lord Elgin Hotel.  Twitter was all a buzz during this fun evening.  See & read all about it!

Debbie & Vanessa were called in to host the Savvy Wine & Craft Beer Bar along with a Savvy Artisan Cheese Bar to give guests a taste of Ottawa for the Ottawa Tourism & Roots Canada media launch of  ‘Let’s Go Outside’ contest.  Media was all abuzz with photos, videos, blogs & Tweets including:

CBC Radio All in a Day called on Debbie to offer sparkling wine tips to usher in 2012. While on air, she explained how to WOW your New Year’s eve guests by sabering a bottle of bubbly!

In 2011
A BIG media day! On Thursday December 22,  Debbie appeared on CTV Morning Live Ottawa with 12 Savvy Gift Ideas.  Then on the CTV Ottawa News at 6, anchor Michael O’Byrne featues Savvy Selections wine of the month club as one of the hottest new gifts.  The phones continue to ring off the hook!

Wine Out Loud blogger Holy Bruns, highlights our Savvy Sommelier Julie’s blog about Cava wine.

Vanessa joins CBC Radio In Town & Out  host Michael Bhardwaj with her list of cheese-y gifts for everyone on your shopping list!

Ottawa Start highlights Debbie‘s involvement as co-host & auctioneer at Music & Beyond’s Holiday Wine Auction fundraiser

MoneySense Magazine calls on Debbie to provide Sommelier insider’s tips & tricks for feature article: A brilliant wine, everytime that appears in September/October issue.  Read article online

Ottawa Sun published a special Lifestyle Magazine where journalist Simon Forsyth interviewed Debbie for her insight & impressions on the winery owners who are pioneering a new wine region in Ottawa & surrounding areas.  Read article online

Sit.Sip.Savour. blogger Éva Nagy shares her delicious experience at the Great Canadian Cheese Discovery where Savvy Cheese Sommelier Vanessa showcased artisan cheeses from British Columbia, Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island.

PRESS RELEASE: A Renaissance in Ottawa’s Little Italy. Preston Street is alive with this year’s celebration of Wine, Food & Art.

Articles written by Debbie & Kathryn appear in the special La Vendemmia edition of Metro Ottawa

Vanessa shares her story about a Friday night date with an Italian…Italian cheese that is! CBC Radio In Town & Out  host Michael Bhardwaj hears about the moving sensation when a wheel of Parmasean cheese is cut.

Debbie appeared on Rogers Daytime TV with tips on buying wines at a Music & Beyond’s upcoming Fine Wine Auction.

Debbie interviewed Canada’s popular Chef Michael Smith when he visited Ottawa to launch his new cookbook – Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen.  Cooking tips & tricks were shared, while Michael encouraged us all to spend time with family at the kitchen table.

PRESS RELEASE: Preston Street BIA selects Savvy Company as Marketing Partner for annual La Vendemmia harvest festival.  Mark your calendars Sept 22-25 to join us for fun wine & food events.  More…

Vanessa joined CBC Radio’s In Town and Out host Michael Bhardwaj in studio to talk about artisan cheeses, cheesemaking & tasting tips. Listen

Debbie appeared on Rogers Daytime TV with tips on Ontario wines & craft beers to chill & enjoy in the shade during Ottawa’s record breaking heat wave.

Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa  was on Rogers Daytime TV showcasing delicious Ontario artisan cheese offered tasting tips. Watch video 

Blogger Katy Watts joins our Savvy Cheese Sommelier Vanessa to learn the ‘whey’ about artisan cheeses from BC, Ontario and the Maritime provinces.  Katy reports that she was nervous at first, yet leaves full & with a greater appreciation for what goes into making cheese.

Debbie was on Daytime Ottawa show (Rogers TV) profiling a variety of newly released wines from Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries who will be in Ottawa on June 1st for the 52 New Wines from One Unforgettable Place wine tasting.

We were finalists in the Ottawa Tourism Partnership of the Year Award for our culinary events in partnership with Thyme & Again Creative Catering

Debbie was named Ottawa’s Entrepreneur Businesswoman of the Year Award finalist. With media coverage in the Ottawa Citizen, METRO Ottawa & EMC news

Agritourism Guide blogger Lara Bender showcases two upcoming Savvy Events in http://agritourismguide.ca/2011/05/10/cheese-and-wine-lovers-3-great-events-and-a-giveaway/

Vanessa showcased Ontario artisan cheeses on A Morning Show.  TV host Kurt Stoodley couldn’t stop nibbling on the cheese curds!

Savvy Company is named ‘Top 50 Sommelier & Master of Wine blogs’ as reported by Cindy Cullen, Culinary Arts College.

Launched in March, read weekly columns by Savvy Sommeliers in Metro Ottawa newspaper on Thursdays.  Susan shares wine shopping tips with “If I only had $100, I would buy at Vintages” while Vanessa showcases local artisan cheeses in her “The Curd on the Street” column.

Sit. Sip. Savour. blogger Éva Nagy just received her month Savvy Selections delivery featuring Creekside Estates Wine. http://sit-sip-savour.blogspot.com/2011/03/savvy-company-wine-club-march-selection.html

Debbie graces the pages of the Feb 14th issue of Hello! Canada Magazine featuring the Canadian Celebrity Chef Event that Savvy Company sponsored & were the Sommeliers for this first of its kind sold out event.

Get a taste of the wonderful experience with this YouTube video of the Canadian Celebrity Chef event.  Savvy Company was proud be involved.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZnJElan0W4

Debbie hosts “Wine Shopping with a Sommelier” on A Morning Ottawa.  In the 4 TV segments, she offers tips on navigating through Vintages, picks good value wines and pairs wine with Food & Drink magazine recipes.

Vanessa shares her favorite cheese discovery in Cheeselover.ca Outstanding Cheese Bites of 2010.  Quebec artisan cheese Le Foin d’Odeur “is like licking buttered popcorn from your fingertips!”


Rave reviews from the media …
“Savvy Company’s craft beer tasting was a superlative event” – Ron Eade, Food Editor of the Ottawa Citizen 

“Thank you for hosting last night’s BC wine tasting event. I was particularly struck by the easy interactions between the Savvy Team and the participants (“not stuck up” is the way one person explained your events which is, I think, high praise for you and your team).  Of course, the highlight was the wine and the wonderful intro by the Sommeliers. I’ll be writing my blog tonight.”  – Clare Fowles, FoodiePrints

“The Great Canadian Cheese Discovery is a must do while in Ottawa. The class is a dinner party atmosphere, led by cheese sommelier Vanessa Simmons, who is openly fanatical about artisan cheeses.”Reb Stevenson Travel Writer, Toronto Star

 

 

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