“When people ask me about pairing foods and wines, I always say the most important thing to aim for is balance. When all the flavours come together—that perfect blend of everything—it’s like velvet in a glass.”
Smart Serve certified
Accredited Sommelier, Algonquin College – Ottawa
Q: What unique talents do you bring to the Savvy team?
A: Well, I love to talk and I really like wine! [laughs] Seriously, I love getting up in front of a group of people and sharing what I know about a subject I have real passion for—like wine! I also like connecting with people. I was a nurse and worked in a school for kids with special needs before I became a sommelier, and that caring background comes into play here, too. Savvy Company is about bringing people together to discover wine, artisan cheese or even craft beers—that is what our business is all about.
Q: What inspires your passion for wine?
A: To me there’s nothing like finding that perfect pairing of wine and food. It’s beyond chemistry—it’s alchemy. It’s like magic. I love finding the perfect balance, that beautiful blend of acid and tannins that swirls around and tantalizes your palate and creates sensations so powerful they become memories.
Q: What’s maybe the strangest but most successful wine/food pairing you’ve encountered?
A: That’s an easy one. I was at a food and wine festival in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley where there was a very spicy, cilantro-filled quinoa salad served in nacho scoops—and they paired it with an ice wine! I have to admit I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I tried it and was absolutely amazed. The intense spiciness in the salad was beautifully balanced by the sweetness of the wine. They worked together because they were such opposites. It seemed bizarre at first but was really, really wonderful.
Q: What’s different about the Savvy experience for people who want to learn about wine?
A: It’s comfortable. There’s nothing formal or stuffy in the things we do at Savvy Company. You get great information—real knowledge about the wines, or the craft beers, or the artisan cheeses, or whatever it is we’re sharing on that particular occasion. We take the snobbery out of the equation. I love that we break down those barriers. More and more vineyards are being tongue-in-cheek with their wine labels. Like them, we’re letting people know wine doesn’t have to be serious. Learning should be about discovery—and discovery should be fun.
Cathy’s Wine & Food Tips Wine tips and aphorisms
Some people say wine is one of the world’s ancient pleasures. I prefer to call it timeless.
Exploration takes an open mind: never be afraid to try something new!
Never confuse ‘expensive’ and ‘good’: some of the best wines, beers and spirits are reasonably priced.
Wine is chemistry. Wine is art. And finding the perfect pairing is magical.
When you pair wine and food and all the flavours come together, it’s perfect—like velvet in a glass.