The Wine Shop surrounds its wide assortment of whites and reds with enthusiastic staff members and invites customers to sample, discuss, and educate themselves about fine wine. As up to 10 tasters at a time coat their tongues in the grapey goodness of premium rieslings, chardonnays, or pinot noirs, an experienced sommelier schools patrons on each wine's effect on palettes before teaching them the sacred sommelier samba. A charcuterie spread of meats, cheeses, nuts, and olives nestles against taste buds, intermingling solid and liquid flavours, creating a breadth of flavour profiles. Guests can socialize with fellow samplers and The Wine Shop's knowledgeable and experienced staff about the evening's rarer brands or chat with grapes about the weather via Morse code. The Wine Shop contributes portions of its proceeds to community charities such as The Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids.
Producing wine is a lot more complicated than grabbing a sack of grapes and a packet of yeast from the grocery store. Fortunately, Wine Kitz curates collections with all the necessary gear and ingredients, and hosts classes to equip would-be vintners with the requisite knowledge. The attention to detail also goes into their beer kits, which rely on grains cracked just before brewing to impart robust flavors to homebrewed lagers, stouts, and IPAs. A stock of accessories ensures proper enjoyment once brewing is complete, including aerators and cask-ready crazy straws.
Honoring the Italian tradition of the word, Enoteca—which literally translates to "wine repository"—allows visitors to browse, sample, and purchase more than a thousand wines from their impressive inventory. Not only are the shelves of Enoteca Liquor Store & Specialty Wines home to a vast selection of vinos, but also to more than 300 varieties of beers, an array of spirits, and at least one ghost. On hand to help educate and guide visitors, the staff of Enoteca lends their expertise while drinkers wander the many aisles to purchase single bottles, mixed cases, or even a membership to the wine club.
Staffed by a troupe of award-winning winemakers, The Vineyard equips vino enthusiasts with Winexpert’s World Vineyard varietal kits and wine-crafting gear. After customers explain their taste preferences, the staffs send discerning tongues on blind dates with refined, international grape varietals such as German muller and Italian barolo, and blends such as California trinity red. Before heading home to begin blending, new wine owners undergo a one-hour class with owner Tom Corbett, a certified Level 3 winemaker and accredited wine judge. Tom introduces students to each piece of home winemaking equipment and their kit’s ingredients and outlines the fermentation process from initial mixing to bottling to the wine’s awkward adolescent phase.
Founded in 1994 by former commercial airline pilot Paul Sass, The Home Vintner supplies connoisseurs and novices with an abundance of award-winning pours and do-it-yourself kits for individual winemaking and beer brewing. With Winexpert kits, at-home vino makers blend varietal juices from around the world that will be ready to drink or cellar in 4–8 weeks, depending on the kit. Alternatively, brewers dive into barley bubbles with Barons beer kits that contain measured ingredients to make a hoppy Canadian blond ale, an English-style redwood ale, and a crisp Dutch-style lager, among others.
During classes, the staff of certified wine- and beer-makers walks pupils through each step of the brewing and vintning process, such as carbon-dioxide removal, corking, storage, and determining each libation's year by monitoring its reaction to different Bon Jovi songs. Courses dispense both basics of production and new methodologies, so apprentices can discover new approaches and skills to try with their next batches.