- Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m originally from Moncton, but my family now lives in Woodstock. I’ve spent most of my life within a stone’s throw of the ocean and I love the Maritimes. I used to play trumpet in a 12-piece funk band that my friends and I put together.
- Where did you come up with idea for Uncorked Tours and how did it evolve from an idea into a business?
Most great ideas are copied from somewhere else, and Uncorked Tours was no different. After touring wine regions and experiencing first-hand what it means to follow the grape from the vine to the glass, I knew I wanted to share something like that here in NB.
I was like most people and didn’t know what existed here for a wine industry, and I was surprised to find out that we already had 14 wineries operating in the province. I love the buy local movement and wanted to support the wine producers as well. The indicators were right, so it just made sense to enter the tourism industry with a portfolio of wine, beer and culinary tours.
- I enjoy wine, but I really don’t know much about it, which I assume is something you hear quite a bit. What is your one piece of advice for novice wine-tasters?
I would say try as much as you can. There is a huge world of wine out there, over 10,000 grape varietals (and counting) producing wine. Any opportunity you have to try something new is an opportunity to find your next favorite wine. Also, you’re not going to like everything, and that’s ok.
- The other thing I didn’t know before I hear of uncorked tours is that there are a number of vineyards in NB. What makes New Brunswick vineyards unique?
We have two main points of distinction. First is the caliber of the fruit wines that are being produced here in NB, we have some great apple, blueberry, raspberry, cranberry and strawberry wines. Second is our hybrid grapes, which allow grape vines to flourish here. We have new varietals being tested even now to find the best grapes to produce the best wines in NB. Wines you try here are only being grown and produced in the Maritimes.
- What has been your biggest learning experience as an entrepreneur? What is the one “I wish I’d known when I started up my business” piece of advice you could give to the aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
You have to fight for your idea. No matter how many people support you or say that you have a good idea, starting a business comes down to sweat equity. Even your biggest supporters will sometimes question why you’re continuing on. Find friends who are also entrepreneurs and share your problems, frustrations, and aspirations for your business.
- What has been your most memorable moment to date in your business?
There have been a few, but one that stands out is wining The Chamber’s Outstanding Business Award for Passion for Change which was a people’s choice award sponsored by CBC. I really wasn’t expecting to win, it was such a wonderful surprise!
- If you were a wine, what kind of wine would you be? Can you give me a brief description of your wine?
I would definitely be something bubbly, maybe a sparkling rosé. It’s bright, refreshing, crisp, good to look at, reminds you of summer and just makes you happy when you drink it.
- What is your favorite thing to pair with wine?
Cheese, and lots of it, maybe a little bit of bread and olive oil… but mostly cheese.
- I assume you’d like to do some wine touring of your own; what is your ultimate wine destination?
I can’t wait to visit Italy, and coastal France.
10. Where do you see Uncorked Tours in 5 years?
In 5 years I plan to be offering wine and beer tours to all of Eastern Canada including Ontario and Newfoundland. There is a huge opportunity for group travel, especially from Asian countries since they love our fruit and dessert wines.
11. Anything you’d like to add?
I had an absolute blast at your photo shoot. Thanks, Pam, for being so awesome!
Thanks Gillian for taking part in our blog series and we'd also like to thank Happiness Wine Bar for open up on a day they were closed so we could get some photos in their beautiful space!! (the first and last photos were taken there)
And as always - a huge thank you to Alicia Robichaud Photography for the great shots!
Thanks for reading! Hope you're all enjoying the summer!
All outfits from Heartbreak Boutique