Grape ex­pec­ta­tions

Wine NL un­corks tast­ing and ed­u­ca­tion club Con­cep­tion Bay South

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - FRONT PAGE - BY KENN OLIVER kenn.oliver@thetele­gram.com Twit­ter: ken­no­liver79

Jennifer Cooper re­cently launched Wine NL, a wine and spir­its tast­ing and ed­u­ca­tion club in Con­cep­tion

Bay South.

Let’s be hon­est: most of us, when pre­sented with a va­ri­ety of wine op­tions at a bar or restau­rant, choose the path of least re­sis­tance and those who choose some­thing ob­scure are likely em­bel­lish­ing their knowl­edge.

But it doesn’t have to be that way and Jennifer Cooper’s goal is to ed­u­cate peo­ple about wine in a way that makes it less in­tim­i­dat­ing and helps them break down the bar­ri­ers that keep peo­ple from be­ing adventurous.

“There’s noth­ing bet­ter than look­ing at a wine menu and know­ing what you’re or­der­ing or hav­ing an idea what these words mean,” says Cooper, founder of Wine NL, a new wine and spir­its ed­u­ca­tion ven­ture based in Con­cep­tion Bay South.

“In gen­eral, if you have no idea what you re­ally like or what these words mean, look­ing at a French wine la­bel is su­per in­tim­i­dat­ing and you’re go­ing to say ‘No, I’m go­ing to stick with my Cal­i­for­nia, it’s sim­ple, it says ex­actly what it is, the name of the win­ery, the name of grape va­ri­ety, sim­ple.”

Cooper ad­mits she’s not an ex­pert, but she does have both train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence in wine knowl­edge that goes be­yond just en­joy­ing a Chenin Blanc or a Mal­bec.

She’s com­pleted her level two in­ter­na­tional som­me­lier guild cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and pre­vi­ously op­er­ated the club with great suc­cess in Labrador City for two years prior to mov­ing to St. John’s for work last Oc­to­ber. “The ge­og­ra­phy of the land, soil, the cli­mate, the ter­roir, food pair­ings … I have an in­ter­est in that,” she says.

“I thought if I have some sort of an ed­u­ca­tion in it and I had pas­sion for it, why not make a club out of it and share that knowl­edge.”

Orig­i­nally, Cooper fig­ured the St. John’s mar­ket on wine clubs of­fer­ing ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses and tast­ings was cornered, but af­ter meet­ing with the Con­cep­tion Bay Area Cham­ber of Com­merce it was clear an op­por­tu­nity ex­isted.

“This is a per­fect busi­ness where it doesn’t over­lap with any other busi­ness in the com­mu­nity,” says cham­ber ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor John Smith.

“It cre­ates more rev­enue for the com­mu­nity. It cre­ates another ser­vice. It’s a win-win.” Cooper, with as­sis­tance from the cham­ber, will soon ac­quire a busi­ness li­cense, al­low­ing for more op­por­tu­ni­ties to com­mer­cial­ize the ser­vice through cor­po­rate or pri­vate events.

But they’ll also es­tab­lish a sep­a­rate wine club.

“Any­body who has an in­ter­est or wants to learn, we’ll be get­ting to­gether once a month and we’ll have a se­lec­tion of wines we’ll go over and learn some things through that.”

The two par­ties have teamed up for a wine tast­ing at Vio’s Bistro in C.B.S. on Tues­day, Sept. 19. De­tails are avail­able on the Cham­ber’s web­site cbacham­ber.com.

KENN OLIVER/THE TELE­GRAM Jennifer Cooper re­cently launched Wine NL, a wine and spir­its tast­ing and ed­u­ca­tion club in Con­cep­tion Bay South.

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