DRINKWATER’S WINE CLUB
The newest brain-child from socialite #girlboss & magical moment maker, Rachelle Collette. Social, simple, a meeting of old friends and new gathered together to leisurely tour some locally sourced cheeses and exquisitely paired wines.
As a journalist with a petulant for good wine and well paired cheeses, I was curious what all the talk was about. I came in solo, and having arrived a few minutes early I was invited to sit in the lounge. If you are new to Sproat Lake Landing please take some time to orient yourself. Happily I made my way to the bar, ordered and Burrowing Owl, Pinot Gris. At Drinkwater’s wine is always served at perfect temperature. As I was sitting, I noticed people coming in two’s, three’s, couples & singles. The Wine & Cheese Club wasn’t what I expected, it was much less formal. There were a good mix of men and woman, different ages, and even a few fashionista‘s for good measure. Come dressed up, or down – the point, it is a social evening out.
Moving guests from the lounge into the Stirling Room, the event began.
Our host, Rachelle introduced us to the selection of wines of the evening, each Wine Club evening highlights a different selection of wines off the impressive Drinkwater’s wine list. If you have ever been curious about some of the higher-end bottles featured on the menu, the Wine Club is a creative way to experience them. You can pick your favorites and make note for your next dinner in.
We all then began the tour with some literature talking about some practical tasting tips, as well the menu of the evening with an area for notes – should you wish to make any. It was a delight to have the opportunity to try the wines and their pairings at my own speed. I was able to ask questions, and talk to my neighbors. We even had the opportunity to linger or go back and discover our favorites. The atmosphere was positive, friendly and engaging.
My biggest focus now is the Wine and Cheese Club; I am looking forward to collaborating with Blue Grouse Winery, Enrico Winery and Little Qualicum Cheeseworks on some upcoming Wine Club nights. – Rachelle Collette
Join us? The Wine Club meets every other Thursday.
LBH had a few minutes to chat with Rachelle after the meeting, and was given an inside look at all the wonderful things to celebrate this fall at Sproat Lake Landing, not to mention an inside look at what’s driving this moment making maven!
The Woman behind the Magic: Rachelle Collette
LBH: What moves you? What drives you to do what you do every day? Where does the spark come from?
RC: I consider myself to be a hospitalitarian. For some of us, it’s just in our blood and, there isn’t much we can do about it! I love food, I love wine and I get embarrassingly excited about glassware. I enjoy pushing and stretching creative ideas. Brainstorming with my team and coming up with fresh concepts that are just a bit more challenging, and a little crazier than the last ones. I don’t think there’s anything like the anxiety felt before tackling an event we think we can pull off, or the rush following a successful execution. The exciting thing about Drinkwaters is the fact that it is so new, being a defining part of the identity of Drinkwaters, and of Sproat lake Landing is so special. I think what really motivates me about this particular environment is the fact that every single colleague is excited and passionate. Everyone contributes and when you start picking each other’s brains and collaborating on new thoughts and projects it becomes this contagious cycle.
LBH: Let’s look back a little more. If you could step back in time and have a chat with your younger self: What advice would you give?
RC: Take some down time. I tend to get very excited about tackling new projects. I put my heart and soul into it, which is something I do really admire about myself, but it can also be detrimental. What I have to constantly remind myself of is that not everything needs to get done right this second. Prioritize and come up with a strategic way to execute a project. And for gods’ sake delegate!
LBH: What do you like to do outside of work?
RC: I like to run! We live in such a beautiful part of the world, I like taking my border collie out to beaver pond or stamp falls and running the trails. In the winter months I love going snowboarding, and am excited to re-explore Mt.Washington this year! The thing with the restaurant industry, is that sometimes, you need to force yourself to leave, get some air, and to think about something other than what wines will pair with our feature tonight!
LBH: Can you tell us about any exciting projects you have coming up? What are you most excited to create.
RC: Right now it’s the Wine and Cheese Club; my newest baby. There is nothing like it in the Alberni Valley, yet people LOVE wine! Its relaxed, its social and it’s delicious! Not to mention an excuse for me to sip on some fine wines and nibble on some local cheeses at work……Shh!
I am thrilled to have some island wineries come out and feature their wines at some of our upcoming events! I’ve also been speaking with one of the cheesemakers at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, and it looks like he will be coming out to one of our wine and cheese nights as well! I am really excited to see how the club grows and organically develops. It is the first time I have ever started something like this and I am so anxious to see where it takes us!
LBH: What are you known for?
RC: Well, if you asked my team, they would tell you wine. At the landing I am often sourcing out new products to bring in, or sharing some insight with colleagues about wines they’ve had or I’ve had. I spend a lot of time reading and studying regions and grape varietals and absolutely LOVE pairing wine and food.
However, if you asked my family and friends outside of the industry, they would probably tell you that I have a hard time bitting my tongue when I have something to say; another blessing and a curse! …..They might also say I have expensive taste!
LBH: What do you absolutely LOVE about yourself?
RC: I love that I am not afraid to express my ideas, but am still open minded about creativity and I do not get married to an idea. I love that some of my ideas are just awful, but they’re said anyways, because for every 5 bad ideas, an AMAZING one comes out. I am able to take a thought and run with it, without judging myself or others.
LBH: We finish the interview and you step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
RC: I immediately buy a first class ticket to France. I start in Paris to do some shopping, then up to Champagne where I indulge in some Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon. I pop over to Alsace and then into Burgundy where I tour and sample all the Grand Crus Vineyards. I’d spend some time along the Rhone Valley, and, on my way to Bordeaux, I’d take a pit stop in Barcelona….. and hey, why not pop over to Switzerland to do a bit of snowboarding too!
With holiday parties just around the corner this winter season; businesses, families, friends – Sproat Lake Landing and Drinkwater’s would be thrilled to have you as our guests. We have 3 options available for exclusive buyout purposes, the Stirling room (capacity 40), the Lounge (Capacity 75) and our entire restaurant (capacity 115). We will also be selling holiday gift baskets at Dellas! Contact Rachelle for more info.
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For any and all inquires about the Wine Club, the Pairing Dinners or any of the events coming up at Sproat Lake Landing:
Contact Rachelle Collette; Operations Manager. Food, Beverage and Events
10695 Lakeshore Road, Port Alberni BC V9Y 8Z8
(250) 723-2722 Ext. 104 Office +1 (250) 730-5554 Cell
Huge LBH Collective thank you to Rachelle for taking the time to chat with us. I am very much looking forward to the next Drinkwater’s Wine Pairing Dinner which will be featuring my favorite British Columbia wine maker, Jim Wyse of Burrowing Owl Vinyard. If you want to join me there, a few tickets are still available on the website.
words by | deanna Beaudoin