Who’s walking around in Poppy Barley shoes? Here, we spend 5 minutes with our customers to find out who they are and what they do.
Sasha McCauley, Edmonton
Wine and Spirits Sales Rep
POPPY BARLEY STYLE(S) YOU OWN
What do you do for a living?I work as a sales representative: I sell wine and spirits business to business, to retailers and restaurants.
How did you get into this line of work?I feel in love with wine during university while working at a restaurant in Victoria called Herald St Caffe. Greg Hays (now owns Café Brio in Victoria) was generous with his knowledge and love of wine, which sparked a passion in me. Lots of wine seminars, courses (including my ISG Sommelier certification), work in the business, and general consumption later, here I am.
Describe your typical day. (How do you work 60hrs/week, keep up with your husband and two sons, and stay involved in the community?)My average day usually starts with me at my computer by 8 in the morning and depending on when my first appointment is, I head out from there to see my accounts. If I don’t have an event or anything going on in the evening, I am usually done by 6-6:30. Shows, dinners, seminars contribute to 14-15 hour days, and long weeks. Typically my work week is Monday to Friday, and I try to keep Saturday work commitments down, but in our business they are unavoidable. I have a home office, which is great as it allows me to work from home if needed. Kelly and I balance kids and house as best we can, lots of "how does your week look" conversations. Our boys are 15 and 16, so they are able to help out around the house, get themselves to and from school and all those good things. I work more now than when they were younger, when the priority was to be home for them. We have dinner later, as we like to eat as a family. It takes effort to keep it all together, but we prioritize time as family over going out, and some weeks are easier than others. And wine is always the answer.
Tell us about YEG Women In Wine.YEG Women in Wine is a professional, non-profit association for women working in the wine business (everything from retail, restaurants, sales, marketing etc.), or who may want to be in the wine business. Wine professionals who have come together to empower women to realize the full potential of a career in the wine business through education, networking and mentorship. Fundraising, community activity, and giving back, are also part of our mandate. This year we helped give two scholarships to the Court of Master Sommeliers course that ran in July, and we would like to be in a position to give more scholarships away. Our group is in its infancy, there are similar groups around the world. To learn more go here or email email@example.com
Please list your favourite wines under $15, under $30, under $50 and under $100.
Under $15: I tend to look toward regions like Chili, Sicily, and Southern Italy, for wines that are made cleanly, without manipulation and show good characteristics. Chilean wines are seriously overlooked, many are great quality for the price point, and affordable Organics: look for labels like Emiliana Natura Organic Vineyards or Cono Sur Organics. Under $30: Cabernet Franc, one of my favorite grape varieties, outshined by its progeny Cabernet Sauvignon (other parent is Sauvignon Blanc), one of the classic grapes of Bordeaux. I had some great single variety examples of Cab Franc in Argentina that where killer, I’ll be excited when they start showing up on our shelves here. You can get wonderful examples from Chinon, in the Loire Valley in France, and I think Can Franc from BC are some of the best I’ve ever had. If you are in BC find/visit Fairview Cellars for Bill’s Cab Franc--seriously delicious. My other recommendation is Tinhorn Creek’s Cab Franc; I’ve used it at a Women in Wine event, it is great with a variety of foods, delicious, complex and available outside of BC. Sandra Oldfield is the CEO, a dynamic, incredible, leader in our business, she is awesome. Follow her on twitter - and #GetABackBone is the hashtag for Cab Franc that Sandra has championed. Under $50: Riesling is often referred to as the King of Grapes. #TeamRiesling is the hashtag on twitter to show your love for Riesling. Stylistically, Riesling goes from bone dry to ice wine sweet and it is made as still wine and as sparkling wine, and made all over the world. There are elegant dry versions being made in Edna Valley in Australia, gorgeous dry to sweet versions from BC, and incredible wines from Germany. German Rieslings are amazing: racy acidity, generous fruit, honey, petroleum notes, complex, interesting wines. DeVine Wines on 104 St. in Edmonton has the best selection in Western Canada of German Riesling. Go in with a $50 budget and they’ll send you home with something special. Under $100: Pinot Noir, the heartbreak grape. When made well, truly elegant, expressive wonderful wines. Burgundy, Russian River Valley in California (Paul Hobbs is one of my favorite) and Champagne. Yes, Champagne. One of the three main grapes of Champagne, along with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir is found in Brut Champagnes, Blanc de Noir (white wine made from red grapes) and Rose Champagnes. Louis Roederer Vintage Rose 2008 is my current Champagne crush.
What's your all-time favourite wine?Picking an all-time favourite wine is a hard question. For me, the bottles that stand out are wines drunk with friends, or incredible meals, or in vineyards; it is about something more than just the beverage consumed, it includes the whole picture: Porter Creek Pinot Noir with Kelly, on the date that we haven’t looked back from, Chardy Party on the deck with my girls, Sparkling Torrontes on a hill in Argentina under the sun with the scent of wild Jasmine in the air. These are but a few examples of wines that are part of a long (I am very blessed) long list of favourites, of why I love wine. If I had to pick a favourite type: Champagne. If I could only drink one wine for the rest of my life, that would be it.
We've tried the Tito's Vodka punch recipe below and it is AMAZING. What type of event would you recommend serving this at?
A punch recipe is great to use at an event or party--any group situation, really. You can prep it up in advance, having to maintain it as needed. For the host, this is fantastic as it frees you up to chat with your guests and attend to other needs. Coming into the holiday season, and party planning, punch recipes are good to use. Have fun with them, mix up the flavors for easy entertaining.
For the Punch:
1 750ml bottle Tito’s Vodka 1 750ml bottle sparkling wine 1.5L Lemonade 1 cup ginger syrup (recipe below) 4 fresh limes squeezed 2 fresh limes sliced round for garnish Generous handful fresh mint ¼ cup sugar ice
- Wash fresh mint and limes
- Remove mint from steam, tear leaves into small pieces, put in punch bowl
- Add sugar to mint, muddle until mint is well broken up and sugar has dissolved
- Add vodka to mint and sugar mixture, let stand for 1 hr (can be done one day in advance, store vodka in fridge overnight)
- Add to punch bowl- ginger syrup, lime juice, lime rounds, and lemonade.
- Add ice to bowl (approximately one ice)
- Top with bottle of sparkling lime
For the Ginger Syrup:
2 parts water 1 part sugar 1 part sliced ginger (2 cups to 1 cup to 1 cup)
- In pot on stove, bring to boil water, sugar and ginger, stirring to keep from sticking to bottom
- Reduce heat, simmer for 1 hour until reduced
- Stirring occasionally
- Line sieve with damp cheese cloth, strain syrup through into jar
- Store in fridge
- Make ahead Ginger Syrup and (optional) Vodka mint steps.
You can easily modify the recipe for a Spiced Cranberry version
- Substitute the lemonade for Cranberry juice (if you use an unsweetened juice you may need to increase your sugar)
- Substitute the mint for frozen cranberries
- Add a couple of cloves, and a couple of pink peppercorns to the ginger when making the syrup