Prior to joining the amazing team at CO-OP as a Sommelier Coordinator, Karen spent two years working at Cork Fine Wine as well as working for Crowfoot Wine as their Wine Manager/Buyer. Karen has gone through Level 1, Level 2 and the diploma program of the ISG and Level 2 and Level 3 of the WSET. She holds her Provence Masters through the French Wine Society and is currently working towards completing her Champagne Masters through the French Wine Society.
Karen’s most memorable wine experience was when she first got a wine and food pairing right, “It kind of happened by accident but it was truly magical. It was the Marnier Pineau des Charentes paired with a goat cheese and honey on top of a toasted baguette. The pairing was perfect and totally put into perspective how wine and food were meant to go together.”
Her go-to, every day wine is completely seasonal. In warmer months, she prefers refreshing, higher acid, leaner styles, like Pinot Noir or Southern France Rose. For winter, it’s all about the “meaty” Syrah, and for white, “nothing beats a savory, buttery, quality Chardonnay.” If she was forced to one wine destination for the rest of her life, it would be Chile, “This is a region that offers great value with amazing quality. There is also a wide range of varieties that can be grown in this region as well as styles.”
For Karen, the history of wine is what makes her so curious about it. “There is so much behind the vine that makes it special. The fact that wine has been a part of history, celebration, trade, wars and still is an important part of everyday life today amazes me.”
She loves to share her passion for wine with CO-OP members, her favourite part of her job is to educate and excite members about new varieties and styles. She knows wine can be intimidating, but she loves helping people try new wines and have new wine experiences, “we are not here to judge people we are here to give them a memorable experience that makes them excited to come back and learn and try new things.” She wants to teach members that wine is a total experience, “Every bottle has a story. Some are short and sweet but some are sequels and you can’t wait until the next one comes out!” And if bubbles are what you long for, Karen is the somm to talk to! It’s one of her areas of expertise.