It’s a word that seems to be on everyone’s lips. From the office lunchroom to Facebook posts to doctors’ offices. Whether the discussion centres around after-work stress release, a girls’ night out, a quiet night in, a family gathering, a magnificent vacation, it’s a word that always seems to be part of the story. Wine.
And right here in Bolton we have a tale of 2 sisters who like nothing better than to bring you that wonderful wine experience, at just a fraction of the cost. Vera and Candice have melded their skills and succeeded in creating a viable option for stocking your wine cellar, or rack, as the case may be.
“Until 12 years ago I didn’t even like wine” laughs Vera. “Everyone including family encouraged me to try it but I didn’t even like the aroma. Finally my good friend Brenda persuaded me to have a fruit wine with sparkling water and my love for wine grew from there”.
Vera and her sister Candice are both long-time single moms and running a business has been no small feat. For Vera, in fact, it has meant double duty, as she still runs a cleaning service that she started almost 30 years ago.
Candice, on the other hand, had sold her shares in a logistics company many years ago and had been working part-time in a wine store in Oakville just for fun.
One day Vera, with her newfound interest in wine, was bottling at Stillo’s Wine Making and Giftware in Bolton when the owner confided she was thinking of selling. Vera and Candice talked it over and, along with a third partner, they purchased what was to become The Naked Vine. That third partner became ill and had to bow out. But Vera and Candice wrestled the business into the successful venture it is today.
“It really was difficult especially in the beginning” admits Vera. “But family were very supportive and helped us with renovations like taking down one wall and building shelving.”
“Some nights we would be here until midnight and then I would be up early to go clean houses. Candice and I have different strengths. Candice’s expertise centres on production and inventory, keeping stock fresh and staying on top of the trends and market innovations. My strengths are in branding, marketing and sales.”
With their passion and combined strengths the brew-on-premise operation grew and so did the extensive giftware, gourmet tools and condiments collection. The Naked Vine carries a wide variety of wine-related gifts as well as Brix Chocolate, Wildly Delicious Sauces, infused olive oils, Himalayan Sea Salt, Hot Mama Gourmet Jellies, and Wine Straws (so you can drink red and smile white).
And as the business grew so did requests from the community for help or assistance. Vera, recipient of a Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012, says it’s always a pleasure to be able to give back, and they do it with pride for organizations like COPE, Home James, DARE, and Caledon Meals on Wheels for example.
Back to the topic of handcrafted wines Vera goes on “I think initially many people chose to make their own wine for the cost savings. You can make a bottle of wine for as little as $3.50. Even our most expensive wines like Barolo and Amarone are under $9.00. But I think the motivation has changed over time. These wines have up to 75% less sulphites than commercial wines. That’s a big health benefit in my opinion.”
I think I’ll drink to that.
Visit Vera and Candice at The Naked Vine at 12612 Hwy 50 (the MacDonald’s Plaza) in Bolton
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