Eric Southward – Sommelier at Midtown Co-op Wine, Spirits and Beer


How I ended up in the best job in the world

Eric Southland bio panel 2019It began on my honeymoon. I had just completed a degree in English lit and Kinesiology at UBC (the plan was to become an English and Phys. Ed teacher). We were on our honeymoon at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, splurging on a meal in the Banffshire room and being served by a sommelier. I had always loved food and wine, so discovering I could do it for a living! Well, my career plans changed over the course of one meal. I earned my Sommelier Diploma and then spent over a decade in the wine industry before joining Co-op.

My favourite thing about being a sommelier

I believe in the magic of food and the power it has to connect people, and wine is an integral part of the magic. Wine makes anything better, and the right wine can really amplify the experience. I love helping people find that right wine, and then having them return to tell me how much they enjoyed it.

The next big thing in wine

Watch for a fresh wave of Gamay, the grape that made the Beaujolais region of France famous. It’s silky, with low bitterness and lower alcohol, like a Pinot Noir without the funk. Regions around the world are producing some amazing Gamay wines that are inexpensive and quite refreshing.

One thing I wish everyone knew about wine

Everyone has certain foods they like, yet they are always willing to try new foods. Try treating wine the same way. Wine has an endless variety of textures and flavours. By all means have your favourites, but be open minded about all the other opportunities. As a sommelier, I can help you find many other wines that fit into your comfort zone, so you can try new things without risk.

It is my pleasure to help you explore the unknown, because that’s where great value and new experiences can be found. Understanding your flavor profile, and then applying that profile to options in Spain or Portugal or Greece for example, will provide many delicious alternatives.