Karen Crippen – Sommelier at Beddington Co-op Wine, Spirits and Beer


How I ended up in the best job in the world

Karen Crippen, SommelierMy wonderful life as a Sommelier began after I decided my long and very successful career in retail had become a bit like Groundhog Day—predictable. I had always loved the world of wine. There seemed to be a romance and no matter what language you speak, a glass of wine needs no translation to communicate. So after careful consideration and support from a wonderful husband I decided to follow my love of wine. My thirst for knowledge has earned me a Sommelier designation as well as a Masters in Champagne, Masters in Provence, Masters in Whisky and I am currently working on my Masters in the Rhone.

My favourite thing about being a sommelier

I really like how total strangers can come together through a shared love of wine. It begins when people enter the store looking for advice on a selection. I get to know them as we share information about favorite regions and wines. Often they return for classes, or become part of the Vin Bin program, truly a personalized program where we select wines and spirits for our guests based on their preferences and interests. I have grown with them over the years and I consider each member family. I’ve even attended baby showers, birthdays and weddings of members in the program!

The next big thing in wine

Climate change is having a huge impact on wine. Most grape varieties have a narrow climate band where they thrive. Once these grapes are exposed to different conditions, the nature of the wine they produce can change.  Alcohol content, sweetness, and flavour profiles are all impacted.

One thing I wish everyone knew about wine

Rules are not set in stone. The vast world of wine has countless exceptions to every rule. For example, many people love sweet Rieslings, but there are many delicious dry Rieslings to be discovered and enjoyed. When it comes to wine, spirits and beer, a thirst for knowledge is a wonderful thing. You can spend a lifetime exploring and never get bored or disappointed. My job is to help you navigate the ever-changing world of wine and spirits.