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Lakefield native offers greater choice for wine consumers

by Rory Gilfillan

Author Tom Robbins, once wrote that choice is the word that opens a window after the last door has been closed and while inter-provincial trade barriers remain in place, the recent passage of Bill C-311 has created an opportunity that 38-year old Lakefield native Heath Sterling is betting will provide greater choice for Canadian wine consumers. My Wine Canada is a web-based business that capitalizes on recent changes in the law that now permit direct shipping of wine and spirits to consumers across the country.

My Wine Canada acts as intermediary connecting Canada’s burgeoning wineries with customers across the nation but for Sterling it’s as much about the opportunity as it is about combining his passion for wine with his small business savvy.

“I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and I recognized that this opportunity was a great fit”, says Sterling.

Working together with a number of wine experts including co-founder and certified wine steward Jackie McLachlan and enlisting the services of Canada Post and Federal Express, My Wine Canada offers a variety of Canadian wines that once ordered can be delivered to customers often within a day or two of transaction.

“The price range is from 11 dollars to some wines costing over 100 dollars but most wines ordered are in the 18 to 25 dollar range”, states Sterling.

It’s an enterprise whose impact is beginning to be felt by wineries from coast to coast.

Bruce Ewart, owner of L’Acadie Winery in Nova Scotia, characterizes the relationship with My Wine Canada as being a positive one that has particularly benefitted small Canadian wineries that might not produce the volume to acquire shelf space within provincial liquor outlets.

“Getting national exposure and a really slick web platform has been great for our winery”, states Ewart.

Sterling agrees, believing that My Wine Canada has benefitted both the supplier and the customer.

“I enjoy working with small business. It’s great to hear how much they care about their product”, he says but like any start-up the early going is not, Sterling admits, without its challenges.

“There is the added complexity of dealing with liquor regulations, understanding the technological components of the website while providing top notch service to wineries and customers alike. It’s important to be well-rounded”, adds Sterling.

Although it is still the early going for My Wine Canada one winery owner has already felt the impact of Stirling’s operation.

L’Acadie owner Ewart laughs, “I’ve sure been making a whole lot more trips to Canada Post recently”.

My Wine Canada can be found at mywinecanada.com.

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