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Allison Vidug: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today's Notable Young Professional is Allison Vidug, who manages the wine program at Toronto's Shore Club restaurant. What was the inspiration for a career centred around fine grapes? Find out in today's profile

Today’s Notable Young Professional is Allison Vidug, who manages the wine program at Toronto’s Shore Club restaurant. What was the inspiration for a career centred around fine grapes? Find out in today’s profile…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell. 
I manage the wine program for The Shore Club in Toronto.  

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I was part of the opening team for The Shore Club. Opening a restaurant was a new experience for me and The Shore Club was the perfect opportunity. Management of the wine list evolved over time and now managing the list is my daily inspiration.  

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my job is sharing the wines I find for The Shore Club with guests and staff.  I get excited about the people and places that shape the delicious wines on the list. It is great to share the stories of special wines with guests and to inspire staff to do the same. The most challenging part can be the tedious office work, but it’s worth it. 

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Certain times of the year can be very busy for any business.  When I was working harvest in the Okanagan, I was putting in very long days processing grapes from before the sun came up to long after it went down. I was too busy to notice, but my family in Ontario was rather worried since they had not heard from me in weeks. It took a small injury at work for me to leave for a day to get some rest.  It’s important to keep some work/life balance even in the busiest of times. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself continuing to help build the business by managing the wine program at The Shore Club. I have been managing the list for over two years now and I still see so much potential and opportunities for the wine program. I would like to keep evolving myself by travelling so I can bring more experience and knowledge to the restaurant. 

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
One major challenge I had to overcome was myself. I spent a lot of time travelling, taking numerous wine courses and working many different roles in the industry. It took some time to slow down and recognize that I am very happy with my life and it is OK to enjoy it. It was a big shift from my early 20s to my late 20s. I am very glad to have finally found myself.  

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Happiness is success for me. Happiness at work for me is a combination of being proud of what I do as well as being recognized for my efforts by staff and guests. It feels great to know I’m doing a good job.     

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
A memorable milestone happened early in my career while I was still a student at Niagara College. I won the Spirits portion of The Wine Tasting Challenge in 2007. Winning provided me the opportunity to travel Scotland to tour distilleries. Winning also reassured me I was on the right career path and that my sensory skills to evaluate wine and spirits are in tune.  

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Put yourself out there. Connect with other professionals. In my industry that means attending wine tastings, seminars and social events. Social media such as Twitter and Instagram can be good tools, if used appropriately. The more familiar you become to other industry professionals, the more opportunities become available.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I’ve been enjoying a new restaurant in Parkdale called Small Town Food Co. My friends Cam and Steve opened the restaurant together. The wine list is small and simple, the menu is creative yet classic.  It’s a great spot to have a few delicious small plates. I also really enjoy going to Jacob’s & Co.  The service there is spot on.  

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I love spending my “me” time at home with my partner and my dog Teddy. It may be a quiet night in playing cards and drinking wine, or opening up my home to host family and friends for a dinner party.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
France. There is so much culture and history, not to mention all the delicious food and drink. It is amazing to visit the vineyards where so many of the world’s greatest wines are grown. I was there last winter to tour Burgundy and Champagne. I can’t wait to go back. 

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
We’re Here for a Good Time, Not a Long Time – Trooper

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I would probably be working at winery. I spent a lot of time living and working at wineries in Niagara, The Okanagan Valley and on Salt Spring Island in BC’s Gulf Islands.  I really enjoy spending time in Ontario’s Prince Edward County these days. There is a very deep connection to a product when you have spent time tending the vines, crushing the grapes and tasting the wine’s evolution into bottle. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I’m not personally invested in any charities. The Shore Club supports The Stop Community Food Center over the holidays.   truly believe in this program for the educational and sustainable aspects.   

What to you is notable?
Notable could be a product, person or event worth sharing with a community because of their unique value, talent or skill.

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