Elevage Selections is a wine importing agency based in Manitoba, Canada focussing on wines from healthy vineyards made with a light touch in the cellar.
Élevage is a French word and has no direct equivalent in English. It literally means "rearing" or "raising" but in the world of wine has another meaning. Jancis Robinson says:
"It is the series of cellar operations between fermentation and bottling, suggesting that the winemaker's role is rather like that of a loving parent who guides, disciplines, and civilizes the raw young wine that emerges from the fermentation vessel. The word élevage implies that all this effort is worth it..."
We believe that wine, like other agricultural products comes from the earth. We hold it to the same high standards that we hold our food - like organic farming and minimal preservatives. We believe that grape growing should be good for our health and be environmentally sustainable and the vigneron that we work with feel the same way. In keeping with these ideas the wines we work with are made with the least possible use of chemicals, additives and technological interventions.
There are over 80 synthetic chemical additives permitted in winemaking today yet there is no ingredient list required for wine labels. These additives along with many modern winemaking techniques can change the way wine tastes. We think manipulation in the winery can erase individuality and Terroir and that industrialized winemaking processes can yield wines that taste the same regardless of the grape variety or region they come from. Some of these wines taste the same in every vintage with no mention that perhaps one year’s weather was different from the last. We believe that wine should taste different every year and that it should reflect the vineyard where the grapes were picked. We always ask ourselves what the wine has to say about the place it’s from, the grapes it’s made from and the people who made it. Its important to us that wines have something to say!
We like to work with small family-run wineries and understand the people behind the wine. The wines we focus on are farmed organically or Biodynamically (with or without certification), are low in preservatives like sulphites and the raw grape juice is fermented into wine with indigenous and natural yeast as opposed to yeasts that have been cultured in a lab. The fruit for these wines is typically picked by hand and the finished wine goes into bottle unfined, unfiltered and unadjusted.
The language we use to describe wine is important and the vigneron we work with are all extremely conscious of every decision they make in the vineyard and the cellar. We use the term “conscious wine” along with terms like “natural”, “real” and “honest” because we feel they encompass how these vigneron live. Our primary concern is that every bottle that we work with comes from a vineyard teeming with life and energy and is made by caring, passionate people. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Jesse and Peter
Jesse was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he worked in hospitality for many years, first in professional kitchens, then serving, pouring wine and organizing pop-up dinners and catering events across the city. In 2015 he founded Élevage Selections with Taylor Archibald after returning home from a mind-blowing trip to France and Spain. Jesse brought home a rucksack filled with some of Europe's best natural wines, which at the time were unavailable in Manitoba. The wines served as an inspiration to start an importing company together, though Taylor has now moved on to other ventures. Today Jesse lives in London, England where he managed the wine program at Terroirs Wine Bar before moving on to P Franco where he currently works. He travels through Europe and returns to Winnipeg whenever he has the opportunity.
Peter was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba and has been an unofficial member of the Élevage team since inception but joined officially in 2016. He discovered natural wine around the same time after travelling through Europe but was working as a superstar nightclub bartender at the time. After initial ambitions to be a landscape architect, he found his true passion in hospitality having worked in restaurants for many years. Today Peter is well regarded as one of the city’s top bartenders consulting on bar and wine programs across town and also runs a travelling wine bar called Endive. Aside from his passion for natural wine, Peter also feels very strongly about rap music.
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