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 as food - like organic farming and minimal preservatives. We believe that grape growing should be good for our health and be environmentally sustainable and the winemakers, winegrowers and vigneron we work with feel the same way. In keeping with these ideas the wines we import 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 believe that 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 from 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 our wines have something to say!
We like to work with small family-run wineries and we do our best to get to know 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 the bottle unfined, unfiltered and unadjusted.
The language we use to describe wine is important and the vigneron we work with are 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 focus and concern is that every bottle of wine that we import is delicious but that is also 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 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 for the two to taste. Through the wines they were inspired to start an importing company although Taylor has now moved on to other ventures. Jesse has recently finished up a two year stint in London, England where he completed his WSET Diploma and managed the wine program at Terroirs Wine Bar for some time before working at P Franco. He currently lives in France.
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 runs a travelling wine bar called Endive and also works at Winnipeg’s first natural wine bar, The Oxbow. Aside from his passion for natural wine, Peter also feels very strongly about rap music.
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