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William Mancini, Product Consultant at the LCBO on Bloor Street West in Toronto, wins 2014 VQA Promoter of the Year. April 2014

VQA Promoter of the Year

LCBO’s William Mancini named one of six winners of the 2014 VQA Promoter of the Year Award from the Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute.

(APRIL 2014)—When William Mancini is invited to a dinner party by a friend or relative, he always brings a bottle of Ontario wine with him.

“I’ve always been a big believer in buying local,” says William, a product consultant at the LCBO store in Toronto’s The Kingsway neighbourhood. “That goes back to before I knew much about wine.”

It’s hard to believe there was a time that William, who was one of six winners of the 2014 VQA Promoter of the Year Award from the Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute at Brock University, knew little about wine. But he can actually thank his previous career in the photography industry for introducing him to the world of Ontario wine and helping him chart a new career path.

“I remember in 1993, when I was working at Polaroid, a meeting was held in Niagara-on-the-Lake. They took us to a couple of wineries as well,” he says. “I was really struck by the enthusiasm of the winemakers we met with at both Hillebrand and Henry of Pelham. The experience always stayed with me.”

When his previous employer, Polaroid, succumbed to the digital photography revolution, it was time for William to change industries. With his visit to Ontario wine country top-of-mind, he applied for a job at the LCBO and was hired.

“After joining the LCBO, I started tasting great international wines along with great Ontario wines. I started realizing we make great wines in Ontario. The more I learned, the more impressed I was with the quality of the wine and the industry itself. It was amazing to see an industry growing for a change instead of shrinking,” William explains.

He is thankful to his former manager, Alan Zulianello, former district manager, Myron Tymochko, and colleagues Tim Caney and Joe Gentille, who recognized his potential and encouraged him to develop his palate and career. William has been a product consultant since May 2008. This year marks his 11th anniversary with the LCBO.

Sean Brown, manager, District 12, says it’s no coincidence that every store William has worked at is strong in Ontario wine sales. “He makes me very proud on each and every visit to the store with his passion for Ontario wines, Sean says. “There really is no better champion for VQA than William.”

William often performs orientations for new product consultants and conducts tutored tastings, and he always picks Ontario wines. While VINTAGES has great products from France, Italy and California, he always steers customers to Ontario.

“I get very little resistance from customers regarding Ontario wines,” he says. “In fact, many people are coming into the store looking for wines from Ontario. It’s great to see.”

Some of his favourite Ontario wines on the shelf these days include: G. Marquis Pinot Noir, Featherstone Merlot, and Rosewood Pinot Noir.

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