If you’ve ever stopped by the cheese shop in Horwood’s Mall and found yourself wishing you could just nip around the corner for a full-bodied shiraz to go with your Stilton, you’re in luck.
Jeremie Matrishon is the owner of Corked, a new boutique shop selling fine wine, beer and spirits in a little alcove between Baked Cafe and Cultured Fine Cheese in the mall in downtown Whitehorse. The store opened on Nov. 15.
“I just want to bring the romance back into wine, into spirits, into beer,” Matrishon said. “The service, the personal service of being able to touch the bottles and look and browse and interact and talk about the product.”
Matrishon got the idea for his store six years ago, when he was visiting Nelson, B.C. He happened on a boutique wine shop and decided he’d love to do something similar in Whitehorse. Now, he’s decided the time is right.
His goal is to offer customers wines and beers they can’t find at the government liquor store. He’s been taking orders for products people can’t find elsewhere, and says he’ll special-order a case of the product through the liquor corporation, sell a couple of bottles to the customer who requested it, and stock the rest at Corked.
“There’s always products out there that you find when you’re travelling and you wish you could get back home,” he said. “(This makes it) pretty easy to get that cool bottle of wine that you had on this super romantic hillside with your partner or something. To recreate that at home or share that with friends is amazing.”
Corked seems poised to tap into the growing demand for specialty, boutique products in Whitehorse. Cultured Fine Cheese and the Gourmet — Fine Delicatessen have both opened in Horwood’s Mall in the last 18 months, and seem to be thriving.
“I think that people travel enough Outside that they want a little bit of what’s down south and we have the capacity here in Whitehorse to start providing that,” Matrishon said. “Horwood’s Mall is starting to become a true destination.”
He believes a store like Corked wouldn’t have taken off when he arrived in the Yukon twelve and a half years ago, but he thinks things have changed since then.
Matrishon said he’s had a “personal experience” with many of his products, and can give customers advice about pairing wines with different meals. He has his Level 1 certificate from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and aims to take more advanced courses next year.
And though he’s not yet a sommelier, he’s already got a lot of the lingo nailed down.
“It has this real forefront of blackberry that comes out,” he said of an Ancient Peaks merlot, selling for $43.95. “Then all of a sudden it works into like a splash of ground coffee. It’s like somebody throws a tiny bit of coffee into your mouth. Then it smooths out into all these rich earth mineral tones.”
Matrishon said the Ancient Peaks is his favourite wine in stock at the moment. Drinking it, he said, is a “body-shaking experience.” But he insists that Corked doesn’t just cater to those with deep pockets. He said most of his bottles will average between $20 and $25, and there will always be some priced as low as $17. He believes his prices are compatible with other offsales in town.
He pointed to a white wine from Red Rooster and a red from Raven, both B.C. wineries, as more affordable options. Both are selling for less than $22.
“I think there’s going to be something for everybody,” he said.
Corked is also selling beer and cider, including local products from Yukon Brewing and Winterlong Brewing Co. There are also various spirits on sale, including Yukon Shine vodka and assorted whiskeys and gins.
Matrishon has also ordered some festive goodies, including holiday gift crates from Whistler Brewing Co. and a few bottles of Dom Perignon champagne.
After the holiday rush, he’s planning to hold a grand opening at Baked.
But for now, he said, his focus is on keeping the shelves stocked and customers happy. As his company’s sole employee, that means he’s currently putting in 60 to 70 hours a week, but he insists the work is fun.
“This is a total dream of mine, right? I totally want this,” he said. “And I just love to please people.”
Corked will be open seven days a week in Horwood’s Mall, starting at 11 a.m. More information can be found at corkedwhitehorse.com.
Contact Maura Forrest at firstname.lastname@example.org