Leading trade personality to head up HQ Wine & Spirits as vice president sales and marketing
A True Trade Figure
Lesley has become a key figure in the Canadian wine trade and over the past 18 years has richly contributed to building a culture of sharing, educating, promoting, and nurturing rising stars in both the restaurant and wine industries. She has been behind the market launch of many successful wine brands from old world and emerging markets and, closer to home, from the Okanagan Valley. If there is a food or wine event or activity at play, Lesley can typically be found at the center of it.
“It’s a daunting task to replace yourself and set your team up with a bold new leader, someone who can thrive in our dynamic corporate culture,” noted Okanagan Crush Pad owner Christine Coletta. “Someone you have confidence in to drive your business forward over the next decade,” she continues.
“If anyone can pick up the ‘getting things done’ gauntlet that I am laying down, it’s Lesley,” Coletta notes.
“Her role will allow me to focus on other areas of our growing business. My team is very important to me, they do an incredible job, and I know they will be in the best of hands.”
Lesley Brown’s Journey
Born and raised in Montreal, Lesley developed a love of food at an early age, which afforded her an easy transition into the wine world. She relocated to western Canada in the 1990s and began a journey into hospitality and fine dining. After receiving her Diploma in Tourism Management, she continued her career progression with an international hotel, while also pursuing her formal wine education.
In 2001, Lesley relocated to Victoria, BC where she joined a sales agency and became a passionate champion for the BC wine industry. That same year she graduated with her International Sommelier Diploma and then transitioned into doing what she loves: educating others as an instructor with the International Sommelier Guild from 2004-2012.
Lesley relocated to Vancouver in 2012 where she continues to be an integral part of the BC wine industry. In addition to her previous role as BC sales manager for a wine agency, Lesley is actively involved in the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) as president of CAPS BC and Vice President of the CAPS National Board. She also serves as a board member for the Import Spirit & Vintners Association as well as an industry advisor for the BC Hospitality Foundation and serves on the planning committee for the Vancouver International Wine Festival.
Following her passion and thirst for further wine knowledge, Lesley traveled to many wine regions, including France, Italy, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Spain, and Portugal where she has trained at internationally renowned and historic wineries.
"I am very excited to join Okanagan Crush Pad to lead the wonderful HQ Wine & Spirits team,” Lesley enthuses.
“Following the great precedent for excellence set by Christine, I look forward to working with this dynamic group, and together, growing and developing the business moving forward. I am honoured and inspired to move into this position,” she continues, “this new, exciting chapter of my career, in an industry I love, with such an amazing company. I can't wait to get started!"
Lesley officially starts on July 2nd. HQ Wine + Spirits customers can expect to hear directly from Lesley in the coming days as she settles into her new role.
About HQ Wine & Spirits
HQ Wine + Spirits is founded on a long history of friendship; a mutual respect for land and wines that articulate “place;” a love of music and admiration for one-another’s accomplishments. When friends come together in this fashion, business flows naturally and easily.
The journey began in 2005 when David Scholefield convinced the team of Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie to plant a small vineyard in Summerland, an idyllic town in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada.
David had a vision for the Okanagan, a young wine region that was trying to find its soul. Christine and Steve, who have a well-earned reputation of making projects come to life, began putting his plan in place. David convinced Alberto Antonini and Pedro Parra to come to the Okanagan and with their arrival, conventional thinking went out the window.
A new plan to push the envelope took center stage. Today, the enterprise owns 400 acres of land (125 acres planted to grapes), Okanagan Crush Pad (a 45,000 case state-of-the-art winery), and three established wine brands Haywire (2010), Narrative (2014) and Free Form (2018).
Since 2015, the team has managed its own sales, building a passionate and dedicated team. HQ Wine & Spirits now offers exciting wines from like-minded producers scattered around the world. It was a natural step for Pedro and Alberto to join the portfolio and allow HQ to represent their wines.
And, of course, New Zealanders Erica and Kim of Loveblock fame were also top of mind. The HQ Wine & Spirits portfolio is being built slowly and thoughtfully to include interesting new wines from territories far and near. Please stay tuned as this dynamic agency continues to grow.