The Earls restaurant chain, based in western Canada, now offers a menu item from Nova Scotia.
As of this week, 22 Earls locations in Alberta, B.C. and Manitoba and the King Street West location in Toronto have added to their wine list the non-vintage Brut from Benjamin Bridge, and will sell it by the glass.
“Their sommelier, David Stansfield, is really revising the Earls wine program in all of their North American locations with a real focus on local products in B.C. and Ontario, and then looking for interesting wines with natural practices behind them,” Ashley McConnell-Gordon of Benjamin Bridge said.
Stansfield and Benjamin Bridge winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslauriers met last year in Vancouver for a tasting.
“They tasted the non-vintage at David’s request,” McConnell-Gordon said. “From there, I met with him in Calgary and we finalized the listing. It’s rolling out now and, as I understand it, the new menus have been issued.”
Deslauriers will go on a tour of western Canada to talk to staff at Earls restaurants about the wine, which is a blend of various sparkling wines from as far back as 2002.
Benjamin Bridge is represented by different agents in Ontario and western Canada, so the exact value of the deal hasn’t been nailed down, but McConnell-Gordon said the chain anticipates selling about a case per week at each location. That would amount to approximately 1,200 cases per year.
The non-vintage Brut is the same product offered on WestJet’s Dreamliner fleet.
“We are fortunate in that the non-vintage is a product that we have been able to expand because of our library of wines and our history as a sparkling wine house,” McConnell-Gordon said. “If there’s any product that can withstand some demand pressures, it’s the non-vintage.”
The wine retails for $27.98 in Nova Scotia and $32.95 in Ontario, where it’s much harder to find. At Earls it will sell for $14 a glass.
“For the price point, where it lands on the menu, it’s quite a steal, really, around $14 a glass,” said McConnell-Gordon. “For me, the message is that we produce something unique and distinct but it’s on par with what they’ve had previously on the menu, which are Champagnes by the bottle. “