With a busy season ahead Traynor is excited to welcome Sophie Barber to the team! She is a master of all trades and chances are you will see her working behind the scenes, but also a smiling face on our patio pouring you wine this summer.
As a local to Prince Edward County, she brings a breadth of knowledge about the region and what makes it so special. We had a chance to catch up with her quickly between tasks so that you can get to know her before your next visit to the winery.
What is your background in hospitality?
SB: You could say I was already in the hospitality business, but maybe not in the traditional sense — I used to work in various museums around the County, greeting visitors and always sharing the history of the area, as well as what there is to do. After I graduated, working at a winery seemed like the logical next step as I watched the wine region continue to grow. It also allows me to stay rooted in the community.
What is your role at Traynor and what does a typical day look like?
SB: Every day I show up is completely different, which is what makes the job so fun. Any job that can be done, will be done by anyone on the team, so chances are anything you see being done on the vineyard or in the winery, I have done it, or have been a participant in it. Anything from bottling, weeding, helping with harvest, serving guests, and updating the website — just helping to get the work done!
What brought you to the County?
SB: I was born and raised in the County — my family is fifth generation in Prince Edward County, so we have been here a very long time. My Mom is an artist here – I grew up in a house that was half home and half art gallery. Growing up that’s all I wanted to do. I went to university for fine art and my own process is completely traditional — pencil on paper, acrylic on canvas. Prince Edward County is such a place of inspiration and a hub of creativity.
How did you and Mike Traynor meet?
SB: I was working at a greenhouse last April in Belleville, and I knew I wanted to be back in the County, so I began researching wineries that were highly rated and doing interesting things. From there I of course came upon Traynor and contacted Josh and got an interview. From there I got to meet Mike and we got talking about wine. Traynor stood out to me because there is so much experimentation being done here and free from traditions. It is a fresh take on a traditional and typically gated industry, and exciting to see it being done in the County. It is always rewarding working somewhere, where their philosophies reflect those, you have in your own personal life. Out of the box thinking – that’s what I like about Traynor.
What do you think makes PEC so unique in the world of wine?
SB: I think it is a combination of everything – the County is a small place and the wineries who are here have to be innovative and just make it happen. There is lots of unique stuff happening all around the area, and the County is a busy place full of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers in wine, food, art and more. It’s a place of inspiration.
What’s your favourite Traynor wine?
SB: Currently, the Green Meanie Pét Nat. The first sip blew me away. It tasted exactly like green apples. It’s fun, bubbly, and easy to drink. I bet it will be a top seller this summer on the patio.
What’s your favourite food and wine pairing?
SB: Sometimes when I come home from work, I make this creamy mushroom pasta, with a little bit of bacon in it. It’s a lot of cream and dairy, but that’s what makes it so delicious. I love to have it with a glass of Traynor Riesling. Our Riesling is acidic and dry, so it cuts through the creaminess and fat. It is the perfect combination.
Any advice for those looking to go into the wine industry?
SB: Be open to try anything. Be ready to get dirty and try any job possible to learn. Stay excited to do whatever is thrown at you and ask questions along the way.
For real time updates, including best times to visit the winery and chat with Corrina be sure to check the winery out on social media @traynorvineyard.