When Dianne Fisher was a kid, she loved scratch and sniff stickers. It makes a little bit of sense, then, why she eventually found her calling as a sommelier.
Her story starts in Waterloo, ON, where she was born and raised. Formerly a residential real estate agent, Dianne started taking courses in wine just to enhance her experience and became completely engrossed. She started commuting to Toronto to take a wine specialist program, and after she handed in her exam, Dianne’s instructor said, “you know, you should really become a sommelier.”
The idea started to percolate, and Dianne began to think more seriously about making the leap into the wine world. In 2010, she embarked on what she refers to as her “eat pray love” trip, travelling to New Zealand to work on Kim Crawford Winery’s winemaking team. There, Dianne learned that she didn’t really want to be a winemaker; she wanted to be more involved in the end product. “That gave me a lot of clarity,” she says, and so at age 35, she enrolled in the International Sommelier Guild in Kelowna.
When Dianne completed her Level II, she was hired by Mission Hill as their campus sommelier for the 2012 season. They liked her so much, they asked her to stay and finish her diploma in Vancouver while working for the parent company, Mark Anthony Group.
Today, Dianne is on the sommelier team at the Vancouver International Wine Festival and she is also a product consultant and sales associate at New District Wines in the Dunbar area. “We have a very large focus on BC wines, and a very special international portfolio, so 98% of our product you won’t see in government stores. Our director of wine is DJ Kearney, one of the top wine judges and educators in Canada,” she says. Dianne also spends a part of her summer in the Okanagan valley working as a wine tour guide for Experience Wine Tours.
For Dianne, the joy in her job comes from sharing knowledge. “I think what I enjoy most about working with wine is educating people, and encouraging them to try different things and ask questions. I resisted the sommelier thing for quite some time because I hated the pretention, the intimidation, and the snobbery associated with it. But after I thought about it awhile, I thought, I can help. I can put the fun back into the enjoyment of wine, whether it’s $10 or $5,000. Wine is for everybody,” she says. “Whether you think you have a palate or not, the most important thing is it belongs to you. And if you like something, that’s great. If you don’t, then we’re going to work on trying to find you something else. If you follow the rules of wine and food pairings too strictly, you’re not going to have a good time.” Stress has no place in a wine consumer’s world.
They say there are two different kinds of people: people who live to work, and people who work to live. Dianne seems to defy this categorization by simply following her passions in work and pleasure. She is also an avid curler and plays twice a week at Vancouver Curling Club; Dianne was also a competitive amateur golfer for many years. “That was my dream in high school, getting to the States to be pro,” she says. “I was so determined to play golf and also work in golf, I went to North Carolina Methodist University to play varsity and did a business administration major with a professional golf management minor. I played everything in the provincial level to the nationals, and then I played the British Amateur. But my lowest handicap was a 2 and I just couldn’t break through. So there came a point where you know your future, you just have to make the change. And I didn’t want to be on the road living out of a suitcase, playing a different tournament every week. So I decided to play just as a competitive amateur from that point. And now I just try to play for fun.” Still, she hasn’t lost her edge; Dianne participated in TCC’s golf tournament in 2015 and won both “longest drive” and “closest to the pin.”
Dianne and her partner Christopher Floyd, a chef at Fairmont Pacific Rim, became members of Terminal City Club almost two years ago. “Aside from the gym, the wine list is why I joined. (I took a good look at it!),” she says. “The attractive prices, the wine events, and you have one of the top chardonnays by the glass, the Coolshanagh chardonnay from Naramata. One of the top soil consultants, Pedro Parra is involved with that vineyard site. They have a very special type of soil called calcareous limestone; Pedro refers to it as crack cocaine for grape vines. And it’s just a small spot too, a tiny little parcel, and it produced just dynamite chardonnay.”
The Club community is a big part of why Dianne joined. “Since I golfed, growing up I was always a member of a club. I definitely got a lot of value out of membership, including many lasting friendships. I like the consistency – you’re always seeing familiar faces. It’s that go-to place. Wednesday is girls’ night at TCC, we’ll have some dinner, drinks, and enjoy some live music in Cuvée,” she says. “When you do enjoy a bottle of wine, offer a taste to the staff! Enjoy the fitness centre patio – it’s such a beautiful spot. If you’re curious about wine, please introduce yourself to me, because I’m friendly, but a bit shy when it comes to introducing myself,” she says. Or, if you’re looking for a new golf partner, it sounds like Dianne could give you a run for your money.
To book spa services, please call the Fitness Centre at 604 488 8622 or fill in the following form.
To book spa services – please call the Fitness Centre at 604 488 8622
6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
If you have any questions about our various squash programs, please fill in the form below and our program directors will get back to you.
6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
If you have any questions about our various swim programs, please fill in the form below and our program directors will get back to you.
In order to book a tour, please fill out the following form:
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Unless otherwise specified, all areas of the Club, including the Grill Room, 1892, Cuvée Wine Bar, patios and private function rooms have a dress code of smart casual. Smart casual attire includes collared or turtle neck shirts, golf or knee length shorts, and dress pants. Similar attire is required for ladies. Denim is acceptable provided a collared shirt is worn and denim is of a solid colour with no fading, tears or patches.
All footwear is to be clean and smart. Casual thong footwear is not permitted outside of the fitness centre.
To book a venue, please fill out the following form:
Cream of Potato & Bacon
Corn Beef & Pepper Jack
horseradish mayo, lettuce, tomato
soup, salad or fries
roasted parsnip, yam, kale, quinoa
grainy mustard vinaigrette
basmati rice, naan bread
swedish crème panna cotta
new york cheesecake
lemon curd, graham crumble, raspberry coulis
strawberry rhubarb short cake
seasonal fruits, citrus curd
caramelized honey custard
hazelnut cookie, orange compote
Stay tuned for next quarter's wine club!