The goal of Meritage Wine Agents is to be one of the top suppliers of exquisite wine to the leading wine focused restaurants and retailers in Western Canada. We will do this by sourcing high quality , high value wines from unique and emerging markets and bring them to our customer in an efficient and cost effective manner, deliver them fair prices, and support them with passion and professionalism.
Rome Awde, Founder, President, Alberta Sales
Rome has been involved with wine for almost 30 years. With much experience in the food and beverage industry within many fine dining rooms and hotels, including Westin Hotels, C.P. Hotels and Delta Hotels. Rome had worked as a professional Sommelier with Westin Hotels, many years before it became in vogue and before certification in Canada came to be. Self educated in old and new world wines, Rome has spent many years understanding wine and relays his unique outlook and persuasive abilities to keep wine as a beverage that should be enjoyed without pomp and circumstance.
Rome has been looked upon to provide his perspective on many hundreds of wines, where he has smelled, sipped, spit and sometimes swallowed for customers, employees, friends, restaurant staff and anyone who asks. Rome works tirelessly at keeping wine in perspective. It is to be loved, enjoyed and treated with the respect that it fully deserves.
“Wine maybe the beverage of the gods, but treat it like you would a brother, if wine smells good, tastes good and feels good, then it usually is good, and that’s all that matters”.
Shelley Jackson, Logistics, Support
Shelley was born and raised in Vancouver. An expert in logistics and marketing, she started in the Wine Importing/Agency business in 1999. Shelley specializes in Canadian liquor board compliance, inventory management, pricing, budgeting, forecasting, supplier relations and wine marketing. With a passion for organization, systems and processes she has led a team responsible for the logistics and inventory management of over $35 million of wine annually.
Over her tenure, Shelley has built relationships with the various Provincial Liquor Boards across Canada, key media personalities, and with a global network of wine producers.
She loves to travel and has traveled to many of the great wine regions of the world; appreciating the wine, food and culture each has to offer. She is an avid runner, swimmer, and skier.
She is a loving wife of Rob and has two young children Matthew and Alexander.
Olivier Baenninger, Sales – British Columbia
Olivier is a dynamic individual with diverse international experience in sales management and business development in the fine wine industry. He is a graduate of McGill and is fluent in three languages ideal for work in wine from a Vancouver base: English and French, plus spoken Mandarin Chinese.
It was at the beginning of Olivier’s six-week winemaking stint in France in 2007, at the winery making arguably the best “Croze-Hermitage” (and an “Hermitage” rated 99 by Wine Spectator), Maison Alain Graillot, that Olivier had one his biggest wine revelations. Parker had just been to Graillot’s the morning Olivier arrived to do one of his legendary 120-bottle tastings, and that evening, Mr. Graillot very generously served wines to the staff that cost more than most people’s monthly salary, convincing Olivier that his enthusiasm was not misplaced and that he was in the right business!
Olivier spent the last four years in Beijing, China, before emigrating to Vancouver in early 2012. He worked closely with a high-end international F&B clientele consisting of five-star hotels and upscale restaurants, creatively bringing wines to that young, growing market that would be considered “naive” by Canada’s more advanced standards for wine appreciation. He did so through wine dinners (at Maison Boulud, Aman resort, Fook Lam Moon, Beijing’s newest Shangri-La, to name a few), TV appearances, staff trainings, and press events for interesting wine growers visiting China, all based on his own belief in and passion for the wines he represented. And there’s no doubt that Olivier needed a large dose of passion and vision to explain bio-dynamics, for example, to crowds of high-net worth potential clients whose main concern about a wine’s worthiness revolved around whether it was dry or sweet, white or red, and AOC or not!
Olivier’s four years in Asia were very successful on all fronts, and China was a fun and challenging market to sell to. As a matter of fact, Olivier has a Chinese wife he met in Beijing…but now that he’s back in Canada, here in Vancouver, Olivier wishes nothing more than to put his hard-earned stripes to work, and to meet the new challenge of adapting himself to the expanding market here to bring you wines with the gauge of quality and honesty that he is accustomed to dealing with.
Richard Tacneng, Accounting
Richard immigrated to Canada in 1989 and has had a successful career both with his own accounting practice and, subsequently, as a Senior Accountant in some of Canada’s most successful and growing wine importing agencies.
Richard entered the wine industry around 1997. Over the subsequent years he has become an expert in a number of accounting and financial areas specific to the wine industry. Most recently he spent over 10 years as the Senior Accountant with a national wine importer that operated 4 subsidiaries; had an annual turn-over of almost $50 million in wine; and a staff of 50 employees. He was responsible for leading a small team that managed all aspects of accounting including: international supplier payables; foreign currency transactions; budgeting; consolidations; bookkeeping and financial reporting.
Richard was born and raised in the Philippines where he attended University and completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1986. In 1988 he achieved the designation of Certified Public Accountant in the Philippines He has achieved his 5th Level of the CGA program in Canada.
Richard is a loving husband of Norma and has two children, Brian and Jasmine.