It was destiny of sorts that united sisters Vera Robinson and Candice Plibersek in a successful business that continues to bring smiles to customers’ faces.
The owners of The Naked Vine stress “customers come in happy and leave happier.” How many businesses can say that?
Vera, who has lived in Caledon since 1968 and owned/operated her own maid service for more than 25 years, drew upon her business expertise to help transform The Naked Vine into a thriving, evolving operation. While not new to operating a small business, Vera was the admitted wine neophyte when the duo jumped in with both feet in February of 2006 to open The Naked Vine in Bolton.
Candice owned and operated a logistics company for 19 years before retiring from that line of work and taking the plunge in the retail sector.
Candice had worked in a wine store and has always been a connoisseur. When bitten by the brew-on-premise “bug” Candice turned her back on her favourite store-bought brands and never looked back. She’s become quite the collector and her wine cellar stock – mostly made up of Naked Vine brands – continues to grow. Vera’s taste buds have been evolving ever since.
The brew-on-premise operation was a novelty at first and both sisters found the experience to be “fun.”
Once the doors opened, The Vine Ladies changed the store and its image completely, adding a giftware component and becoming fully involved and immersed in the Caledon community.
Vera admits that often, she just can’t say “no” to the countless charities and causes that come calling. It’s in her nature to help – everyone – in any way she can. This means she has allowed herself into people’s lives and into their hearts too. The list of local charities supported by The Naked Vine includes the Caledon Community Services and DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and local schools, just to name a few.
Vera takes care of the tasks she is best suited for – marketing, branding, sales and promotion. She’s certainly no wallflower and her social nature is vital in the local business community. “The Vine’s” success is due, in large part, to Vera’s marketing efforts and her interpersonal skills. The public responded in kind. “The more we supported the community, the more we got back,” she admits.
Not wanting to rest on her laurels, she’s gearing up to expand the corporate base and offer corporate and unique giftware. Offering customers that little bit extra and an exciting lineup of innovative and one-of-a-kind products, keep her upbeat day in and day out.
Candice’s expertise centres on production and inventory, keeping stock fresh and staying on top of the trends and market innovations. She’s a wine-making instructor, a guru who relishes in the physical process. To her, the bubbling brews in the back room of The Vine is a symphony; music she loves to share with costumers. She’s also become well educated in the intricacies of aging, storage and pairing wine with food.
She’s the modest one, the Yin to Vera’s Yang. The sisters readily admit they complement one another’s skill sets and personal traits. But both are goal-oriented and committed muilti-taskers.
Candice flourishes as the in-house wine-making mentor to customers who truly revel in the process and come back on a regular basis, thirsty for more knowledge and new techniques. Each batch a customer produces is like a surprise bag, a one-of-a-kind taste sensation. While there’s a certain amount of consistency, Candice admits that each batch is unique since the grapes and juices change slightly each season.
The dynamic duo are lauding the health benefits of red wine, an idea that wine-lovers and wine-makers have been embracing for some time. The brew-your-own approach is also cost-effective and during the current economic climate, saving money while still getting a quality product makes perfect sense.
For both Vera and Candice, The Naked Vine is truly their second home – a place where every customer is called by name and friends gather for a similar purpose.
There’s no stopping these talented and dedicated siblings. The Vine will continue to grow and reach new heights, thanks to Vera and Candice.