Vinorama: An interview with Montreal's favourite Whinemom

Curator, partner, and oenophile Carolyn Aubry recently sat down with The Main to pour out the full story of her wine shop, Vinorama.

Daniel Bromberg

Daniel Bromberg

June 8, 2023- Read time: 3 min
Vinorama: An interview with Montreal's favourite WhinemomCarolyn Aubry at wine shop Vinorama. (Image: Adriane Wasserman)

Carolyn Aubry got her start in the wine world several years ago, with a stint at Loïc in Saint-Henri. After a decade of working in the restaurant industry, filled with late nights and physcially draining shifts, she pursued a certification in wine, passing her WSET 3 in 2018 and launching her own business during the pandemic that consisted of virtual tasting and curated mixed packs. The name? Whinemom.

A position soon opened at Vinorama—a carefully curated boutique wine shop on Beaubien Est—which Aubry herself describes as her dream job. Vinorama, like similar shops in Quebec, works on a caviste model that, while permitted to sell wine to go, obliges patrons to add a food item to the bill.

That said, the shop also serves wine by the glass and has just extended its food program to include some additional snack options, in collaboration with neighbour L'Andouille, an artisanal charcuterie shop located a few doors down. All wines are private import and natural or biodynamic, and can be enjoyed on the seasonal sidewalk terrasse.

Image: Evan Shay

Aubry admits one of the most difficult parts of getting Vinorama underway was finding its identity, by going through some trial and error to see what worked and what didn't. Being in a great location, the clientele has become familiar and loyal, trusting the staff at the shop to provide guidance for their selections.

This part of the curation process is what Aubry describes as the most rewarding aspect of the job, citing the moment when a customer returns satisfied with the choice as the real highlight of her day.

We were extremely lucky in terms of location. The old tenant was a friend of ours and the location already came with all the proper permits. Having the most amazing neighbours is such a huge bonus, we feel very blessed to be on this street.

Vinorama has embraced pop-ups as a way to attract more customers to the store, and works alongside importing agencies and friends to make it happen. Aubry came with some experience, having worked on dozens of events in various spaces in Montreal, and welcomed the opportunity to continue that practice as the shop's newest partner.

The first pop-up of the summer will be this Saturday, June 10, in collaboration with Wino Import (and sponsored by yours truly). Info on the event can be found here.

Image: Adriane Wasserman

As a Montrealer, Aubry is very proud of the city’s diversity and zest for life, with an amazing selection of restaurants and accessibility to fantastic wines.

Montreal wouldn't be the same without all of the cultures that create this beautiful melting pot for some of the best food in North America.

It's true that Montreal is flooded with incredible flavours from around the world. And with more restaurants per capita than New York City (wait, what?), it can sometimes be hard to know where to go to eat—or in this case, where to drink wine.

Luckily, Aubry laid out some of her favourites with this short list. We kept it in first person for the added personal touch.

  • Vin Mon Lapin: A truly magical place with my fave wine list in the city. Every time I go, it's such a special experience, whether for a glass or a bottle or two, I always leave so happy.
  • VinVinVin: Killer wine list and very knowledgeable staff, I'm always able to discover something new here.
  • Denise: A curated selection that pairs so well with the food, love the vibe of this place.
  • Tinc Set: With a Catalan focused list, these are the types of wines you want to drink all summer long on their beautiful terrasse.
  • Pichai: I love when a wine list pairs well with the food, and this is one of the coolest and most vibrant lists in the city. It complements the spiciness of the food perfectly and it's always fun and fresh.
Image: Adriane Wasserman

And in the spirit of neighbourly love, Vinorama hopes to collaborate further with its neighbours throughout the summer.

"A Pizza Bouquet and wine block party, perhaps? Stay tuned."

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