"Years ago, I was a hired general contractor," says Gary LaRose, "and I got a commission to do a wine cellar."
The experience of the building project sparked a love affair with wine, he says, leading him to take "about 10 wine courses and become an avid collector." His passion and his business merged when 17 years ago he decided to specialize in building wine cellars, founding Rosehill Wine Cellars
That collected experience led him finally to the recent opening of a dedicated wine-rack manufacturing facility in Mississauga, the first of its kind in Canada, unveiled publicly through press announcements this month after two years of preparations and testing.
"It takes a while to set it all up," LaRose says, noting the gradual collection of robotics and computer design equipment. Now the facility is operating at full speed, serving custom orders from across Canada and around the world. Rosehill may soon start seeking dealer arrangements with agents to compliment its online sales and Toronto retail store. "I didn't want to do this until the factory was ready," LaRose says.
At the factory and in Rosehill's Etobicoke retail location, LaRose now employs 17 staff in what is a growing, highly specialized area of industrial home design. "It's actually a very specialized subfield," he says. "You have to think like a wine collector—what types of wines will it house, the size of the bottles, displays.... Some people buy only by the case, some have lots of magnums of champagne, some will have no magnums. And then you need to know how to refrigerate the room, and build your racking all around it."
He says Rosehill has grown with the growing interest in food and drink appreciation over the past decade.
"At one time the people who would hire us were avid collectors looking to make a perfect home for their collections," he says. "Now it's quite a lot of people who just have a big home and are interested in starting a collection—they want to build the home first and add the wine collection later."
Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Gary LaRose, Owner, Rosehill Wine Cellars