Hospitality comes naturally to Kristin Bishop, Civic Hotel’s Director of Sales. From the moment this outgoing hospitality professional arrives at her office each morning, her take on her position is definitely personal. “Entertaining is a big part of where my own interests intersect with my role at Civic. Because a hotel is an extension of where you welcome friends and family. It should feel good to everyone.”
Having worked in the service sector since the age of 15, Bishop has combined her innate personableness and drive with studies in business at the BC Institute of Technology. Over the past decade, she has held management positions in the hospitality sector as well as leadership positions with volunteer organizations in tourism and business improvement.
Building her career on BC’s South Coast, there’s no doubt she loves the Vancouver area. Yet no place has affected her as deeply as the Okanagan Valley, where she lived briefly. It was there she discovered something that has delivered enormous pleasure to her own life, as well as broadened and redefined her understanding of how to enhance the guest experience with food and wine.
A Passion for Wine is Born
Bishop recalls the afternoon she attended a winemaker’s dinner with a group of friends, in a barn set in a field. “It wasn’t that the venue was outstanding in itself, but it was the experience of gathering together and trying different foods, pairing different wines with the food, and having an incredible four-hour experience with some great friends.”
That event launched a keen interest in wine and wine-making, a pursuit that continues take her to the Okanagan at least once every year. There, she visits many of the many local vineyards and meets with winemakers to taste and learn as much as she can about local wines.
The love of wine that drives her enthusiasm to learn has sensitized her to the lacklustre wine lists often found in hotels and business venues. So when it came time to craft Civic Hotel’s in-house wine list, she was ready to take it to a new level. With a view to reflecting the hotel’s ‘celebrate BC’ theme, she compiled a thoughtful selection of BC’s finest VQA wines. And when choosing a house white and red, this resourceful manager knew exactly where to go.
Calona Vineyard, the award-winning maker of Conviction wines, is an 80-year old winery pioneered by a priest, financier and industrialist. The vineyard produces a range of wine that appealed to Bishop, both in flavor and narrative. “Their story is not dissimilar to what we’re doing here at the Civic. We have a combination of local government, the development community, the researchers, all collaborating on a vision for this area. The label just seemed to embody that spirit of innovation and the drive to create a new destination city for BC.”
Among the prospects for “crowd-pleasing, easy-drinking” wines from the Conviction label, two particularly resonated with her. The white wine blend, Movers and Shakers, and the red wine blend, Dreamers and Schemers are now the Civic Hotel’s signature house wines. “The names really speak to the type of people we envision being our guests. We want the movers and shakers, the innovators, the builders and dreamers. That’s what we’re all about here.”
At The End of The Day
In the approach to Civic Hotel’s formal opening in early 2018, Bishop is definitely spending a lot of time in the office. Training staff, confirming the details of business events scheduled for the hotel in 2018, and ensuring every last detail is in place for guests, are the matter of every day.
Come time to go home, she turns her attention to her preferred recreational activities, such as a stretch yoga class at the local recreation centre. Or this lifelong soccer player might hit the pitch with her team for a game or a practice.
But her favourite way to relax won’t come as any surprise. “Quite often, I just go home, open a bottle, and sit quietly with a glass of wine, thinking through my day.”