Our Team

Rob Nellis

Founding Partner

With more than 30 years of restaurant, sommelier, bartending and wine retailing experience, both in Canada and internationally, Rob is uniquely qualified to understand and identify new product opportunities and to promote quality wines within the Ontario marketplace. Certified with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), the International Sommelier Guild, the Algonquin Sommelier Program, The French Wine Society and The Italian Wine Society, Rob is a recognized and trusted wine educator.

Favourite Movie:  Wish it could be something infinitely more urbane and sophisticated: Star Wars

My Favourite Wine Experience: The very first bottle of Mosel Riesling I ever tried. I honestly cannot remember the name of it now. I was a beer and whisky drinker. The wine I drank was merely a vehicle for alcohol…not a lot of thought put into it. This Riesling was electric on my palate though. It was spritzy and a bit sweet. It was the first time I really sat back and enjoyed every facet of a wine. I was hooked. And to this day, still get excited every time I open a bottle.

Margaret Hobbs

Managing Partner

A strategic, analytical, creative entrepreneur with a track record of success in multiple beverage alcohol categories and distribution channels (LCBO General List, Vintages/Essentials, Grocery, Destination Collection & Consignment), Margaret was responsible for the growth and success of Hobbs & Co — a highly regarded agency in Ontario — for over 21 years. She is ISG-certified and is responsible for expanding B+C supplier and Liquor Board relationships and contributing to the effectiveness of operations.

Favourite Movies: (How can you pick just ONE?!?) Shrek, Thelma & Louise, The Princess Bride

Favourite Wine Experience: Cycling through the Côte du Rhône region of France with my father in the spring of 1990. After a picnic lunch on the galets roulés of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyard, we very carefully teetered off to our B&B to sleep off our midday indulgence.

Danielle Laforest

Director of Communications

Danielle holds a BA in Food & Agriculture Resources & Economics from the University of Guelph. She spent over 5 years working in various roles (server, tours/tastings, Wine Country Concierge, Assistant Buyer and Direct to Consumer Wine Specialist) at South Brook Vineyards and Andrew Peller Limited before returning to Humber College to complete the Interior Decorating Diploma Program. More recently, Danielle was the Design Lead for a decorating firm. She has her Prud’Homme Beer Certification and is currently enrolled in WSET 3.

Favourite Movie: How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days

Wine Memory: Riding on the back of an ATV on the way to Santos Winery, on the cliffside of beautiful Santorini, where our table overlooked the caldera. I had never tasted Greek wines before and I was able to sample a number at Santos. The view was awe-inspiring, the wines were magnificent and I had the best company. It’s safe to say I left Santorini with one of my favourite memories and a newfound love for Greek wines!

Rene Wallis

Territory Manager
The newest member to the B+C team, Rene manages our all-important Ottawa territory. Holding a Sommelier certificate and WSET Advanced (Level 3), he spent more than 25 years working in hospitality, including 7 years managing the wine program at the 4 diamond Brookstreet Hotel, before becoming a wine sales professional in 2013. Rene’s passion is knowing and sharing the stories about the people behind the wine.
 
Wine Movie: Bottle Shock
 
Sports Movie: The Natural
 
Favourite Wine Experience: There are way too many… But if I had to choose just one it would be visiting Tahbilk in the Nagambie Lakes region in Victoria, Australia. Neil, the winemaker, took me to the Tahbilk museum – the original church ground, once grain store, rich in history and dating back to the 19th century. He offered me a private tasting of over a dozen wines! I was incredibly humbled by the experience.

Curtis Stephenson

Tasting Room Manager

After more than 20 years in the hospitality sector, Curtis embodies the exceptional customer service and professionalism that drive fine dining and enhance guest experiences. He has used his knowledge and skills to develop the next generation of service professionals and in 2016 he helped open one of Canada’s top new restaurants. Curtis brings a passion to his role at Buyers+Cellars and is excited to take our Ottawa Tasting Room guests on an unforgettable journey through the world of wine.

Favourite Movie:  Inception 

Favourite Wine Experience:  Going out with Robbie Nellis for the first time 20 years ago and being reintroduced to Riesling at the bar. And by reintroduced, I mean drinking copious amounts of Riesling directly out of the bottle and shouting, “I LOVE THE RESIDUAL SUGAR!”, above the blaring dj spinning Notorious BIG.

Ryan Gilchrist

Business Development | Territory Manager

Ryan is a seasoned wine professional, having led the Ontario sales efforts of a large Tier-1 Consignment Agency for almost 10 years. In addition, he has demonstrated experience in supplier relations, portfolio development, supply chain management and sales analytics. Spearheading our business development efforts as well as our Toronto sales program, his passion for wine and exceptional client service are a valuable addition to our team. Ryan is a WSET Diploma candidate.

Favourite Movie: A tie between Vertigo and North by Northwest

Favourite Wine Experience: Touring through Alsace with my now wife, Deb.  It’s a wine region that I had long loved, and spending time there only reinforced that feeling.  Bucolic villages, the omni-present Vosges mountains, great food and of course, wonderful wines.  I will be back!

Alisa Wing

Director of Operations

Alisa has worked in operations and administration in the Ontario beverage alcohol industry for over 20 years and is one of the very best in the business. Armed with a wicked sense of humour, she has a penchant for seeking out improvements in organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Alisa lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter and has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Harry Potter.

Favourite Movie:  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Favourite Wine Experience: While working at a previous agency, we took a road trip to New York State to visit Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery. We stayed in a beautiful country inn and sat outside on the top of a hill at sunset, overlooking a vineyard – we just sat there quietly, enjoying a glass of wine. It is a stunningly beautiful area and I would love to go back sometime!