The Elegant and Composed
There is such kindness in those eyes. It’s the type of look that openly reveals a gentle soul, a brilliant mind and the impish spark of a little devil. Linda Bramble is all of that as she playfully renders her contradictions with grace and elegance. Are you confused? She likes it that way as you will never know what to expect and that is a contradiction in itself: Linda is an outstanding educator. See what I mean?
Dr. Linda Bramble is an academic, an educator, a certified sommelier, a wine journalist, a wine judge, an author, an academic coach for eMBAs, a mentor, a pioneer, a visionary and without a doubt a bon vivant! To sit down and enjoy a leisurely meal with Linda is to feed the body, the mind and the soul. I have enjoyed this great pleasure many times and each time I walk away enriched and full of thoughts and images that need further reflection. The amazing thing is Linda does it so quietly and elegantly that you don’t realize that you’ve been hit by a train until long after the meal is digested.
Fortunately for us, Linda has applied her talents and passions towards the Ontario wine industry for over three decades. As a child Linda learned to appreciate wine at her grandfather’s elbow. As a proud Italian home winemaker he made sure that all the bambinos had the opportunity to appreciate wine by mixing it with water and serving it at the all important family dining table. There Linda learned about the joy of food and wine and of family and friends loving each other no matter how messy it got. It’s the glorious Italian way.
As it so happened later in her career, Linda became the Program Director for the Niagara Institute, during the infancy of the Ontario wine industry. At that time Linda took great glee in quietly introducing business and government “heavy weights” [clients] to the exceptional wines that were being produced locally. Most of the Institutes’ clients were wine lovers but all had a definite bias towards Europe and California. “I liked doing ‘The Challenge’ with these influential people. They would bring their favourite wines [imported] under $20 and I would bring Ontario wines around the same price or less. We would blind taste them. The Ontario wines would always come out on top. I knew I would never lose. I never did,” Linda quietly boasted with a twinkle in her eye. Her pride and confidence in Ontario winemakers has never wavered. Linda changed and continues to change trend-setting minds and she does it with love, consideration and style.
Linda was also one of the founders of the influential What’s Up Niagara magazine. Her beat was wine, lifestyle and crime. What? Reflecting on those early days (her eyes unfocussed on the ceiling) Linda paused, lightly held her hand to her lips, lowered her gaze towards me and said, “I remember a funny story.” There were those eyes again. Linda recalled, “I was driving a new, bright red 1998 Sovereign Jaguar, reviewing it as a new release when I pulled into Trius Winery to experience some other new releases.” Her eyes flashed a smile. “While tasting some Chardonnay I casually glanced out the window to see 20 guys, literally crawling all over the car. I dropped my glass and rushed out. Trying not to be rude [Linda is never rude] I asked if I could help them. They ignored me and seemed to crawl further into Jag. Just one of the men looked up and as it turned out, he was the only one who spoke English. The others? They were all engineers who had worked on this newly-minted car but had never actually seen it physically all together. We all had a great laugh and celebrated the achievement.”
In the mid 1990s Linda also participated in the pioneering efforts involved in launching the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) at Brock University, an important milestone in Canadian wine history. Since that time, she has authored courses and books, taught and has received awards and distinctions too numerous to mention. With the release of Niagara’s Wine Visionaries: Profiles of the Pioneering Winemakers in 2009, Linda was able to unite both her passion for wine and her passion for business leadership. Today she continues to be very busy writing, teaching and business coaching. Linda also finds great joy in being a mom to four, a grandma to seven and a loving wife to her dear husband of almost 37 years, Ben.
Without a doubt, Linda Bramble is the quintessential Renaissance woman. She seizes life from every direction always choosing true quality over mere quantity. Linda is also a lifelong learner and lives to share the knowledge she gathers. With a child-like wonder and energy, Linda embraces the world and elegantly reflects what she sees, inspiring others to absorb the pointed and peculiar play of the scholarly jester. Then, there are those eyes!