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As 21st century dawned, Lassonde was bubbling with ideas. Some of them came rather out of the blue but nevertheless proved most promising.

It all started when Jean Gattuso, President and Chief Operating Officer of Lassonde Industries, returned from vacation in the land of his birth with a bottle of wine, which he left on the desk of Pierre-Paul Lassonde. As it happened, it wasn’t an actual bottle of wine but rather a Tetra Pak container similar to the Oasis juice container. If the Italians could sell wine in cartons, why not optimize the use of Lassonde’s existing equipment by doing the same thing?

Tenacious in its traditions, the wine industry had nevertheless become more open to new ways of doing things ever since it had run into problems with cork production. The idea planted by Gattuso was far from inconceivable and it began to make headway. A new subsidiary was soon born: Arista Wines, from the ancient Greek aristos, which means “best” and is also a nod to Aristide Lassonde. Jocelyn Tremblay was recruited to head up the new venture. As a former president of the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), the provincial crown corporation that controls alcohol distribution throughout the entire province of Quebec, Tremblay was an established expert in the field. In April 2006, Arista Wines launched its first cuvée: Bistro Mundo.

The pace picked up with the arrival of oenologist and cellar-master Jean-Yves Plamondon in 2009. Several new product lines were introduced alongside Bistro Mundo: Globe Trotter, Au quotidien, Aroma mi amore, The Shrink, Arte Nova, Double Vie, Réserve de Bortilly and, most recently, Vivre dans la nuit. Today Arista Wines is a full-fledged subsidiary and sales of its wines in grocery stores and at SAQ branches are progressing well!

Next column: A shared entrepreneurial spirit…