“We moved out here from Ontario to snowboard for a winter,” recall the Kompasses on their migration to Whistler. The sommelier and chef duo took over the Blackcomb Liquor Store in 2006 and never looked back.
About Blackcomb Liquor Store
The Blackcomb Liquor Store is owned and operated by a free-range sommelier and a chef at large, husband-and-wife team, Michael and Rachel Kompass. They’re a couple of wine-and-foodies who treat staff like family, and believe that food and wine culture is what turns a table into a home.
Michael is a graduate of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and the International Sommelier Guild. He hosts private tastings for groups and is the on-air wine guy at Whistler FM radio. He’s passionate about sharing and growing wine culture, and is a perennial judge for Cornucopia’s annual Wine awards. As the operator of The Blackcomb Liquor Store he has over 20 years experience in the wine and hospitality trade and as a consultant in the private and commercial sector. Michael is also the creator and director of the Whistler Wine Club since 2001, and gladly shares his enthusiasm for wine with all!
Rachel is an award-winning chef (she took a blue ribbon for her tomato jam at the 2017 Brackendale Fall Fair) and the former manager of Chef Bernard’s legendary farm-to-table bistro. Rachel is adept at sourcing unique products that showcase BC, (be it beef jerky made to order in small packages, or wine carriers for your bicycle) and growing a network of impassioned regional producers that she can introduce to Whistler locals and visitors.
“We moved out here from Ontario to snowboard for a winter,” recall the Kompasses. “We were 20 and 21, and all we had was a couple of bags and $1000 to our names.” They never looked back, but found themselves working in the hospitality sector on Blackcomb with some of the community’s original enthusiasts. They took over family ownership of the Blackcomb Liquor Store, who they were working for, in 2006, when the original owners wanted to retire. Rachel and Michael doubled down. They wanted to start a family, and now they’ve got two – two kids of their own, and the Blackcomb Liquor Store and Fitzsimmons Pub family.
Because that’s what food and drink has the potential to do – bring people together, cement relationships, generate a sense of belonging.
They’re proud to continue the store’s tradition, since 1996, of being a destination for wine enthusiasts, and home to Whistler’s largest selection of the most sought after BC wines as well as a serious selection of international vintages.
Expanding the tiny pub out of the Liquor Store into it’s own dedicated space, the Fitzsimmons Pub, in 2015, has helped revitalize the creative vibe and patio scene of the Fitzsimmons Walk, and make the pedestrian stroll at the base of Blackcomb an upper village destination, a cultural connector full of indie character, and vibrant business.