Nº 20 | Cork Map of the World

Many customers have remarked on it, and we thought we would share with you the story behind it—a story of family history, a meaningful memento, and a promise kept.

 Anita Li was the “mom” part of the mom-and-pop duo who opened this store back in 1986. She was an extraordinary woman in a number of ways, who loved her business and loved her family, and she was always reminding us—her daughter and son-in-law—that she would like to see us use our design backgrounds to create something special for the store.

 Anita passed away in 2001. Among the things she left behind was a cork she had saved. It was the cork from the bottle of champagne that was used to celebrate the opening of the wine shop. (Ironically, back then they could only sell BC wines in the shop and there was no premium BC sparkling wine available, so they “imported” a French champagne for the occasion.)

 We realized that this was a family heirloom of special significance—one that needed to be honoured—and eventually, an idea began to take shape. We started collecting corks. The staff collected corks. Our customers brought in corks for us. And we went to work on our project.

 We consulted wine maps and topographical maps. We cut metal numerals for the date of the store opening. And we cut and sorted corks—more than 2000 individually-cut corks. Red wine stained corks for wine-producing countries; naturally-colored corks for the non-producing countries. 

 The final product represents more than 250 hours of painstaking work assembled over several years, hours we put in between other projects and after our own little guy—Anita’s grandson—was asleep.

 Oh yes, and “that cork” is there too. That first cork that was popped on that night in 1986. It’s back home now. And we like to think that Anita would approve.