Family tradition continues at Rosehill Wine Cellars

Still Family and Growing Stronger Almost 30 Years On
By David Lawrason

Article sponsored by Rosehill Wine Cellars

In 1995 – almost 30 years ago – a young renovation contractor walked through the door of my East York bungalow in Toronto to knock down a wall separating the kitchen and dining room.  Within my house he encountered more wine bottles than he had ever seen gathered in one place, and was immediately intrigued. His name was Gary LaRose and his company was called Rosehill Contracting. His golden retriever Barney always accompanied him along with a long-time employee named Evan.

As the work progressed on tearing down the wall, he became more keen on this wine thing.  At the time I was writing the wine column for The Globe & Mail, cranking out a cirolux bound wine newsletter called Wine Access in my basement, and teaching private wine courses in the parking lot level wine cellar of Movenpick Restaurant in downtown Toronto.  Gary would end up eventually attending nine of those courses, becoming a member of two off-shoot wine tasting groups that continue to this day.

Back in the bungalow, wine was everywhere and in need of organization.  At one point the inevitable happened, with Gary offering to build me a wine cellar. And he did not want to charge me for it. The idea of building a business on custom wine cellar construction had sparked, and my cellar was to be his test case. I was more than pleased to be the experiment.

In 2024 Gary is retiring, with Rosehill Wine Cellars safely in the hands of his cycling and wine buddy Mike Domazet.  He sold Rosehill to Mike and Stefania Domazet in 2022 after an impromptu discussion of the idea over a bottle of wine at The Crooked Cue billiards hall in the west-end of Toronto in 2021.  Mike was already familiar with his friend’s business, and loved wine through family roots in Europe and years of travel. He was ready to apply his varied skills after careers in manufacturing, construction, and sales and marketing.  Gary Larose continues at Rosehill for the transitionary period to impart his knowledge on Mike and Stefania, and is impressed with some of the growth oriented changes that have been made. 

Gary Larose, Mike & Stefania Domazet & Family

Today, Rosehill Wine Cellars has grown into one of North America’s largest and most important builders of quality custom cellars, plus a major retailer of cooling units, wine cooler cabinets, wine racking systems, stemware, decanters and other wine accessories. It has it’s own manufactured products such as Premier Cru Wood Wine Racking modular kits, as well as it’s stylish Vantaggio Wine Cooler Cabinets. It operates out of a 22,000 sq ft facility in a suburb of Toronto Canada that incorporates a modern wood shop complete with state of the art machinery and finishing equipment, a design center and retail store that showcases the products they offer to trade customers as well as the wine enthusiast consumer.

Rosehill boasts some of the wealthiest private collectors and as well as known industry commercial clients across North America. Rosehill has built impressive wine storage spaces at the Scotiabank Arena’s Platinum Lounge, The Granite Club Toronto, well known Restaurants such as Sotto Sotto, Aria, Niagara & Pickering Casino. They are constructing a wine tasting room for the largest home under construction in the US at 90,000 sq ft for the Siegel family in Florida, Featuring a TV show “Queen of Versailles”.

Wine cellar by Rosehill Wine Cellars

Wine cellar by Rosehill Wine Cellars

The company employs over 25 people – cabinet makers, refrigeration specialists, cellar CAD designers and installers, plus marketers, with many others on contract.

“We will continue to grow where we see opportunities and ideas that we can bring to market” Mike Domazet said when I visited the facility and design center in early November. “But we are not out to force growth. There has been a tradition here of staying focused on serving our knowledgeable wine lovers and collectors. We know our customers and want to provide a bespoke line up of products and services that our customers will appreciate. We don’t want to get into product lines and price spaces occupied by large retailers.”

A lot of work is going into identifying and reaching those customers, and creating repeat business, which has become significant as the company matures. There is a much bigger push into on-line sales, which has been a major focus since Mike & Stefania took over.  The website has been recently revised with a better e-commerce interface, and Mike reports the company ships across North America.  Yet despite the growth of on-line sales, Mike says “a lot of business is still done over the phone and in the showroom. Wine is personal.”

There is no point discussing individual products in the context of this article, when all can be viewed on the well laid out website  But taking an inventory tells the tale of how far Rosehill Wine Cellars has come. They represent 44 different brands. There are nine wine cooler cabinet brands alone; four different in-cellar wine cooling system lines, dozens of metal and wood racking configurations, and 66 different options in glassware, decanter and bar accessories in their portfolio.

Vantaggio Wine Coolers

Vantaggio Wine Cooler

And of course, custom built wine cellars, where it all started “chez moi” in 1995, remains a key part of the business.  Gary and Mike are out there meeting with clients and discussing building their dream cellars, where Gary is transferring his years of design experience to Mike, and Mike is soaking it up!  Mike takes a personal touch in continuing the tradition Gary started with meeting private collector clients personally, which is his favourite part of the business. 

Our meeting ended because Gary had to drive two hours to meet a boat to an island cottage to discuss a custom installation in a cottage. Not quite yet retired!

Visit Rosehill Wine Cellars showroom here .


At Rosehill Wine Cellars, we've dedicated 30 years building the highest quality custom wine cellars in North America. From design/build to pristine finish, our team of specialists will help you turn your vision into a bespoke wine cellar space and focal point of your home.

Whether you're looking for a custom wine cellar designed and crafted by our skilled professionals or you're seeking high-quality, personalized products handpicked by our wine specialists on our online retail store, at Rosehill, our sole focus is on providing you with only the best in wine-related offerings.
Use promo code WINEALIGN10 to get 10% off wine accessories.