This post has been a long time coming.
Twice a week, I write a post, and most times, it includes tasting notes or observations based on a wine that really impressed me. Sometimes it’s a traditional type of wine, and sometimes it’s off-beat. When an awesome wine inspires me to write a review, sometimes it sparks some interest in readers, and I’ve been asked many times over the past year, “Where are you buying these?” My answer is almost always the same - and then I go on to tell them about my favorite wine shop. Luckily, this wine shop is just minutes from home.
Sometimes it’s hard to find a really good wine shop. Where I live, we don’t buy wine in grocery stores and supermarkets, so we depend on the local, smaller wine shops. For several years, I shopped in different stores, got to know the people who own and work in the stores, and familiarized myself with their inventories. But most times, all the nearby shops had the same wines as each other, year in and year out. I guess I never gave it much thought - I figured, that’s what the shops have, so that’s what I’m buying.
And then a year ago, a new wine boutique opened very nearby. I recognized almost none of the labels. The owner of the boutique knows each and every bottle, each wine’s characteristics, the proper pairing, etc. And the boutique is beautiful - it’s tastefully decorated, the wines are kept at the correct angle and temperature - and there are tastings every Friday. Each time I went into the boutique, the inventory was a bit different. But some things were the same each time - always good quality wines, and always excellent customer service. The store became my regular go-to place to buy wine. I still remember, the first bottle I brought home from Lake Side Emotions Wine Boutique was a liter bottle of Hugl Gruner Veltliner. Each time, new bottles come home with me - and what’s exciting is knowing that I can find good quality off-beat wines made from lesser-known grapes from lesser-known wine producing regions, every time I go there.
The wine boutique is beautiful, but a new patron should not imagine that just because it’s so tastefully appointed and detailed, that all the wines will be rare, expensive selections from France. Familiarizing myself with the inventory allowed me to see that the wines are from all over the world, at all different prices, and I believe there’s something there for everybody. For me, that’s one of the things that makes a wine shop worth patronizing - you can always find something you like in this shop. What else makes a shop worth patronizing? Great customer service and great effort put into the inventory. Anyone can re-order whatever they run out of, and anyone can fill their shelves with the names everyone knows. But that would be boring. Introducing customers to new wines is important - it keeps their interest piqued.
A year ago I was browsing around Lake Side Emotions, trying to decide on a single bottle to bring home, from an inventory of labels completely unknown to me. Now I educate my palate and expand my wine knowledge with the wines I buy there, and I spend my Friday afternoons pouring tastings there.
I strongly suggest that you find a worthwhile place to buy your wines - a place that will give you opportunities to try new things and answer your wine questions, hopefully a place where you enjoy going. Yes, it’s often practical to shop in several different shops, but when you get bored of the same inventory year in and year out, find that special wine shop and you might not want to shop anywhere else.
|Lake Side Emotions Wine Boutique - Stony Brook, New York|