MmmmmMonastrell Monday! 

Taking a break from my studying, I caught myself in a little daydream; thinking back to not long ago and a trip to Jerome, AZ. 

I’d heard of Caduceus Cellars from my nephew, Aaron, who’s really into the bands Tool and Puscifer. What does this have to do with wine? Caduceus was founded by Maynard James Keenan, frontman and songwriter of Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. Established in 2004, Caduceus is described as a ‘small production family owned winery’. Unlike some celebrity winemakers, Keenan likes to get his hands dirty in all aspects of the business; from planting and harvesting to winemaking and marketing.  

From our wine flights, HubbyDoug and our friends Carl and Deb picked the 2013 VSC Anubis (50% Cab, 30% Cab Franc, 20%Petit Syrah). My pick: the 2014 VSC Monastrell (100% Cochise County Monastrell). 

Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre) is a thick skinned grape that provides color, fruit and tannic structure especially when blended with Grenache and Syrah; it is the ‘M’ in GSM wines. On its own, it has intense perfume notes and blackberry flavours along with hints of meat. Age brings out more leather and gingerbread aromas and flavour. 

The wine in my glass had a beautiful garnet colour with sage on the nose (what I imagine the scent a desert flower would have). It had light-medium body with neutral oak, and flavors of basil, thyme, juniper with a kick of licorice and olive. It made me think of a fragrant, lush herb garden. Normally with reds, I expect to have more of a jammy, fruit forward experience, anything herbaceous I associate with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. It wasn’t sweet wine, far from it. But, much like it’s winemaker, its juxtaposition from what I thought it should be, and what it was, I found a true expression of where it was cultivated. 

This Monastrell is hand-picked (by Keenan himself), sorted, submerged cap fermented and puncheon aged for 18 months. Puncheon is an extra large oak barrel (70-100 gallons). The larger size allows for stronger/ stricter controls in the wine’s development due to the higher inner barrel surface – wine ratio. 

I’d only had this varietal before as part of the GSM blend but on its own it was a wonderful surprise to add to my list of exceptional wines with a twist. 

Cheers! 

What I Did This Summer Part 2: Redemption, a Star Turn and a Little French Kiss 💋

Jordan Winery and Vineyard

After a busy few weeks of getting my daughter moved and relatively settled in at college, I’m back to my studies. Here’s the second half of my ‘what I did this summer’ report.

The second day of our excellent wine adventure took Hubby Doug and I to three vastly different wineries. One had a home-spun vibe, one had a very cinematic feel and the last took us back in time to a beautiful french chateau.

Alexander Valley Vineyard (AVV) ~ In 1961, Harry and Maggie Wetzel purchased the homestead of Cyrus Alexander (the valley’s namesake). In 1963, they planted their first grapes, and In 1968, with perseverance and resolve, their first Cabernet was bottled and a lifetime love of winemaking was born. Winemaker Kevin Hall along with three generations of the Wetzel family are continuing the family legacy of winemaking and farming.

The winery has a cosy tasting room, and an underground cave where we learned about how wines are barrel aged. Very cool (literally). 🙂
When we arrived at AVV, it was just after they’d opened for the day. And while it seemed a bit early to sample, in the name of research we summoned the ‘five-o’clock-somewhere’ rule and tried a couple of small samples. Our two favorite were the 2013 Redemption Zinfandel and the 2012 Cyrus. Both were beautifully nuanced, yet full-bodied.

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Francis Ford Coppola ~ Driving through the archway gave us the feel of what it must have been like to drive on to a movie lot (without the guard asking if you’re ‘on the list’). Coppola winery was one of the most unique I’ve experienced. It had a img_5614picturesque pool area with cabine where you can spend the day with your family. Most water areas at wineries are reservoirs, overflow basins or decorative ponds that they always kick me out of. Bocce courts and lazy hammocks overlooking the valley give a chill vibe that invite you to grab a glass and relax.

Inside the winery is the main tasting room and movie museum with select memorabilia from several Coppola classics including Apocalypse Now, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the giant neon martini glass from One From The Heart. Our tasting experience was the Sonoma Inclusive at the main tasting bar. Our pick of the flight was the 2012 Director’s Cut Cinema blend of Cab Sauv, Zin, Petit Syrah and Syrah, and the 2012 1Mille Cab Franc.

One of the coolest wine tasting experiences that I’d love to return for is Tasting in the Dark. Small groups are led to the Coppola tasting labs, then blindfolded and led through a variety of sensory appreciation activities designed to fine tune the senses. Hoby Wedler, a UC Davis graduate, who is himself without sight, leads each group to the discovery of flavor and essence; allowing other senses to become stronger in the absence of sight. As we know when one sense is gone, others take over, and this experience would be amazing to help one begin sharpening their palate.

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Jordan Vineyard and Winery ~ our final stop of the day took us up a winding road to another world. This by appointment only winery made me think a little of Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon – beautiful, elegant and very regal.

When Jordan was established in 1972, the choice was deliberate to focus on creating only singular varietals, but doing them very well. Their Cab Sauv is produced from the Alexander Valley, and Chardonnay exclusively from the Russian River Valley. The philosophy being that by focussing on singular wines, a better continuity of style will be achieved, and a consistent realization of balance between fruit, acidity, tannin, and alcohol. Each vintage you open will generally have the same qualities time after time.

We chose the Library Tasting, a one hour tasting. The Chardonnay tasting was paired with an Ahi Poke with Quinoa and Heirloom Tomatoes. Usually I’m not into raw tuna but this was a lovely combination that beautifully enhanced the subtle notes of the wine.

On to the private tasting room where we sampled three older vintage Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a variety of artisan cheeses and a Jordan Estate Olive Oil.

Our pick? If you guessed Cab Sauv, grab yourself a glass of wine because you are very smart! Our vintage was the 2007~ something very special indeed.

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It was an amazing day of touring and tasting and I hope one day I’ll be lucky enough to go back.

Cheers!

©TheWineStudent, 2016

A Midsummer Knight’s Dream ~ Field Trip to Napa | Sonoma 🚗💨🍷


The winery with the dungeon was one I had to see.
On this weekend winery getaway to Napa and Sonoma, HubbyDoug and I had only two days to visit and sample. So rather than a meandering trip, we became precise and and streamlined about what we wanted to see.

We’ve enjoyed Gundlach Bundschu wines since Doug’s last trip to see them a few years ago so they were a top choice.  But friends told us about Castello Di Amorosa, a winery fashioned after a thirteenth century Italian castle, complete with dungeon … and torture chamber. Um… more about that in a bit.

Peace and quiet

There are times when visiting a winery is like visiting an old friend. The feeling of ease and relaxation wraps around you like a warm hug. At Gundlah Bundschu, we made our way to the bottle bar to grab a glass and then walk the vineyard. I typically enjoy so many of their reds but because of the heat, I chose a flavorful, chilled and beautifully floral Gerwürtztraminer, while Doug had his favorite, Pinot Noir.

The relaxed vibe of the staff invites you to take your glass and explore pretty much anywhere on the property. There were no limits, and no restrictions except perhaps your footwear, and how long you needed until you wanted to refill your glass.

We got our shoes dusty as we made our way through the vineyards, stopping to taste a couple of Pinot Noir grapes off the vine. There was nothing like it. The flavor was so bright and sweet; almost like a sunburst on the tongue.

Small enclosures at various points along the walk were available with coolers of water and comfortable seating. It was unbelievable how quiet it could be out in the vineyards with nothing but the sun, a light breeze blowing, breathtaking scenery and your wine to savor. We felt any tension melting away as we sipped and walked.
It was how I imagine heaven might be.

While we could’ve stayed all day, we wanted to get to the next destination before nightfall, those winding roads can get pretty tricky.

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Dungeons and dragons
Driving on approximately forty minutes, we arrived at the castle. A labor of love for Dario Sattui and 20+ years from concept to completion (15 years of construction), Castello Di Amorosa is an authentic replica of a 13th century Medieval Tuscan-style castle. Fashioned with hand squared stone, tile and ancient brickwork brought over from Europe, it features spectacular upper and lower courtyards, 5 defensive towers with battlements, a chapel, great hall, royal apartment, dungeon and torture chamber (no castle was complete without them), as well as a fully functioning winery. This architectural marvel is 136,000 sq. ft. including castle and winery. There are 8 levels — 4 levels above and 4 underground. It is truly a feast for the eyes.

We made our way through the drawbridge to travel back in time to a world where romance swirled, women swooned and if you stepped out of line, it was the rack (or the iron maiden). I made sure HubbyDoug was on his best behavior. The chill from the deepest cellar crept up my spine with a slither and it made it difficult to remember the heat from the sun just beyond our reach. It kind of freaked me out when we walked through the labyrinth before getting to our final destination: the tasting room. I bet Halloween here is a scream!

Taking in the opulence and authenticity of detail was awesome and then to see the modern winemaking equipment was a real juxtaposition. And it wasn’t lost on us that we were taken to our wine tasting right after visiting the dungeon and torture chamber. Hmmmmm…. Needless to say, many of us bought several bottles. My pick: the 2015 Dolcino Gerwürztraminer a nice, slightly sweet chiller.

In the next post: Day 2 of our excellent wine adventure at Alexander Valley Vineyards, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and Jordan.
Cheers!

©TheWineStudent, 2016

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Wine on the Waterfront 


To celebrate that summer is actually here in the Cleve, my friend Shelly and I checked out the 5th Annual Waterfront Wine Festival in Avon Lake, OH.

In support of the Smiles for Sophie Forever Foundation confronting pediatric brain cancer, this event featured several local Ohio wineries including Matus, Paper Moon, Firelands, Humble Bee and Vermillion Valley.

My pick for the day: Vermillion Valley Cabernet Franc. Served slightly chilled, it had a light, flavorful vibe of blueberry, raspberry and hint of dark cherry that was enjoyable but not heavy. It definitely took the edge off the heat from the sun.

With the beautiful breeze off Lake Erie, and plenty of sunshine, it was a great event that drew fantastic crowds and helped to support a great cause.

Cheers!

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©TheWineStudent, 2016

 

Where Y’at?! Mardi Gras Crawl @Flats East Bank


It was a day of ‘should we, shouldn’t we’ before we finally decided that we should. And though we were tardy, we didn’t get detention. The Mardi Gras Crawl at the Flats East Bank  yesterday was too much fun to resist. But we had to streamline our crawl. We narrowed it down to three: The Big Bang Bar, Alley Cat Oyster Bar and Crop Rocks. Signature drinks of the day were the Elsa shot (in a flashy glass) and Mardi Gras classic the Hurricane.

Did we see a lot of people having fun? Yes! Did we flash anyone for beads? No! It was too chilly. Although, after I came back from the bar with our drinks, I noticed HubbyDoug had more beads than me. Hmmmm…

Wherever your plans take you for Mardi Gras, be safe, have fun, and let the good times roll!

Cheers!

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©TheWineStudent, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Buggin’ Out on a Saturday Night


“I don’t eat bugs”, was the text response from my friend Shelly when I mentioned the bug and wine pairing event at Spaces Gallery. I admit, the thought of an evening of bug eating made me feel like a contestant on Fear Factor. But this is a brand new year, and why not try something new?

Spaces planned this edible cricket tasting event to coincide with their exhibit from The People’s Museum of Revisionist Natural Itstory about seeking narrative justice, by confronting and questioning norms perpetuated through our culture. The exhibit also speaks to the viewer, as a consumer of culture and information, to question those norms and ‘not readily accept them as facts.’ The evening’s cricket experience was designed to address those concepts, as well as illuminate issues of sustainability in a meat and potatoes culture.

Big Cricket Farms, founded in 2014 by Kevin Bachhuber, is aiming to corner the gourmet protein market, as “America’s first urban cricket farm.” According to their site, crickets are a sustainable alternative to traditional protein sources, such as beef. Crickets are a tasty (?), cost effective way to have your protein and crunch it, too. These crickets are quite different than the ones I occasionally see my cat take down. Slightly smaller in size, the Tropical Banded Cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus) are an edible variety having the identical nutritional components to their larger counterparts. Since you are what you eat, Big Cricket edible crickets are fed a diet of organic grains and fruit and vegetables. A happy meal, indeed.

Stacked up against other sources of protein (grams/100 g), including beef and seafood, insects provided a huge nutritional punch; with Chapulines (Mexican grasshopper) coming in the heaviest hitter with 35-48%. Beef paled in comparison at only 10-15%. Chapulines are harvested only a few times a year and after being cleansed, are toasted with lime juice, salt, agave worm extract and, occasionally, chili.

Insects are rich in essential nutrients, vitamins( with the exception of B12~ beef won in this category); minerals such as copper, sodium, iron, zinc and potassium, and rich in amino acids.

In the video presentation of Kevin Bachhuber’s TEDx talk, he explained the importance of biodiversity, especially in food sourcing. He explained and how consuming insects (namely crickets) makes for a more humane way of acquiring sustenance while maintaining a healthy ecological footprint. Insects emit far fewer greenhouse gasses than livestock, and consume much less water.

So now… time to eat. I knew I had to just dig in, and take a bite. Over-thinking just made me more squeamish. In the salsa, with crunchy chips, they weren’t too bad: The crunch of the chips masked the crunch of …well you get it. I began to feel brave at this point. Then came the mac and cheese… with cricket sprinkled throughout. This made some of us at the table wince a little. But we knew what we’d signed up for, there was no going back. One of our table mates described the flavor as ‘wheat berry‘, and thought the crunch could be likened to the crunchy topping you’d find on any gourmet mac and cheese dish. Jay, a new friend, suggested the taste was like grain but fairly bland. I wondered then, if perhaps crickets functioned a little like tofu: Lots of bland goodness on its own, but taking on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with. Shelly was not impressed. By the time dessert of caramel cricket apples and ice cream came around, most of the crickets remained uneaten on her plate. I give her full marks, she did try a few bites.

To be honest, at this event, the wine chosen for the pairings came in a distant second. It was all about the bug. And that was ok. Shelly and I enjoyed our 2012 Mercedes Eguren Cab Sauv. The rich blackberry essence provided a lovely light-acid balance to the creamy(and crunchy) mac and cheese.
As I pushed back from the table, I couldn’t help but admire this adventurous group as dinner came to a close. And given what we’d just eaten, the question, ‘is anything stuck in my teeth?’ had a whole different vibe.

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Cheers!

©TheWineStudent, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Good, First Year ~ A Conversation with: Nathan Hayes of Athens Uncorked

In almost any venture, the first year is one of the most difficult. Getting through it can be a test of strength, savvy and sheer determination. Nathan Hayes (and sister Kathryn Blake) of Athens Uncorked can relate. But through it all, they’ve persevered, learned much, and had a lot of fun. When I visited last year, they were still under construction but it wasn’t hard to imagine how great the finished project would look. Flash forward twelve months, the cosy surroundings are as I had pictured them; comfortable couches, great wines, and a warm, welcoming vibe.

Being on a field trip, with research being at the top of my list, I couldn’t visit and not try a wine flight. I chose ‘The Big Three Red’ which featured Chasing Lions Cab Sauv, Liberty School Merlot and finished with the Elouan Pinot Noir. Many wine flights I’ve experienced are served beginning with the lightest first, finishing with the bolder, more full-bodied. This flight was flipped. Nate’s philosophy is to finish a tasting on a lighter note. Who was I to argue?

But before I sampled some great wines, I sat down with Nate in a quiet corner of Athens, Ohio’s only wine bar to talk about their freshman year, the challenges they faced, and what’s next as their sophomore year approaches.

So you’re coming up to the first year anniversary. Congratulations! That’s awesome!

We are! Thank you! Yeah, I can’t believe how fast it went. Boom!

What’s been the most memorable thing for you this year?

Oh my gosh! It has just been such a learning experience. We’d heard from a lot of people going into this that the first year, especially, would be just a non-stop learning experience,and they were completely right. Lots of great lessons; some have been pleasant surprises, you know ‘oh, this is wonderful; we didn’t think this would work as well.’ Some have been the other side of the coin where we think, ‘Okay, we need to re-think this.’ It was a good year but a lot of learning.

What were some of the challenges you found this year?

You know, in hindsight, we’ve realized how fortunate we were in the process of actually just getting open. Everything, honestly, went very smooth. It took a little longer than we thought it would but in all honesty, everything getting to the door being unlocked went pretty easy. The challenges we’ve run into were that there aren’t many wine bars in this area; even the wine bars in the Columbus area are typically more restaurants so there’s a real lack of general knowledge as to what a wine bar is. Even the people that come in from the wine tourism industry, we often have to correct people that we’re not a winery; we don’t produce the wine. That being said, a lot of people that come in just have no idea how a wine bar works; the etiquette involved, the general layout of a wine bar, the wine bar menu. So that’s been a little more of a challenge than what we thought; getting people to understand what a wine bar is, how we operate. Also, when people live in an area where there’s never been a wine bar, the only wines they’re accustomed to are name-brand recognizable. One of the things we had to try to do is carry wines that you just wouldn’t see everywhere. With our demographic, generally over the age of forty, we have succeeded in bringing in an exclusively mature adult clientele; we’re very happy with that. There’s a problem with that, though, in that this market does not go out that often.They do like to go out, often they need to find child care, or finish their work; many of them are faculty here at the university. We love the clientele that we’re bringing in but that clientele group is not typically out every Friday and Saturday night. The other side of that coin too is, as one of our favorite clients observed, there has never been a bar in Athens for older customers. So that’s been a challenge; getting the word out. There’s an assumption in Athens that any bar that exists within walking distance of the college is a college bar. And we’re the first ones that aren’t. To specifically target a niche market is challenging.

Do you find this changes how you approach your advertising?

We’ve tried a few different forms of advertising: radio ads with the local radio stations, we’ve done some newspaper, and a feature in Sip magazine. We’ve done rack cards for some of the Hocking Hills cabins. We’ve also done, primarily, Facebook. It is fascinating how we hear, over and over again, “Oh we’ve been following you on Facebook for months. We’ve been following you since before you opened. Oh we saw you on Facebook.” The second thing is the local tourism. We get a lot people in here who saw our ad in their Hocking Hills cabin. We’re kind of surprised that we’re pulling in a lot regionally, much more than we thought we would. And we anticipate that growing next year.

And you’re on Twitter as well?

We’re not on Twitter. We’re on Facebook and Instagram. I find that for the primary market that I’m reaching, they typically just do Facebook, and occasionally Instagram. I’ve never heard a single customer say, “are you on Twitter?”

Last year, you were telling me that your plan was to switch up the wine flights monthly or bi-monthly. Did it work?

Originally, we were changing the menu every two months, right out the door. And honestly, it was a nightmare trying to figure out how much stock to keep in so you wouldn’t run out before your menu ended. Also, we found that every two months caused a lot of frustration between the servers and the customers. For servers, it takes time to get to know our wine menu, and customers would fall in love with a wine, and maybe only make it in a few times a month, and all of a sudden it’s gone. So then we decided every three months and even that caused a problem! It just was always too fast, expensive to print up new menus, very expensive to stock an entire wine menu ready to go. And it was causing a problem figuring out how much to keep in the back. So we decided every four months; three times a year it changes out and we can still be seasonal with it. That gives the customers more time, and the servers are loving it because they learn to pronounce everything and don’t worry about changing it up right away. Every month I’m featuring a special flight, so that’s just three extra wines instead of an entire menu. So with this month being October, we’re kind of going with a darker, Halloween dark red wines. Next month for November, we’re going to be doing some whites and reds for a flight that you could pair with a Thanksgiving dinner.

How do you choose the wines that you feature in your flights?

I try to figure out what I want the menu’s aim to be. For the summer, I wanted some really eclectic wines which were really fantastic. I wanted wines that you just wouldn’t ordinarily see. Italian whites but not a single Pinto Grigio; we’re talking Vernaccia, Soaves, more authentically original wines. We also did a Rosé flight and a Syrah flight. I wanted that menu to be kind of specific. Going into the fall, I decided to go more mainstream. This menu has the big three red or the big three white or the world of Sauvignon Blanc; kind of like your basic wines, varietals that people are comfortable with. I figure out what I want the overall goal of the flights to do. So if I’m going to showcase a varietal, for instance, next time around I’m going to do a Pinot Noir flight so you have to have your Oregon, your French. And then there are some crazy ones from Argentina. So you start with the menu, then condense it down into the flight and then into the ones that you think people will enjoy.

Have you ever put one together that you thought, “hmmm, not so much”?

The most notorious mistake that I’ve made so far was including a pomegranate ginger wine, the first sip you’d take you’d get this interesting pomegranate and then this zing from the ginger. I thought it was a great one to put on our main sweet Ohio flight. I think we made into four days of the first week before we pulled it off the menu. It was too outside the box for people ordering the sweet Ohio wines. So now the sweet flight only includes a Catawba, Concord and a Blueberry wine. And people love it! With my Sauvignon Blanc flight right now, there were two New Zealand’s with a California in the middle. The first was like drinking pure lemongrass, just phenomenal! The second one is by a winery called Parducci, it’s so light, it’s like drinking a breeze. And the third one is back to New Zealand but it’s got more of a flintiness to it.The problem with putting the Parducci in the middle is it got a little lost. I decided to put it at the end to end things on a lighter note. So there’s a learning curve to putting them together and going from what I like to what I think the customers will like.

Athens is a big Halloween town, any plans for Halloween?

(Laughs) You know we are finding that some of the bigger event weekends that happen are actually kinda bad for our business. Game days, Homecoming, Halloween, the town goes crazy. So what we’re going to do instead is Friday night we thought we’d offer some special ciders, I’m going to encourage my staff to dress up and we’ll just try to make it a fun evening. We’re going to be closed Saturday. But then on Sunday, November 1st, a good friend’s dad is a character actor/historical interpreter who does one-man shows, and one of his best is Ichabod Crane. So that evening we’re going to have some special sangria, and special hot cider with rum, and he’s going to do an hour long performance of Ichabod Crane visiting a tavern and telling his stories.

When did you start your book club?

I always wanted to do one and we started it abut two months in. And each month we’ve seen it grow. It’s really been a lot of fun. Last month we read “The Widow Cliquot.’ For this month, we’re doing ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ by Ray Bradbury and in November we’ll read ‘The Martian’ which is sci-fi, a lot of fun and a real page turner. A surprising number of teachers from the local schools come and they love it. Of course, I pair wines with the books, that’s part of the appeal (laughs). And I don’t think people care as much why I’ve chosen the wines, as long as the wines are good! They’re just excited to drink wine and talk about books.

So how do you pick your wines for the book club?

It’s just what seems to work, for ‘The Widow Cliquot’ that was easy, just sparkling wines. For ‘Something Wicked’ I chose a Garnacha, it’s a great wine from Argentina but it has this cool blue label with these black birds silhouetted over, it’s kind of spooky. Some books are easier than others. For ‘The Martian’ I’m just going to pick the driest reds I possibly can. We’ll do ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ some time in mid-winter and we’ll obviously choose some Super Tuscans for that.

What special things are you doing to celebrate your first anniversary?

December 5th, which is our one year, is also the repealing of Prohibition so we thought that’s a great anniversary for a lot of reasons. We thought we’d tie it in with a roaring twenties theme which is perfect. We’ll have some Champagne specials served in the coupe glasses. We’ll just create a Facebook event and see how many people we can pack in. The regulars we have are very, very loyal; they’ve been with us since the first day we opened. They fell in love with it right away and keep coming back very consistently. We’re hoping with the first anniversary that we can get the word out. We just hope that we can reach more people.

Do you think you’ll expand and include meals or just stay focussed on the wine?

That was one of the things that I was taken aback with, is how much food we actually sell, even though we’re not a restaurant. One thing we hear so much is that people wished we served entrées. A lot of wine bars that we researched, over time, morph into restaurants. And still, I doubt we’ll ever do that.I don’t think it’s something my sister or myself want to do. While it is spacious here, in terms of preparing dinners, we’re not zoned or licensed for it. I think we need to stay really focussed. One of the things I’ve been constantly reading about is experiences young business owners, particularly bar owners have; lessons learned and mistakes they’ve made. One of the things is: don’t expand too quick. Just because you’ve had a great year does not mean you just spend everything and expand. Preemptive expansion can really hurt a business; if you can’t sustain it you’re in trouble. Another one was: do not change your hours that first year. Some nights, especially Mondays, are generally slower. I might only have, say, ten customers but they’re the same ten customers every Monday. They come in and they love it. It’s really about working on the relationship I have with my customers. It’s challenging sometimes to keep in mind the big picture.

In the end, it’s all about the customer base that we’re growing. If we’re here every Monday, they’re here every Monday, and we fall into a good pattern. They begin to tell their friends and then I can build a relationship with them as well. Plus our place is cozy, people love it, especially in the winter. It’s all been good. It’s a blast!

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©TheWineStudent, 2015