Ever spend a day just cruising Twin Cities Wine Shops? Well okay, maybe not the whole day – but really, just take some time and check out some of the little shops in our area that receive a lot of ‘wine’ buzz? It’s a ‘must do’ and something you should put on your list one Saturday afternoon.
Because I am in front of hundreds of people a week, teaching classes or in home parties nightly, I have so many folks telling me their favorite places to shop, new wines they’ve had or new places they’ve read about. I keep a list of the places that I haven’t been to, and when I get the time, I cruise around for the day scoping them all out.
Last week, I managed to hit up just two. Sinful Wines in Bloomington and the Cork Dork Wine Co. in South Minneapolis. Both places came highly recommended by either write ups or people in classes that use the shops as their local neighborhood shop.
First stop – Sinful Wines. Supposedly the shop had been written up when it first opened a few months back as having ‘hand-selected, boutique’ wines focused on small family owned wineries. Being that it is the only shop in the Twin Cities owned and operated by a female, the shop received some great press upon its opening. Thinking, “Wow, I’d love to support a fellow chica in the wine world”, I headed over. And I must say, I never really truly ‘dog’ out shops, because everyone has their own gig. But, wow, this shop was truly truly misrepresented by its press. Hand-selected wines, boutique? Not a chance. If a free standing rack of BITCH Wines from Australia is your ’boutiquey’, dude you’re in trouble. From displays of Gallo magnums, ‘Mommy’s Little Helper’ to racks of over the hill whites, the shop was cold and again, highly misrepresented. A ‘close out’ table in the middle of store with white wines that are clearly over their prime was probably my last straw. One wine I know well – Ceretto Arneis – sat in the middle of the table. The vintage on the bottle was dead 2 years ago. Bummer, you know why? Because someone is going to pick it up off the table and take it home thinking that they got a great deal, drink it, hate it because it’s so over the hill and never buy Ceretto wines again. And Ceretto, is ONE of my FAVORITE Italian wineries! And their Arneis, get out…is delish. But, not at Sinful Wines. My overall experience is Boo + Hoo. No bueno. In fact, it’s a better liquor store with rows and rows of cheap liquor gracing its shelves including its anything but cool wine. Sorry, not a fan.
Next stop, Cork Dork Wine Co. After my first stop, I was thinking that maybe ‘today wasn’t my day’ for wine shopping. Wrong. Mr. Russell Fay, owner of Cork Dork Wine Co., changed my mind. After spending a few minutes in the shop, quietly perusing the cool, eclectic wines pushed up against the cubical sized walls in his shop, I asked “So what’s the method to your madness of choosing these cool wines in your shop?”. He gave me an answer that I enjoyed. He said he had spent years in the restaurant industry within the Twin Cities, got to know a lot of wine portfolios, loved to taste wine and picked wines that he thought were kinda of unique. “I like it”, is what I said.
While the room itself (yep, its a room) is tiny, the choices of wine are anything from boring. From some of my favorite wine portfolios in the city, I found some super fun, out of the way, cool storied wines. Wines that he had all ‘written up’ with black marker on each of their propped up poster boards that sat behind each wine. Whether it was his words or blurbs from the winery itself, they were good snippets of info. And I, walked out of the joint with TWO cases of wine. Super cool approach, so NOT pretentious and really helpful. A guy with a dream that made it happen. My only complaint, his signage out front. I want more peeps to know about his spot and it’s a little hard to see off of Cedar Ave, where he’s located. Snuggled in between a pizza joint and an alterations shop – he’s the guy in the middle selling wine. Two Thumbs Up!
There you have it…The Life of a Sommelier. Cruising the streets looking for some cool peeps to promote and in the meantime, adding more wine to a cellar that exceeded its limit over two years ago. Where are these two cases going to live?! Happy shopping to you all and go over and check out my new pal in south Minnie. Salut!