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Two Women on Wine: Hand-selected wines are only the beginning

Posted: April 9, 2009 6:33 p.m.
Updated: April 10, 2009 6:00 a.m.
Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier - Two Women on Wine. Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier - Two Women on Wine.
Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier - Two Women on Wine.

You can tell a great deal about a wine store from the labels it carries. Some stores strive to carry big name brands that consumers easily recognize, while others embrace the challenge of stocking their racks with lesser-known labels.

In a store devoted exclusively to wine and wine accessories, you are more likely to discover lesser-known boutique wines that don't enjoy the benefit of large marketing budgets and advertising dollars to promote them.

Instead, these small artisan vineyards rely upon savvy wine store owners to carry their label and curious consumers to seek them out.

So how does a store decide which wines to carry? In a small neighborhood wine store, wines are typically selected through tastings and personal discovery - although not always our own.

Choosing which wines to carry is a process. We discover wines through a variety of ways: trade tastings, winery representative visits, travels and customer recommendations. We discovered Abundance Vineyards from Lodi, California through a trade tasting and now carry its popular white blend label, along with a syrah and petite syrah labels.

We found Italian wine Zaccagnini 2004 Il Vino "Dal Tralcetto" during a recent trip to Tuscany. Yes, traveling to exotic locations can actually be research for a wine store owner!

A number of reps visit Vino 100 Valencia each month, which gives us an opportunity to sample new wines. We taste the wines offered and select those labels we feel confident will be suited to our customers' palates.

We meet with winery reps on a regular basis to taste a large variety of handcrafted wines from around the world and personally select those we find interesting, different, unique and fun. They might be unique varietals, blends, regions or wineries. We search out these gems and bring them to you.

Sort This Out Cellars from Buellton, Calif. was recommended to us by a customer. We were so impressed by this discovery that we've invited the winery to join us later this month to pour its fun, boutique wines for other customers in our popular Meet the Winemaker series. If people enjoy the wines as much as we think they will, we'll carry several labels from the vineyard as regular items on our shelves.

Once a wine is selected to be carried in the store, we give customers a wealth of information about each wine to help them decide which wines to try. We create tasting notes and chart where wines fall on our signature, trademarked barometer, based on our tastings and knowledge of the wine. We gauge flavor and body for each wine and index where a wine falls on the fruity versus dry scale, and the degree to which the wine is light or full-bodied.

So how do you begin to understand your palate? One way is to do what we do - learn by doing. Explore the differences through tastings to help train and develop your senses. There's no reason you shouldn't be able to find the right wine every time, once you understand your tastes.

Buying wine should be as enjoyable as drinking it. There's no right or wrong wine - only what's right for you.

The point we are making is that every wine carried in our neighborhood wine store has been carefully hand selected. We think you'll be pleased with our selection and all at affordable prices.

Every wine has a story. Let us share it with you.


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