No segment of the food and beverage industry so reflects the desire for smaller, more personalized purveyors than wine. Wine lovers want magic and prestige--not a mass-market bottle from a corner gas station (usually found in a cooler, right next to the Coors Light).
But therein lies the trouble. What we sacrifice when choosing a fancy boutique over a convenience store is just that--convenience. Take our recent exasperating adventure in small Dallas wine shops, for example: We set out for Stoney's--a local fave--on a weekday afternoon. Approaching the storefront on Greenville right next to The Grape, we noted the bright OPEN sign in the window, but when we tried the door it was locked. A small paper sign said someone would be back soon, so we called the store later, but still no dice. We left a voice mail and heard back after while from Stone Savage, owner of the store. He said he'd email us some info on his wines, but we never received that message.
Undeterred, we tried for Brian's Wines next. Again, the store was locked up tight in the middle of a weekday, and five subsequent calls during normal business hours netted not even so much as an answering machine.
By this point, we were getting really thirsty. Pulling up to our next target, The Wine Market & More, we began salivating at the sight of row upon row of gleaming wine bottles before us, but again the front door didn't budge. Damn (again)! An official-looking notice informed us that "management has exercised its statutory right to change or modify the door lock." Guess those pretty bottles are gonna be in limbo for a while.
Finally, losing patience, we set out to nail down Sacred Cellars, a relatively new entry into the field that's been emailing and Facebook-ing us for the past few weeks. We checked out Sacred's website--no address. There's a picture of a shop that kinda looks like a basement rec room (flags on the wall, etc.), but no exact location. So, we called the number on website and also sent an email to cover our bases. Then we sat down, sipped some water and fumed.
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Eventually, we heard back by phone from Paul Burrough, VP of Sacred Cellars, in response to the email we sent to his partner, Rudy Ced, who had sent us the Facebook message. Did you catch all that?
Needless to say, we started out the conversation more than a little perturbed. Paul, though, we must say, was disarming and friendly and admitted that heretofore Sacred Cellars hasn't really been "location-dependent". Seems they deliver their bottles as often as folks come to the store to pick them up. However, regarding a new weekly deal promotion, he explained, "We are going to try and make ourselves a little more public-friendly." He says that some of the other fancy wine guys like to "pick out their customers"--which might explain why schlubs like us have a hard time getting a drink. Sacred Cellars doesn't want to be like that.
For the record, they're located at 5715 Sadler Circle in Dallas and their "Steal of the Week" right now is a 2005 Flora Springs Trilogy for $34.99. Paul also said they host tastings at the store every Friday. "Well...almost every Friday," were his exact words, and they're open 10-6, Monday-Friday "give or take".
Or, you could just go to the gas station.