June 21, 2017 (Updated Nov. 2019)
Since 1971, The Vineyard Wine Shop has been welcoming wine enthusiasts and novices alike to their cheerful location on Fillmore Street. Here, owner Clif Louis tells us how they expertly blend knowledge with approachability when it comes to educating people about their libations.
We need you to set the record straight: Is it true you should only drink white wines with fish and reds with meat?
Haha, not really. A lot of people have been worried about that. It’s a matter of taste, but you really don’t want to have a big California Cabernet with a Dover sole. It’s a very light fish, and you’re going to overpower it. And you might not want a light sauvignon blanc with a steak because you’re not going to taste the wine.
We’re here to answer people’s questions like that. Some people think, “Oh, they’re in Cherry Creek North and must only sell $100 bottles of wine,” or that we’re “snobs,” and it just is not true. We like to have fun with our wines, be approachable, and answer questions. We don’t impart everything technical on our customers, but we want to share the fun parts.
Your store hours are 9:30am to 6pm, which aren't traditional liquor store hours. Why is that?
We didn't want to be the place a guy would run in for a last minute six pack of beer. We’re a wine store. Our theory is that if you’re going to buy a case of wine, you plan in advance. These days, however, we do sell some local vodkas and bourbons, or cool craft beers… stuff not everyone has.
If you look up reviews for The Vineyard, the thing that gets mentioned over and over about your store is the service. What’s your staff like?
From the beginning, anyone who worked here has enjoyed talking about and tasting wine. We’ve been lucky lately because three of our guys are studying to be sommeliers and Masters of Wine, so they’re really educated. They know more than I ever did, and I think I know a lot about wine. Nathan, our wine buyer, tastes all the wines he buys. Nearly all of our customers come in looking for help, and it’s clear our staff is educated.
The Vineyard also offers twelve different wine clubs. Why should people join one of your clubs?
They should join because of our purchase power. We can put in some really good wines at a price you couldn’t beat if you just came in and bought the single bottle. (Update: local delivery is now available for $60 per year).
There’s a lovely little open space in the front of your store reserved for wine tastings. When do those take place?
Our wine tastings are every Friday and Saturday from 2pm to 6pm. They’re free, and the wines we taste are available at special price on those days.
Trick question: What do The Vineyard, Revampt Goods, and The Brass Bed stores all have in common?
Well, they’re all in Cherry Creek North, and they’re all owned by members of my family! My wife, Rosella, owned The Brass Bed for several decades. They sell fine linens and furnishings. She just retired and now my daughter, Molly, and daughter-in-law, Olivia, have taken it over. My son, Daniel, who is married to Olivia, started Revampt. They specialize in reclaimed and repurposed furniture and accessories. I think he saw what fun we were having in retail, and wanted to do something similar. (Update: Molly and Olivia opened a new home and gift shop, White Peacock, in summer 2019).
What is it about Cherry Creek North that makes it a magnet for your family’s businesses?
Well, we raised our family here, over on Vine Street. This area has always been great, and we were lucky enough to buy a couple of buildings, so we’re not only retailers, we’re also real estate property owners. We’re invested in Cherry Creek North, which is kind of fun.
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