Archive for March, 2011
Hi. This Door County grocer – me, Kaaren Northrop – has been trying to start a blog for 2 years! It is now time. My friend, Sarah Sawyer, owner of Egg Harbor Lodge, is a great blogger – and a foodie extraordinaire. We both love to cook, and accessorize with drinks. Ha. Even though I love to cook, I don’t always have time – but I have a lot of good recipes and ideas for food and wine pairings.
However, it is spring break time – and I am going on vacation. I might send a post from the road, or I might wait until I return home to Main Street Market. Either way – I’ll talk to you soon.
The Evolution of our Wine Department
When the Main Street Market was built in 1987, it had 9 linear feet of wine and 9 linear feet of liquor. The Callsen’s previous store did not have a license to sell alcohol; wine, beer and liquor were a new venture. Vonnie drank Almaden Light Rhine with ice, the collective wine knowledge of the group was quite small!
Dave became very interested in wine. He read about it, researched it, and took Spencer Gould’s Wine Appreciation class from The Clearing â€“ the most popular class taught at The Clearing! He was hooked â€“ and the wine department more than doubled in size with the first addition to the store. We all started drinking wine and Vonnie moved on to Red Zinfandel, still her favorite varietal.
Dave and Vonnie took a couple of trips to the California wine country; Steve and I joined them for what became an annual â€œbusiness trip.â€ We went in late January, early February (it was the only time of the year we could all leave), and we had fun! We also learned a lot about wine varietals, how grapes were grown and the wine was made. We often stayed for a night or two on vineyard properties, in some of the most beautiful cottages or chateaus, and in many of the unique bed and breakfasts that are very popular in the wine country.
Each year, we toured a different wine region â€“ Napa, Sonoma, Central Coast, Mendocino, and one year, Oregon and Washington State. We often met vineyard owners and winemakers and had some fantastic tours of caves and cellars. We drank some very good wines with some interesting characters, climbed vineyards on mountains with breathtakingly beautiful vistas â€“ and ate. The restaurants in California are outstanding!
Those wine trips taught us a lot about wine. We sought out the smaller wineries, many family-owned businesses like the Main Street Market! As we became more knowledgeable, and our wine department grew, we decided to add more â€œinterestingâ€ wines â€“ labels not sold in every wine shop in the state. The wine trips gave us the opportunity to see those vineyards and taste those wines, and many buying decisions were based on our â€œresearchâ€.
With the newest addition in 1997, the wine department moved again, and once again, more than doubled in size. The Main Street Market has a reputation for stocking more than 1100 labels and many allocated wines. We have a wine for every kind of wine drinker â€“ price, varietal, region â€“ and at least one of us has tasted almost every wine we stock!
Main Street Market was voted â€œBest Wine Shopâ€ by Door County Magazine in 2010. It is certainly one of the more interesting departments in the store!