78209’s COVERT WINE SOURCE
Tucked quietly away in an unassuming office building just off busy Broadway exists one of the area’s most remarkable, and to those not in the know, almost covert retail purveyors of exceptional wines. No giant signs or screaming advertisements direct the masses to its humble door. One might drive right past and never realize that deep within the nondescript exterior is an amazing boutique operation where demanding oenophiles and other appreciative partakers come eagerly every day for advice, recommendations and, most importantly, the repeated acquisition of truly fine wines. But that’s just what Monica and Oliver Ressel’s Grape Wine Company is all about – catering expertly and passionately to the few rather than adopting an impersonal “one size fits all” approach. So who needs a big sign for that?
Quietly but ever so successfully in business for 30 years, Oliver attests the secret of this secret is “in the matchmaking.” The Grape Wine Company takes great pride in first discovering each customer’s unique tastes and desires, then offering and ultimately providing pleasing selections perfectly suited to satisfying those particular preferences. After establishing a profile, Monica and Oliver subsequently are in a position to make future targeted recommendations that they “know” a specific customer will enjoy. It’s a simple formula but one that has resulted in an incredible following within the ZIP code and from far, far away as well.
Atmospherically, Monica and Oliver lend an international flavor to the enterprise. She hails originally from Peru, he from France. Both have been involved in the international beverage business for decades, and both have deep knowledge coupled with extensive connections within and about the wine industry. Because of this, as Monica relates, “We are constantly on the lookout for new offerings from across the globe.” They personally vet all selections before buying. Thus the Grape Wine Company’s impressively large and comprehensive inventory, like its product, is somewhat fluid. The one thing that all of the wines offered have in common, however, is consistent quality. Although pricing can range from a very affordable $10 up to $10,000 for an extremely rare vintage, everything sold is special. And this includes all types of wines and Champagnes.
Once a customer is established and his or her “likes” identified, when a new product that might be appropriate becomes available, the Ressels will email a notification. If there is interest, the wine can be purchased, then picked up at the buyer’s convenience. Because this isn’t a traditional spirits store, wine is always sold by the case, but clients have the option of mixing and matching different labels to make up their case, thus ensuring variety. As an added service, free long-term climate-controlled storage is also available.
The Grape Wine Company certainly accepts walk-ins, but calling ahead is recommended. What is really wonderful after that initial “get to know you” visit is the customer’s ability to email or call in requests, knowing that their wishes will be perfectly and quickly fulfilled without any unpleasant surprises.
So, discriminating and value-minded wine drinkers, grab a compass, set the GPS and make the short drive over to the Grape Wine Company. In 78209, or San Antonio for that matter, there’s nothing else that compares. And trying to find it is half the fun, but the other half is enjoying the great wine!
The Grape Wine Company is located at 1747 Citadel Plaza, Suite 112, a block west of Broadway, just inside Loop 410. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., Saturdays from 1 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and closed on Sundays. For additional information, visit www.grapewinecompany.com or call 210-828-2222.
BY ERNIE ALTGELT PHOTOGRAPHY ELIZABETH WARBURTON
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