Recently, Barbara A. Piazza and I had the opportunity to meet with Rebecca Christie, the proprietor of “Savory Sips,” an exclusive wine store located in the heart of Lewiston, New York.
During our visit Rebecca shared her vast knowledge of the wine industry. She spoke of the wonderful wineries along the Niagara Wine Trail and of local and worldwide renowned wines carried in her store.
Her genuine delight in helping wine lovers find the right wine for an occasion or meal was evident.
We asked her couple questions about picking wines in general and the local wine industry in Western New York. Here is what she had to say:
What is the name of your business? Where are you located?
I have two wine related businesses:
Savory Sips located at 467 Center Street, Lewiston NY; and
Village Wine Tours located in Sanborn NY.
How long have you been involved with the wine industry?
I have been involved with the wine industry for 3 years; I have my import, wholesale and retail license.
Do you organize wine trail trips and wine tastings?
Village Wine Tours organizes the wine tastings and limo transportation to Niagara on the Lake, Seneca Lake and Niagara Wine Trail.
Where do you get your wines from?
I prefer to get wines that are from D.O.C.G. certified regions that score 88-96. I can sell those great wines at a price under $25.00.
D.O.C.G. stands for “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita” or the highest level of Italian wine origin.
Can you get wines from anywhere in the world?
Yes, I can get wines from everywhere in the world Turkey, Israel, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Argentina to name a few. I only sell wine that is not massed produced; i.e wine that is low in chemicals and sugars, even wines with zero sugars and chemicals.
What is your association with local wineries?
I’m an associate member of the wine trail Niagara Wine Trail
What is your opinion of the Western New York wineries?
Niagara Wine Trail is 7th in the world for varietal wines and some WNY wineries have perfected the smooth dry wines while others would like to be known for their sweet wines.
Are you familiar with many of the laws regarding wine trademarks and labels? Licensing’s etc.
I’m familiar with the NY State Liquor Authority (SLA) laws and somewhat knowledgeable with regard to licensing and trademark laws and certainly knowledgeable in patents.
What are the ramifications of drinking massed produced wine?
The ramification of drinking massed produced wines is that they are loaded with chemicals and sugars not produced by meticulous wine makers. It is the chemicals and sugars that make people ill after drinking wine.
Why get “single vineyard” wines?
Single vineyard means that the grapes are grown in the sweet spot of the vineyard ie; where the sun hits the most and there is plenty of water and the soil is the richest.
Blue zone wines are made from grapes that are picked from the richest soil on earth Italy, Greece, Argentina.
The benefit of blue zone wines are clear; people who drink wines from these areas live long and have low disease rate, low incidence of heart ailments and brain cancer.
Also people in Sardinia are 10 times more likely to age well and live into their hundreds because if the diet includes 4 servings of wine a day (Cannonau) grapes.
What criteria should I look for before purchasing a wine?
Look at who is the wine maker, and the wine should score, zero or close to zero in sugars, and as I’ve already said I like wines that are from a D.O.C.G. Certified region.