Monday, October 22, 2012

A Look Inside Sip Wine Store

When Nick DiMinno opened Sip on Fifth Avenue, he had one major goal, which was to make it a “neighborhood shop with wordly aspirations.”

You won’t find big label brands here. There are other stores nearby for that purpose. Instead, DiMinno focuses on smaller producers and eclectic representations of regions around the globe. “It’s fun to think of a store as a big wine list. There’s no sense in carrying three Sauvignon Blancs at the same price, all from Marlborough, New Zealand. It’s better to carry a range of Sauvignon Blancs [and other varietals] from different regions. Stylistic differences make it more interesting.”

There are a few regions and trends DiMinno is particularly excited about lately: low alcohol wines from California, funky varietals from Sicily (such as Nerello Mascalese and the Nero D’Avola blends from cult winemaker Arianna Occhipinti), Greece (“…exciting things happening with both red and white from all over”) and the Fingerlakes.

One of the unique aspects of the store is that the selections are rotated on a regular basis, as opposed to carrying a uniform stock. Five new wines are purchased each week, and DiMinno opens a couple for customers to taste every night at six. More formal tastings take place every Saturday at five with a winery representative.

They also offer free deliveries (DiMinno often makes the deliveries himself by car) and will make selections to assemble a mixed case for customers who want a little o' this, a little o' that. They recently made everything available online, so customers have this option for deliveries or shipping. Apparently, even the locals see the convenience in this method.

The shop opened a few years ago, and has lasted through the fluctuations of the recession. People might have made some cutbacks, but they’ve continued drinking wine (though maybe less expensive bottles in some cases.) “The biggest misconception is that this is an expensive store,” says DiMinno. Perhaps because of the sleek window display and large bottle tags? But taking a gander around, it’s clear there’s something at Sip for every wine lover at every price point.

Definitely stop in sometime and sip your way around. Your awakened tastebuds will thank you.

-Amanda Schuster

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