Hey my little grapes!
This week I am proud to introduce a new post category to the blog:
Sweet Shops is going to be a feature on awesome places for you to go spend your money.
Specialty shops, locally owned stuff, that one and only place guaranteed to have something I know you have been dying to find.
I am very excited to feature Oakley Wines as my first Sweet Shop feature.
Address: 4011 Allston St.
Phone: (513) 531-1400
Wine Tastings every Friday 5PM-8:30PM
I heard about Oakley wines from my lovely friend Rachel. A group of gals were getting together to do a blind wine tasting.
Oh, never heard of this?
1. Are you living under a rock?
2. That's okay, I'll tell you:
Invite your friends. Instruct them to bring two bottles of their favorite wine (Two of the same thing, obvs). When everyone shows up, take one bottle and put it in the "goody basket". Take the other bottle and cover the label. Everyone drinks each wine. Everyone votes on their fave. The winner gets to take the whole goody basket of wines home.
So, you gather that I went to this event.
Rachel couldn't come, but being as sweet as she is, she brought her wine and dropped it off so everyone could still enjoy it.
Guess who won y'all?
Guess where she got her wine y'all?
You guessed it: Oakley Wines.
So obv, I had to check it out.
And thus my Friday tradition of wine tastings at Oakley Wines was born, as well as the idea for Sweet Shop features.
Oakley Wines is owned by Zach Eidson who I think is awesome. He is so awesome in fact, that he did an interview with me. You'll be able to read that below.
Here is what you really need to know, though. Wine tastings.
Yours truly will be there, guaranteed.
Wine tastings are only $10 and you try 5 wines
And if you're lucky, Zach's wife Valarie will be helping out. Talk to her. She rocks.
The tastings have a different theme each week.
(You can get a preview email if you sign up with them!)
And they serve an assortment of meats and cheeses as well.
They've attracted quite a crowd, and it has a great, laid back flow.
You won't be standing in line forever waiting for your wine.
And you'll learn a little something too.
The shop also has a great craft beer corner with a varied selection of the nectar of the gods.
One of the greatest things about the shop is that Zach is there all the time.
I can walk in, describe what I'm making for dinner, and he will pair it.
Hell of a lot better than that cheap shit you're buying at Kroger.
Especially when Zach could choose the most expensive thing every time, but instead he mixes it up and grabs me some very reasonably priced bottles that are bomb.
Trust me, it's worth it.
And you'll likely make a friend in the process.
Name: Zach Eidson
Job Title: Owner-Operator
Place of Business: Oakley Wines
Favorite Superhero: Hong Kong Phooey
How did you first become involved with wine?
10 years in the restaurant business. My passion for food and wine eventually led me to focus on wine. In the early 90's, my family lived above a restaurant in Paris, France. My parents would throw parties, and my brother and I would tend-bar in tuxedos at the age of 12. I can't help but think that had something to do with it.
Could you provide a brief history of Oakley Wines:
A wonderful couple, Joe and Lois Santangelo, expanded their passion for wine by opening up a store-front in 2009, next to their main business of hosting the Macy's Jazz Festival. They have a world class wine cellar in their home and travel to wine country just about every other month. Their original concept of "All Wines under $20" is something they were excited about sharing with their friends and neighbors. After 3 years they realized they should be working less as they get older not more. I bought the wine and license from them and moved it 5 doors down the street into a newly renovated shop.
What has been a challenge you didn't anticipate with owning the shop?
I wash a lot of glassware.
What is your favorite wine/grape/region?
Barolo. In my opinion, best wines in the world. Feminine on the nose, masculine on the palate.
When did you decide you wanted to take this on as a career?
After I left military school and chose a path unlike anyone in my family, I knew I wanted to have my own small business. Every move after that had something to do with prepping me to open up my own business. I probably gave my family high-blood pressure from all the ideas I had in mind. My buddy and I started a 3rd party logistics company in Myrtle Beach, SC. That was going great until my long-time crush finally agreed with me that we belonged together. I dropped everything in 2008 and moved to be with her here in Cincinnati. My focus went back to restaurants. I heard Boca was the best restaurant in town. (Jean Robert was briefly out of the game). Boca hadn't heard of any of the restaurants that I had worked in so they sent me to Nada. They didn't have room, so I told them I would be a host. Within a month I was tending-bar and within 8 months I was at Boca. That is where I found the focus and discipline to dive deeper into wine. Poured wine, sold wine, studied wine and helped make wine. Focus then shifted from restaurants to a bottle shop when I got married.
What has been the most rewarding part of the experience?
When one of my regulars asks for an interview.
What are your hopes for Oakley Wines in the future? Expansion? Wine Bar? Cult-like following?
Building regulars and convincing others the importance of shopping small. As for expansion...The landlord is chomping at the bit to finish the basement. I want to get a big table down there to host events, wine tastings and special dinners. Give it an old cellar feel. Just want to focus on the best I can be here in this spot, before I think about more than that.
What is your most awkward wine related moment?
When I first got a job as a wine distributor, a friend of mine's dad asked me what I thought of Oberon (the California Cabernet Sauvignon), and I responded with "My wife loves that beer".
What are the most common wine myths or misunderstandings?
A lot of people tell me they get headaches from the sulfites in red wine. Sulfites naturally occur in all wine, and most of the time there are more sulfites in white wine than in red. The headaches are most likely coming from tannins, sugar and/or higher-alcohol red wines.
Include some info about private event opportunities.
Right now, Private events/tastings are only $20 a person (min 15 people).
Any plans to expand wine tasting times or days?
There will be tastings with winemakers on days other than Fridays in the future.
Anything else you want to include:
90% of the shop is under $20, with a nice selection of hard to find high-end wines. I have tasted every wine in the shop and have a wine for everyone here. oakleywines.com. On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
You won't regret it.