2014-05-14 / Restaurant of the Week


This week’s article takes us out of the restaurants and into a very special wine shop. Wine Stop is “a wine and spirits shop out of the ordinary”, says their business card. Indeed, Wine Stop is the warmest, friendliest, prettiest wine and spirits shop I’ve seen in Astoria.

Wine Stop was opened on December 5 with great fanfare by Andrea Frison, perhaps the warmest, friendliest, and prettiest proprietor in town. Following the success of her Brazilian restaurant called “Favela”, Andrea decided to offer an alternative to run-of-the-mill liquor stores. Here at Wine Stop, only small producers of wines are featured, most of which are either organic, biodynamic or sustainable. Locally brewed bourbon, whiskey, and moonshine from as near as the five boroughs and New York state are featured in small, clear flasks and are artfully displayed in this handsome shop.

Wine Stop is beautifully designed with custom built, dark wood shelves from the floor to the super high ceiling. An antique apothecary cabinet behind the register and antique cabinet serve as the check out counter. Cool, industrial lighting overhead illuminates the cozy space, further warmed by Andrea’s handmade wall hangings made from recycled corks. Perhaps the best feature of Wine Stop is the manager Charles or “Chuck” as he is affectionately called. Chuck has an interesting history in the restaurant industry as a chef, manager and buyer of wines. He knows virtually everything about the wines and spirits stocked here and can tell you the perfect pairing for anything you’re about to eat, from take out chicken to a gourmet meal. For example, though I’m an oenophile myself, I never know what wines to order with Thai and Mexican food. “Gewurtztraminer and Rioja”, stated Chuck, and you can take his advice to the bank.

There are wine tastings every night of the week and something called “Disco Saturdays” where classic disco spins while customers sip. That’s right, Wine Stop is the place to sip, linger, and learn about these specialty wines from all over the world, including Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, New Zealand, and the U.S. of A. too. Why, there’s a guy named Jack in Brooklyn who makes his own liqueur from hibiscus flowers in very small batches. What a treat! Single malt whiskeys from Scotland and even Japan claim rock star status, while rows of sparkling bottles from small distillers seduce you with their glistening elixirs.

For all the hand-selected special quality of the wines here, the prices are amazingly reasonable with the vast majority well under $20. I took home a couple of my favorites at just $9.99 for a crisp, organic rosé from France and $12.99 for a New York State cabernet franc. My friend asked Chuck to recommend a Sauvignon blanc and he went home with two nice vintages. White wines and sparkling wines can be purchased cold from the fridge in the back, or from the shelf for later use. Lovely little gift cards are there for just $1 to help you make an impressive last-minute gift to someone. Wine Stop rewards its customers with a “Loyalty Program”, whereby you earn points every time you purchase. The points equal dollar amounts that can be used toward future purchases. Andrea and the staff are very community-minded, giving out chocolates on Mother’s Day and inviting everyone in for some wine tasting and special events.

It’s not surprising that Wine Stop has already been voted in the top wine shops in Astoria. They’re open seven days a week, just downstairs from the N and Q trains, and you can follow them on Facebook for special events. Every day is special at Wine Stop with its amazing selection of carefully selected wines, spirits, and handcrafted bourbons and whiskeys. Add to that two parts Chuck and the helpful, friendly staff and you’ve got the perfect cocktail for a great Wine and Spirits shop that is truly out of the ordinary. Cheers!

–Teresa Barile

30-08 Broadway, Astoria
718. 274.4545

www.winestopnyc.com  Follow them on Facebook

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