By Tamra Bolton
Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of wine or a seasoned traveler, there are times when a little expert advice is not only helpful, but much appreciated. Throwing a formal dinner party or an impromptu gathering can sometimes be daunting if we aren’t sure about our wine choices. We want to create a memorable occasion but, sometimes, we could use a little assistance.
Many of you are confident in your ability to choose a variety of wines at a moment’s notice, but some of us prefer to consult someone to help decide pairings. I’ve learned you never know where you might find these handy experts. They tend to show up in the oddest places, like Moose, Wyoming. Tucked into the rustic log building, next to Dornan’s Pizza is the Moose Wine Shoppe where for 27 years, Dennis Johnson has been steering folks to the best choices for their needs. I’ve been there many times when Dennis has helped me choose the perfect complement to my favorite Dornan’s Thor pizza or the delicious blueberry scones I picked up at The Bunnery in Jackson. Not only is Dennis a whiz at choosing wines, but he will share his extensive wine-related knowledge with a smile. The Moose Wine Shoppe has won the Wine Spectator Award for Excellence for an astounding 28 years in a row! Now, that’s the kind of help I like to get.
Another surprise was to find a world-class certified sommelier in the tiny town of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Located in a tiny renovated home within walking distance of the famous Osthoff Resort Hotel, the Vintage Elkhart Lake Wine Shop and Tasting Bar is a wine lovers delight. Jaclyn Stuart the owner/sommelier treats her customers to individual attention and enjoys sharing the over 150 hand-picked selections available. I learned so much just by spending a half hour with Jaclyn, peppering her with questions. Not only does her shop have an incredible wine selection, but it also offers the best of Wisconsin artisan cheese, chocolates and other delicacies.
I’ve discovered wonderful people like Dennis and Jaclyn are everywhere, ready to help you and make your wine experience more enjoyable. If you don’t know where they are in your neighborhood, ask, people love sharing favorite places to shop and dine. Your favorite new place may be just around the corner waiting for you. Asking for advice with wine is a great way to deepen your knowledge and appreciation of the wonderful world of wine.
Have fun exploring!