Like Fine Wine, Business Gets Better With Time
Washington Street Wine House has seen repeat customers and growing clientele due to special wine-tasting events and daily complimentary tastings.
Similar to its popular pomegranate zinfandel called Seasonal Red, the holidays are pretty sweet for Washington Street Wine House in downtown New Baltimore.
"The whole month of December, we've been really busy," said owner Cyndie Busuttil of the business she shares with her husband C.J. "We've done very little advertising until now."
Word of mouth for the business at 50969 Washington Street brings an average of 30 customers in per day. Of those visitors who take advantage of the wine house's complementary tastings, 98 percent of them buy at least one bottle, the owners said.
"Right now, we do not sell by the glass. It is simply a tasting house, but we may serve by the glass in the future," Busuttil said.
The Algonac couple learned to make wine as a hobby with friends in Canada. They chose the former market building because they liked its proximity to Walter and Mary Burke Park, the city's recreation building and new subdivisions with younger residents in the city.
When they opened doors July 17, it came after three months of extensive renovations of the old building. Today, the warm and welcoming interior features a bar for tastings, shelves of 18 different kinds of red and white wines and sitting areas for conversing.
Using juices from France, California, New Zealand and other places, employees make 24 gallons of wine at a time. Flavors vary from Razzie Red, Drop Dead Red, Aussome Red to Luna Bianca, Petit White and Dahlia Daze.
Finding the perfect one for your palate may mean testing different flavors. But, don't worry, this is not a pretentious tasting house.
"We don't direct people," Busuttil said. "We're not snobby about it."
In fact, she finds that wine is growing in popularity in the area, as more people see the benefits of the refined drink.
"They hear different things, the health aspect of it. Red wine is supposed to be very good for your heart," she said.
Whether health benefits are a factor or just plain old socializing is the goal, Washington Street Wine House will kick off a new year of monthly special tasting events from 7-9 p.m. Jan. 21. For $15 per person, guests will receive three glasses of wine and be treated to an appetizer spread from 7-9 p.m. Reservations may be made by calling 586-273-7140 during business hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tues.-Sat. Space is limited.