The Wine House, Manlius, NY

Owners: Tim and Sarah Buckles

Address: 8240 Cazenovia Road (Rte. 92), Manlius, NY

Phone: 315-682-0784

Website: http://www.thewinehousenewyork.com

Social Media: @TheWineHouseNY on Twitter; The Wine House New York on  Facebook

Whenever I enter a wine store, I can’t help but hear Billy Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” in my head (“A bottle of White… a bottle of Red… perhaps a bottle of Rosé instead…”). That song keeps popping into my head as I prepare to write this entry, so I am listening to it while writing this blog post, and I invite you to pull it up if you have it digitally or on a CD (or better yet, on vinyl!). After all, it’s a good song for anyone, regardless of your level of satisfaction with your love life. And wine is a nice accompaniment to a dinner for either one or two on Valentine’s Day!

The Wine House in Manlius is tucked into a small shopping center near the Nice & Easy and across from True Value hardware. Tim and Sarah Buckles opened the store in September 2006, and they do have plenty of Red, White, and Rosé, as well as sparkling wines. There is also a nice selection of spirits for those who prefer something besides, or in addition to, wine.

The Wine House searches for great wines that aren’t overpriced, and they offer formal and informal tastings for interested customers. On Thursday evenings from 6:30 – 8:00 pm, there are complimentary sit-down tastings with an expert providing information about the wines. From 4 – 6 pm on Saturdays, they offer informal tastings of 3 – 5 wines for customers to taste while browsing the store.

As I mentioned, the store also carries a selection of liquor. For my upcoming Bunco night, I am looking to serve a cocktail, but since I don’t make cocktails often, I needed some suggestions. The store clerk recommended a bottle of Hendricks Gin from Scotland, which I purchased and later sampled, and it may have kicked out Bombay Sapphire from its long-running title as “my favorite gin.” According to the website, they are known for selling “high-end Single Malt Scotch.” Whiskey isn’t my thing, so I can’t personally vouch for it, but if you’re a fan of Scotch, it would be worth checking out.

There is a bottle for just about every price point at The Wine House. At the front of the store, you will find the 2 for $20 wine bottles, and they are all good wines, not just the wines they’re trying to move out. A little further in, there are 2 for $30 bottles, and then wines along the walls and center shelf are sorted by type and within a wide range of pricing. And better yet, if you request a Loyalty Card, you will receive a discount EVERY time you make a purchase: 10% off of wine (15% off 6 bottles or more), and 5% off any spirits.

The Wine House will also fulfill special orders whenever possible. On that point, I’d like to share my favorite experience with The Wine House. Fifteen years ago, my husband and I traveled to Napa Valley for a few days after touring UC-Berkeley. We were dating at the time, and he planned the Napa Valley winery portion of the trip based on my preferences. He selected wineries that he thought I would like.

The day before we went to Napa, I ate some Dungeness Crab Chowder in San Francisco that made me horribly ill for days. My stomach felt so terrible that tasting wine was simply out of the question, but I was happy to be the designated driver and let him taste the wines on my behalf. There was one type of wine from Luna Vineyards that he really liked, and although it was pricey and our budget was tight at the time, he splurged to buy a bottle so that I could taste it when I was feeling better. We saved it for a special occasion, which ended up being our first wedding anniversary, and the wine was delicious.

A few years later, I wanted to find him a similar bottle from Luna for his birthday. I had just about given up when I tried The Wine House. Although they didn’t carry this exact wine, they were able to order it for me from the vineyard. That was a very nice birthday surprise, and I have always remembered how they went out of their way to help me get a special bottle for him.

That personalized touch, as well as their continued effort to provide wines and spirits that taste good and fit a variety of budgets, make The Wine House an absolute Local Treasure.

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