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When Sally Stewart and Steven Washuta, owners of Denver Wine Merchant, acquired their location on 3911 Fox Street, it was already an operating wine shop, with existing fixtures and inventory. The sommelier duo set to work in August of 2020, working to make the shop their own.
And this boutique wine shop that opened in Fall 2020 is definitely their own, with wines on display from some of their favorite regions, places, and experiences, such as a bottle of 2018 Montsecano “Refugio” Pinot Noir from Chile, the country where the somm-duo ran a seasonal guest house in 2015.
Both Sally and Steven are experienced sommeliers. Sally, who has worked in the restaurant industry since she was 16, has been a sommelier at famed New York City restaurant, Babbo, as well as Cut by Wolfgang Puck. And Steven, who studied enology and viticulture, is one of fewer than 200 in the country with the title of Master Sommelier.
Even though Sally and Steven are well experienced in the industry, they hope to make their shop cozy and accessible to all. “We took over this location with the hopes of transforming it into our vision of a comfortable welcoming space with chill vibes. We don’t want to be that intimidating and drab wine shop that doesn’t have a hospitable atmosphere.”
“Drab” is not a word I would use to describe this wine shop with a lounge, Sonos sound system, and selection of vinyl records that lean towards classic rock and hip hop.
And if all else failed to make the shop cozy, there is Aldo, the wine shop cat. Aldo, named after winemaker Aldo Conterno, is “the keeper of all things groovy”, and has penchant for Nebbiolos, Loire Valley Cabernet Francs, and Italian Merlots (like any self-respecting cat).
Denver Wine Merchant carries a carefully selected collection of wines, beers, spirits and sakes. They offer in-store wine tastings in their lounge on Tuesdays. If you want to learn more about wine or receive recipes with wine pairings check out their blog or follow them on Instagram for updates!