WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — For many of us the New Years Eve holiday means celebrating with family and friends.
That includes of course great food and some much deserved holiday cheer. And perhaps this year you might be looking for a nice bottle of wine to help ring in the new year?
We just learned that Western Massachusetts is a bit of a hot-bed for alcohol consumption. But for those with a more discriminating palate, those who like to take their time with a good glass of wine. If so, I found the guy who can lead you in the right direction.
“My satisfaction is that person, in 90 percent of the cases, will be back within days or weeks to repurchase that bottle,” said Don Alonzo. “That’s a nice feeling when they come back.”
Keeping the customer coming back. It’s what Don Alonzo, AKA ‘The Wine Guy’, has been doing for almost 40 years. The most interesting man in the wine department at Table & Vine in West Springfield is the areas go to guy when it comes to buying wine.
Let’s face it, most of us like to drink wine, but with so many choices it’s hard to decide what to buy. Don’s keen eye and educated palate keeps the 70 percenters in the know.
“Seventy percent of the people who walk in that front door are looking for direction,” said Don. “Maybe the other 20 to 30 percent don’t want any part of me, but I’m still looking for that 70 percent because I’m not a wine snob or anything like that. I enjoy wine, and that 70percent reacts to the wines that I sell.”
As hard as you might think it is to navigate through the sea of wine at a place like Table & Vine, Don says finding a good bottle of wine can actually be an easy process. The key is to find a type of wine you like, a nice Cabernet perhaps, and then start experimenting in your price range. And then of course, start drinking it.
“The way I went through it is my palate to be truthful with you,” said Alonzo. “We have wine tastings here and you might have the opportunity to try 10 to 12 different wines. That’s not my forte with the wines I like. I like to buy that bottle of wine, I like to take it home and drink it at a dinner table.”
And Don also says that timing is paramount when it comes to drinking a bottle of wine. After all wine is a living, breathing thing. And how it tastes one day, may not be the way it tastes tomorrow.
“I’ll drink a half a bottle and I’ll wait to see what happens the second day,” said Don. “The second day sometimes that wine could be an awesome, awesome. Sometimes just the same, or sometimes the bottom fall out. I will tell the customer, if I can, to drink this in two days, or listen, you better drink this in one day. Because the bottom fell out, but it was awesome the first day.”
An awesome wine experience, with the help of Don Alonzo weaving your way through your local retail vineyard, just got easier.
Don will make sure you find what your looking for … And the floor show isn’t bad either.