Back in 1988 I was busting my hump peddling wine in the rough and tumble world of South Florida. Sometimes, after getting cursed at in Spanish for the fourth time that day, or, being looked down upon by wine snobs in the tonier haunts of Miami, well, I thought hard about giving up. Thought about getting into the restaurant business, the real estate business or the food brokering business (my family has always loved food & wine).
Anything but the wine merchant business.
But invariably, after a good glass of wine, and fortified with the wisdom and courage that usually comes with it, I would decide to stick it out and dedicate myself to learning the business inside and out. Then I'd dream about opening up my own wine shop one day. I resolved that I'd make it a place where everyone was comfortable and treated with respect. whether he or she purchased a $10 or $100 bottle of wine. And most importantly, we'd dispense our hard-earned wine knowledge with a minimum of BS and pretense.
Going totally against the grain, I'd name it after the colorful characters of my North Florida roots -- down-home folks who inspired me and taught me about the simple and good things in life. Hence, The Redneck Wine Company: where the wines are as good as you'd find anywhere, but sold with a down home honesty and some southern hospitality.
Hell, I thought, wouldn’t that be heaven on earth?
Well, almost 25 years and a whole lot of knowledge later, the wine shop of my dreams is now open for business, and making people happier and healthier mentally, spiritually, and physically (you know about resveratrol, right)?
We’ve got big name wines, boutique wines, never-heard-of wines, collectible wines and all sorts of vinos from every wine-producing region in the world. We’ve also got quite the craft beer following and regularly scheduled tastings that draw folks from all over the Tampa Bay area.
Most of all, we’ve got people who really, really know their stuff about anything grape related, and who can talk a straight game about the who, what, where, and when of wine in good old fashioned simple speak.
This redneck’s come a long way from his beer-sneaking, trouble-running, girl-chasing days.
Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.