By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,617)
“The are no special tips for buying holiday wines,” said Jacques deVillier, owner of the Wine & Cigar Shoppe in the Old Port this afternoon. “My only advice is get what you like. There are a million different wines. We can help you find what you want any time of the year,” said deVillier, 223 Commercial Street on the Portland waterfront.
deVillier, 54 years old, carries several thousand brands at his Shoppe. The task of selecting a gift of wine for someone or wine for a special occasion can be a challenge for the uninformed. But over and over deVillier is there to make suggestions for those occasions. Wine is becoming increasingly popular. It used to be considered stodgy. “Now more younger people are drinking wine and they are extremely knowledgeable about wine and wine pairings,” he said. “People are attracted to craft made products, because they recognize the artistry of the wines,” he said. A good portion of the wines in his Shoppe are small production wines from around the world. That’s part of what makes his Shoppe unique. He doesn’t carry what the customer will find in the local grocery store.
Unlike other merchants, he doesn’t depend on the holidays for most of his sales. About 20% of his wine is sold during the holidays. “We have a consistent and solid customer base year-round,” he says. Business has already picked up for the holidays as mhn observes during the brief time in this popular place. Two women ask for a recommendation for a holiday gift which they found under his guidance. They selected a bottle of red wine for $15.00. A man asks for a bottle of wine to help celebrate his wife’s birthday. He selects a bottle costing $119. Bill Matuzas, of Waterville, brings in his long, hand-written list of wines he’s looking for in conjunction with a DVD, 6 lecture course on wines. Although deVillier doesn’t have them all, Matuzas decides on alternates that are similar. “With so many vineyards making very good wine, it’s hard to keep track of them all. That’s why people like Jacques are so helpful.”
deVillier is a former intelligence officer for the U.S. Air Force. In 1993, he got into the wine business cause “it’s a growing business,” he said. His first shoppe was on Fore Street which he opened in 2006. He moved to Commercial Street five years ago because it’s a much better location.
deVilliers does private wine tasting parties for customers frequently. He also has his own monthly wine tastings at his 223 Commercial Street location. He is planning one for December 4th, between 4 – 7 pm. Featured will be a Bordeaux – 2010 vintage. The best vintage in the last 60 years. The most expensive wine deVillier carries right now is One Hundred Acre, a California wine which sells for $349.00 a bottle. On the other hand, about half of his inventory costs less than $20.00 per bottle
For more, please call Jacques, at 207 772-WINE.