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For The Love Of Wine

Published June 25, 2015 by

The Wine Guy can help you choose the perfect wine for any occasion.

By Matthew Totsky | Photography by Jerry Zolynsky

Because of recent consumer trends toward an upswing in the amount and quality of wines that Americans drink, wine lovers now have a wider variety to choose from than ever before. But this sheer amount of choices can present a whole new set of dilemmas.
Luckily, the Wine Guy in Bloomfield Hills is here to help you find a bottle that fits your taste and budget.

The Wine Guy is actually two guys: Joe Newmyer and William Schwab.

“We knew each other for years,” Schwab says. “I ran the wine department at Papa Joe’s in Birmingham and Rochester Hills for 15 years and left to manage an online wine retailer. Joe was building wine cellars, and he approached me about starting this retail business. The Wine Guy opened its doors in September 2011.”

Newmyer says, “I worked in the automotive field for 40 years. I had my own company — an interior trim supplier — but I sold it in 2008. I was doing wine cellars on the side, and my customers kept asking me to fill them. I met Bill and we decided to combine our mutual love of wine and build something special.”

Plenty of stores and retailers around town offer a wide variety of high-quality mass market wines, but such products won’t be found on the shelves at the Wine Guy. “Everything we carry is hand-crafted and contains no artificial additives,” Schwab says. “If there are only 300 cases of a product, there’s not a lot of automation you can squeeze into that.”

Newmyer adds, “If you say you want something, we’re happy to get it for you. But we would steer you to small-production and hand-crafted wines. We like to buy from people we know to guarantee that we’re getting what’s on the label.”

WINE TASTING 

The best way to find the right wine is to taste it, and the Wine Guy is home to the only wine tasting bar in the area.

“We offer wine tasting every Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.,” Schwab says. “Anything we carry here in the store is available for tasting. We’ve personally tasted everything here and know exactly what is on our shelves. If you come in and tell us what you’re looking for, we should be able to recommend something you’ll love.”

The Wine Guy fully stands behind everything they recommend.

“If Joe or I suggest a bottle of wine and you end up not liking it, you can put the cork in it, bring it back and exchange it for something else,” Schwab says.

When it comes to wine, Schwab and Newmyer have their own areas of specialization.

“I work with Old World wines,” Schwab says. “They come from places like Italy, France and Germany. These wines tend to be more complex and layered and offer more finesse. They are usually served with food and enjoyed as a side dish and finisher.”

Newmyer’s expertise is in New World wines.

“New World wines are the kind of wines you go out and order by the glass or what you would pour for yourself at home after a long day at work. A lot of these wines come from California, Oregon, Washington and even Michigan. New World wines also come from New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

“New World wines stand by themselves,” Newmyer continues. “They’re robust and full-bodied and full of intense flavors. After the first sip, there’s usually an immediate wow factor, and they are excellent food-pairing wines. One of the great parts of our job is helping people pair wine and food. We also offer classes on the subject.”

HELP WITH COLLECTIONS

Classic Wine Cellars is the branch of the Wine Guy that helps customers design build, stock, manage and maintain their wine collections.

“Building the wine cellar is just part of it,” Newmyer says. “If you’re on a maintenance contract with us, we come in once a quarter. We inspect the temperature and humidity and do a physical inventory.

“From there, we make a spreadsheet that tells customers when to drink their wine, the wine rating of the bottles in their collection, how many they have as well as bottle size and the present value.

“Often, clients discover that some of the wine in their collection has appreciated in value,” Newmyer continues. “We have several clients with $3,000 bottles in their cellars that they will not consume. In this case, we offer auction services through our auction partners in Chicago, New York and Hong Kong.

“Additionally, if they have too much of one variety, we can let them know so they don’t continue to buy something they already have.”

In less than four years, the Wine Guy has built a solid client base of 4,000 local customers and another 10,000 online.

“We have customers from all over the country as well as the world,” Schwab says. “The younger generation likes to buy things online; it’s convenient for them. This is the industry trend.

“We send out email offerings to let our clients know what we have in stock. Some bottles move out of the store quickly because of online sales.  It also gives us a chance to offer things not available elsewhere. We’ve sent bottles of wine from our store as far away as New Zealand, Japan, China and Belgium.”

If you’re into wine, there’s something for you at the Wine Guy.

“The least expensive wine we have is $9, but it can compare with many $25 bottles in the market place,” Newmyer says. “Our job is to help you find the right bottle at the right price. If you tell us what you like and what you’re drinking right now, I’ll be able to determine the grape variety, price and region. That tells me all I need to know about the customer.

“My job is to make your life easier and more enjoyable. We do a profile for each customer and everything is listed on our computer database for future reference.”

For Newmyer and Schwab, the Wine Guy is a true labor of love. NS

The Wine Guy is at 1932 S. Telegraph in Bloomfield Hills. (248) 977-4893

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