by Olivia Bitetti
Gourmet chef and knowledgeable wine enthusiast Rebecca Christie is the new owner of the Village Vineyard (now known as Savory Sips) and Village Wine Tours, both located at 467 Center St., in Lewiston.
In hopes to explore the business opportunities in the area, Christie plans to expand beyond the Niagara Wine Trail and into Seneca Casino and Niagara-on-the-Lake tours. Like her predecessor, Margaret Talarico, Christie plans to work with local businesses and involve them with parties and tours.
By channeling her gourmet chef background and love of tasty wines, Christie is in the process of creating a "Wine of the Month Club" that will highlight a different bottle of wine each month accompanied with a personally crafted recipe. Each dish will pair perfectly with the taste of the selected wine.
What makes this club different than any other wine-of-the-month club is that it's offered on a pay-as-you-go membership policy. There is no yearly fee, and interested patrons can purchase any quantity of a particular month's wine for themselves or as a gift for a loved one.
Although the wines featured in Christie's store are high-end, this does not mean they are overpriced. The average cost of a bottle ranges from $12-$15. A small percentage of the wines are $25 and up. Christie plans to offer a greater variety of Australian, South African and Italian wines, due to popular request in the area.
In an attempt to support local businesses, Christie plans on hosting in-store private wine tasting parties at which hors d'oeuvres will be served from community eateries. The cost for reserving a private party will be $25-$30 per person for corporate events, and $20-$25 per person for personal events. To book a private wine tasting party, call Savory Sips at 754-2008.
Christie also hopes to run horse and carriage rides -- especially during festivals.
Now, after a few hours of indulging in fine wines, it's possible patrons' ability to drive home will be unintentionally impaired. Christie is looking for local law firms and cab companies to work with to sponsor a "Get Home Safe" program.
"I'm going to make sure the people on the Wine Trail get home safely," Christie said.
"I just want people to know that we are more than willing to accommodate them and make sure that they have a safe and great experience," she added.
Interested companies can contact Christie at the store.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the start of Christie's new business will be held on Friday, Nov. 4, at 4:30 p.m.
Two open house events will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5, and Sunday, Nov. 6, from noon until 9 p.m. Both will feature $1 wine tastings of a high-end red wine and a white trail wine. Complementary light finger-snacks will be served.
For more information on Savory Sips and Village Wine Tours, call Christie at 754-2008 or visit www.villagewinetours.com.