Friday, September 18, 2015

Exciting News from Scott & Ally!

We have some very exciting news for everyone! As you know our lease ends in April and since we didn't want the shop to close after 10+ years in business, we decided to put it up for sale.

Well, we have found a fantastic energetic couple to whom to sell it and they have renewed the lease for another three years! Knowing all of the work we have put into the business, we had to find just the right couple to whom to hand over the reins. It was very important that whoever takes over the shop, fit in perfectly with our customers. 

Meet Touré ("tor-RAY") & Charisse Sam, the new owners of The Wine Alley. Touré and Charisse are wine lovers and natives of Salinas, California.  After spending 11 home-sick years in Northern Virginia, they moved back to the West Coast in May 2015 and are excited to call the Seattle area home.  As the new proprietors of The Wine Alley, Touré and Charisse look forward to doing Ally and Scott proud by providing the same great service, good times and excellent wine to all of The Wine Alley's amazing customers!

We, Scott & Ally, ask that everyone continue to give The Wine Alley all of your support, as we are not only vested in this, but we would love to see it succeed beyond our dreams and continue to serve the community for many years to come. We can't tell you enough, how excited we are to have Touré  & Charisse taking over.
Touré & Charisse will officially take over on October 1st. In preparation Touré  will be working side by side with Ally training, so stop by & meet him. We will be closed on Weds, Sept 30th to get them set up.  Over the next few months we will be working alongside them to help make the transition as smooth as possible. We also plan on helping them out in November & December during the holidays.
Now we get to become customers and join the wine club. So we'll still see everyone on a regular basis at our tastings. We just don't have to do all of the work! And Mac will be sure to visit often as well!
Thanks again for all of the past & future support!
Scott, Ally & Mac 

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

And Just Like That - Fall Has Arrived!

Today is September 1st, school is back in session and the typical wet, misty dreary rains have arrived. Right on time. Of course, we had to throw in a wind storm and lose power too. Hey, who doesn't like to do wine tasting in the dark?  

But we can't complain much, as we have had a gorgeous summer and Eastern Washington really needed the rains.  Over the past few days almost every customer has commented how they can't wait to make a "cold weather meal" - it's time. Hard to eat a big pot of stew or chili when it's sunny and 90 degrees!  It's been fun seeing everyone come in looking for hearty reds and spicy zinfandels to go with their dinners. Of course, we have our customers who drink hearty red wines all season, no matter what the weather does. That works for us too!

But this weather will be short lived, as September is shaping up to be warm and sunny. Why all the weather talk? Well, besides the fact that Ally is obsessed with weather, it also plays a major roll in our weekly menu. Normally in the PNW, you can't really depend on what the forecast says, but this past summer they nailed it perfectly. And looking at the forecast below, we're not giving up on our rose's or crisp white wines quite yet.

Our gardens are almost done for the growing season and those of us that grow tomatoes have bushels of them. Put them to use and make homemade pasta sauce and then pair it with a Sangiovese and you are set!

So enjoy this mini cold weather food week while it lasts! Labor Day weekend is coming up & we will be pouring four great wines, including a rose' that will be a hit for your weekend BBQ.

Cheers, Scott & Ally

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Humbling Experience

Two weeks ago tomorrow I had major surgery, which required me to stay home this entire time. I have been overwhelmed and humbled by all of the get well wishes, cards & flowers. I've never had a job where this many people cared about my well being and considering how difficult this surgery has been, every note has really brightened by day.

When you own a business, you never think about situations like these. It's not something you expect. Yet over the past 10+ years in business, so many customers have done so many surprising thoughtful things for us ranging from Happy Day Flowers to Holiday Gifts to Sympathy Cards....just amazing to us.

Everyone has also been so considerate and understanding while Scott works alone, especially during our tastings. So thank you for making this experience better than I expected. I plan on returning full time to the shop next week and I really am looking forward to it! Cheers and thank you again to everyone!  Ally

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Great Wines for this Heat Wave!

It's been a very long time since we had this dry of a summer and boy is it hot too. When it's this warm, no one wants to cook - it takes too much energy and frankly our kitchens are sweltering. We have had so many people ask us this summer "So what are you drinking right now and what would it go well with?". That's what today's blog is all about.....our favorite warm weather wines and the foods that go great!

Our favorite type of wine for hot weather, is Rose'. Don't fear the pink, but instead enjoy a nice cold, crisp glass of Rose'. These wines are not typically sweet and their flavors can range widely. Those made out of Pinot Noir and Barbara can be lighter and softer. Those made out of Malbec or Cab Franc can be heartier and could pair up with a lean meat like a sirloin. Rose's go great with grilled shrimp, salmon, Charcuterie platters (cured meats), roasted pork and green salads. 

We recently just had the M. Chaptoutier Rose' from the Rhone region of France and we had it with Grilled Shrimp with Couscous Salad from Food and Wine.

Another favorite hot weather wine is Sauvignon Blanc. These wines can come in two different styles, one being very tart, grassy with notes of tomato vines. The other being tropical and less acidic.  People either love or hate the grassy kind. We personally prefer the more tropical type, but still with more acid. 

One of our favorite Sauvignon Blancs, is called Pomelo from Mason Cellars. Just as it sounds, it has notes of a Pomelo. As the winery describes it, it has "A mouth-watering, vivid style; this wine explodes with delicious flavors of passion fruit, guava, quince, lime peel; with an intensely grapefruit nose.". This wine pairs fantastic with raw oysters and salads with goat cheese. One of our favorite summer salads is from Epicurious, "Mesclun Salad with Veggies, Goat Cheese & Crispy Garlic". 

Another favorite white wine during the summer is Pinot Grigio (aka Pinot Gris). While some may be sweet, they typically are not. They are light, crisp, refreshing and best of all, affordable! One of our favorite Italian Pinot Grigios is Orizzonte for under $9!

Pinot Gris goes so well with cheeses, light fish dishes, seafood pasta dishes and chicken dishes. One of our favorite dishes to make during the summer is sole as it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare. Here's a fantastic recipe of Sole Meuniere from Food Network.

Honestly, it's so hard to pick our "favorite" wine for the summer. There are just too many to choose from, but this list certainly covers the top three. We hope you are enjoying this fabulous summer - be sure to stop in for any of our weekly tasting events this summer as you are sure to try any of these varietals. Cheers!

Scott & Ally

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Our Personal Lives Are Part Of The Business

If you have ever owned a business involving day to day interactions with customers, then you know that your personal life mingles with your business life. It's just the way it is.  Nine years ago my mother became ill at the end of May. We figured she had pneumonia or some lung issue as she was a smoker. I worked the June Wine Club tasting (first Weds of the month) by myself and about thirty minutes before members arrived, I got a phone call from her doctor that she had stage 4 lung cancer. Until you walk in those shoes, you have no idea the rush of emotions that run through your body at that moment. I couldn't cry, I couldn't stop what I was doing and be with her - I had to do the wine tasting for a few hours with a smile on my face. It was probably one of the hardest things I've had to do and every June Wine Club Tasting I remember it.

Sadly, she died a few weeks later and it was impossible not to be emotional and tearful. It was during that time, that our newly found customers reached out and became family. I realized then that our customers would be an integral part of our lives, both business and personal. Since then, we have developed great friendships with so many and Mac, too, has a sincere fondness for his fans. That's why we will always be a part of The Wine Alley, whether we own it or are its customers. As we mentioned last month, we are not renewing our lease next May, but we do hope someone with a passion for wine will continue the shop's success. We honestly do not want it to close and will be great customers and continue to see everyone at the shop.

Next month I am having major surgery and when something that significant happens, it's impossible for customers not to know, as they will wonder where I am. Since telling our wine club members, I'm amazed as to how many have offered "to help." Recently, a new customer came in for a tasting and she overheard another customer talking about how many "baby beechnut trees" they had in their yard and she told them she would love to have one. They offered to bring her one the following tasting and sure enough she came back for her tree. You won't find that in most other businesses and that's what makes this shop so special.

Many of you have asked us why we aren't renewing and what do we plan on doing. For those that don't know, our life long dream has been to buy a catamaran and explore the world by water. I know when that happens, everyone who has been a part of our lives will follow us along on our journey. We may not be at the wine shop years down the road, but our friendships will never go away. It will be long while before that dream comes true and we know The Wine Alley will continue to be a favorite stop for Fairwood. That will never change. Cheers, Ally

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Tis the Season of Rose' and Bubbles!

We have been so lucky this year in the Pacific Northwest, with Spring coming early with sun & warmth. Mother's Day is right around the corner, which is the start of Rose' & Bubbly season (well, at least for us it is). There's nothing better than sitting on the deck, with a nice cold glass of dry rose' and soaking up some sun.

Often, we get asked what is your wine of choice. That is so hard to nail down as it really depends on the moment and the occasion. For Mother's Day, we love Brut Rose's, as they pair so well with almost all foods. A few of our favorites are: J Vineyards (CA), Piper Sonoma (CA), Rive Della Chiese Prosecco (Italy), Tenuta Col Sandago Wildbacher Sparkling (Italy), Mas Fi Cava (Spain), Santa Julia (Argentina), Montmarte Rose' Sec (France) & Jacquart Champagne (France). All of these wines range in price from $13-$52.

We have the belief that you work hard and you play hard. Most sunny Sundays, we toil in our yard and breaking our backs weeding & gardening. Then we look forward to the rest of the afternoon, enjoying a cold glass of rose' with cheese and crackers.

Over the past 10 years, we have changed the minds about "pink wine" for so many of our customers. They originally figured it was just sweet white zinfandel, but in fact the vast majority of rose's we sell are bone dry. They are made out of red grapes (Grenache, Malbec, Syrah, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cab Franc, name a few), so you still get the flavor profile that you want. Some heartier Malbec rose's would go great with lean steak and the fruitier ones would go great with all kinds of foods including salmon, asian dishes and grilled shrimp. Honestly, the list is so vast, it's difficult to summarize. Rose's are just now coming in from Europe and Spain, Portugal, France & Italy make fantastic rose's. Some of our favorites are: Casal Garcia Vinho Verde (Portugal), Astruc Pasel (France), Cesari (Italy), Viu Manent (Argentina), Vega Sindoa (Spain), Sierra Cantabria (Spain) & Borsao (Spain).

We also have some fantastic rose's coming out of Washington & Oregon right now and every year, more and more Washington wineries are producing rose'. Here are some of our favorites: Cavu, BBQ Wine Co, Renegade Wine Co, Roller Girl by SuLei Cellars, Jones of Washington, Powers & Boedecker.

Want to try a rose' before you buy it? Well, you are in luck. Starting in May, we typically will pour a rose' during the weekend (either Friday or Saturday) all through the summer. So check our Facebook Page or join our email list to see what we're pouring. It's a great way to find that perfect rose' for your summer dinner party! Cheers and Enjoy!

Scott & Ally

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

This week we are celebrating our 10 Year Anniversary and it's been fun reminiscing about all the things we have done and the people we have met. It was so exciting to have our Grand Opening post card come in the mail to all of our neighbors. This was really happening!

It was a wet & dreary day on our Grand Opening, so we had to do the ribbon cutting inside.

One of the first things we did was go on wine tasting trip to Yakima. One of our favorite wineries is Chinook and not just because of their wines, but they had two goldens too.

When we opened in 2005 there were only about 345 wineries in Washington and today we are approaching over 900. Wineries were opening up left and right and we were at Chandler Reach before they had a door.

We've been lucky to enjoy some fabulous VIP events too, including the summer concerts at Chateau Ste Michelle and staying at the Cave B Inn.

 We've met some great people along the way, including some Seattle personalities. We had Marty Riemer from The Mountain 103.7 here three times for his CD release party.

One Saturday, WSU's Butch the Cougar showed up and surprised us! We never did find out how or why or who was behind the visit!


Every year we collect food for NW Harvest and deliver it during the King 5 Home Team Event.

We attended the WSU Enology & Viticulture Auction for a number of years and met some amazing people, including some of our top customers. The auction was eventually combined with Auction of Washington Wines, which we have not yet attended. 

We can't begin to count the number of puppies and dogs that have visited us - that's one of the best parts of working here! 

 Of course, our biggest attraction is our number one employee, Mac.

 We have also had so many fun events at the shop, from costume contests, book signings, olive oil tastings to Derby hat contests!

Ally attended "Pinot Camp" in 2008, which is an invite only experience in Oregon. Only 250 buyers from around the world are invited and you only get to go once. Over the three day conference, they visit numerous wineries, try over 300 wines and attend some fabulous dinners. It was an amazing experience.

Just putting this blog together trying to remember all of the fun & memorable moments we've had over ten years is hard work. There are so many to pick from!

We've also had our moments we'll never forget, especially when it came to snow storms. Seems like when they hit, they hit us hard!

We're grateful for to everyone who has helped us win Best Wine Shop 6 out of 8 years in King 5 Evening Magazine's Contest! We did get air time for it too! See the segment here!

It's hard to summarize all the amazing things we've experienced over the past 10 years. In fact, we'll probably come across another photo in a week and say "oh, that was fun too!" wishing we had included it. More than anything, this amazing journey wouldn't be possible without the support of our amazing customers - so thank you for supporting us these past 10 years! Cheers to you!