No expertise needed for Wine Styles
August 28, 2008 · Updated 9:33 AM
MARYSVILLE We like drinking wine, said Eric Emry, the male half of the husband and wife team that are running the citys newest and possibly most unique wine shop.
We are wine consumers, Eric continued. We are not wine connoisseurs.
Wife Vicki described Wine Styles as a quiet, low-key spot for visitors to come and enjoy a nice glass of wine and a small snack.
And if you really, really enjoy that glass of wine, you can take the bottle home with you.
And maybe a gift basket.
Or a wine themed T-shirt.
Having opened its doors late last month, Wine Styles sits on 64th Street in the Allen Creek Shopping Plaza. A grand opening is planned for March 7.
We knew this would be a place we would come to, Eric said, in explaining why he decided on a wine shop when looking around for something to do after he retired following 28 years in the Navy.
Eric likes to talk about how Wine Styles takes a different approach to sales than most wine stores.
For one thing, visitors quickly will notice the organization of the wines that line the walls, setting in decorative, recessed alcoves. There is none of the usual placement of wines into categories such as Merlot, white or just about any other wine term you can think of.
Instead, signs give clues as to the taste or feel of the wines. For example, you might want something fruity, or mellow or crisp or bubbly. Signs also point out what type of wine goes with certain types of food.
In short, Eric said, if you come into Wine Styles and dont really know a Merlot from a Zinfandel, you really dont have to. You can still walk out with a good bottle that should taste great by itself or go well with whatever meal you are planning. Eric added that during the recent Super Bowl weekend he had plenty of inquiries into what type of wine goes with chili.
His answer was, by the way, anything bold.
Cost is another important aspect of Wine Styles approach. For almost all the bottles in the store, prices run between $9 and $25. Of course, there is a selection of more expensive wines.
If you are determined to spend more than $25, well be glad to let you, Eric said.
For Eric and Vicki, featuring some local wines was very important.
We have people ask all the time if we have any local wines, Eric said. The answer is, How local do want?
For instance, Willis Hall wines travel about five to 10 minutes to reach the Emerys shelves. Griffins Crossing selections arrive from Lake Stevens.
A sort of informal, laid back approach is another feature of the Wine Style operation. For example, one recent Friday night wine testing featured wines that started with the letters TGIF.
Wine Styles is a franchised operation, the nearest stores to the new Marysville location sitting in Federal Way and Bonnie Lake. Eric said the company put a lot of pressure on him to locate his store in Seattle or Bellevue.
We really had to talk them into this, he said.
Weve had folks come in and say Marysville really needed a place like this, Vicki said.
Neither Eric nor Vicki are strangers to this area, even though theyve been gone for a while and neither grew up here. Eric spent three years as the Command Master Chief of Naval Station Everett. As such, he was the highest-ranking enlisted person on the base. He left two years ago to help supervise construction of the destroyer, U.S.S. Gridley. But both Eric and Vicki enjoyed their time in northwestern Washington.
We just fell in love with the area, Eric said, talking about the many opportunities to hike and bike. He talked about planned trips to Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens.
Its just been a lot of fun so far, Vicki said, referring both to helping to run the store and to having her husband around full-time for the first time in years.
Its wonderful. Its something weve been wanting to do since we met, Vicki added.
The store really is a family affair as daughter Amanda Olson also works at Wine Styles.
So far weve been doing just fine, Eric said. He pauses for just a beat.
Of course, we havent even paid the rent yet.