Wine Tasting Turks and Caicos Style
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TURKS AND CAICOS - After only briefly meeting Mr. Anthony Garland, I’m convinced there isn’t much about wine that this connoisseur doesn’t know. Mr. Garland is the Operations Manager at Providenciales’ The Wine Cellar where he has continually added to his reputation as an oenophile over the past twenty-one years.
The store boasts a twenty-three year history since it first opened as Discount Liquors. Then, about ten years ago, the owners realized that the name Discount Liquors offered insufficient emphasis on their growing wine business, so they adopted the DBA name The Wine Cellar.
“At that stage,” Mr. Garland explained, “we were in the process of expanding our wine portfolio so that by doing business as The Wine Cellar, we were sending a message to our clientele that we weren’t only a liquor store.”
For years, varietals from European vineyards (like B&G and Georges Deboeuf) and American vineyards (like Beringer and Robert Mondavi) dominated sales, but recently boutique vineyards have become popular in the USA and Europe. Boutique wineries are small, usually independent operations producing less than 5,000 cases a year, and their wines express a particular passion of the winemaker..
“When we started to expand,” Mr. Garland said, “we brought in a consultant from Hungary via Chicago named Ivan Kennesy. His job as consultant was to build our wine portfolio.” As his understudy, Mr. Garland traveled with Mr. Kennesy throughout the wine world. It was becoming clear how Mr. Garland had become so knowledgeable about wine.
After Ivan Kennesy retired, managing and building the portfolio, especially the wine portfolio, fell to Anthony Garland. He managed both the wine and spirits portfolios but with emphasis on wine which was becoming increasingly popular in the USA and Canada and had become, in fact, a hot commodity.
The vibe at The Wine Cellar is relaxed—once you get over the excitement of having more wines to check out than you have time. On a thirty-eight square mile Caribbean island it’s just totally unexpected to walk into a wine store and discover thousands of bottles from all over the world. And if you happen to be at The Wine Cellar on Thursday, Friday or Saturday afternoons at three, you can join other wine lovers, kick back and wine taste with entertaining store manager Jesús Antolinez. The B&G white was a steal at $8.99, and the Italian Voga was so delicious that we picked up a case.
The Wine Cellar also represents the top three spirit producers in the world: Diageo, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard, in addition to LVMH (Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton), so The Wine Cellar boasts an extensive selection of cognacs, whiskeys, and scotches. Because they are part of the portfolios of the top three spirit producers, it’s likely you’ll find your favourite cordials and liqueurs here as well.
For all you beer lovers, The Wine Shop currently represents two of the biggest producers globally, Coors and SABMiller, so again, the selection is wide. Get your Coors, Heineken, Corona Extra, Molson, Guinness and Red Stripe here.
It’s always fun to try the local brew, so beer lovers will want to taste Turk’s Head and carry home a few bottles or cans for their collections. Turk’s Head comes in a light, delicious lager or a heavier amber, and is produced in a microbrewery right here in Providenciales.
Bambarra rum, the “Spirit of the Turks and Caicos,” is available in White or Gold or Reserve. Bambarra is a great rum to recreate those rum punch recipes or after dinner coffees you enjoyed in the Islands. The colorful bottle will definitely be a conversation piece on your bar.
”You’ll even find an extensive selection of cigars at The Wine Cellar,” Mr. Garland added. “We stock Cuban brands like Montecristo, Cohiba, Punch, Bolivar and of course, we have the local brand Turks Select. Turks Select is blended exclusively for the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Dominican Republic using Dominican tobacco, and the Wine Cellar is the local distributor.” Turks Select Cigar’s first blend was named “1841” to commemorate a special moment in local history that year when slave ship Trouvadore sank while transporting a group of Africans across the Atlantic.
In response to where he thought the best wines were being produced, Mr. Garland agreed with Jesús. “It’s a difficult question to answer since everybody’s palate is different. As Jesús said in the video, wines from Chile, Australia and New Zealand are popular right now. Our California section is still doing well, but in this economical climate, Chile, Australia and New Zealand are making better priced, value-driven wines.”
I asked about short and long range plans for The Wine Cellar.
“Short range, The Wine Cellar is looking to survive this economy, but we’re doing okay. Business is down and it’s been a tough ride as it has been for everybody, but we think we’ll be fine. Long range we have no plans for further expansion from a capital investment standpoint, like in buildings, but quite possibly we’ll expand from a personnel standpoint as the economy revives and we need to provide more service.”
Stop in, browse, taste some wine, and if you have any questions Jesús can’t answer, Mr. Garland will be happy to come downstairs and visit with you. The Wine Cellar— a bit of wine country in the fabulous Turks and Caicos Islands!
The Wine Cellar Leeward Highway Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands Phone: 1-649-946-4536 Mon - Sat: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm http://www.winecellar.tc