Saturday, December 2, 2006

Why are we here?

Of course we want to sell wine. That's how we pay the rent. But what makes someone want to own a wine shop? Motives do vary. Some people want to be the biggest, or perhaps the cheapest. Some want to sell to everybody and some are just filling a hole in their store in the hopes of picking up a few extra bucks. Some want to rule the world.

There are a few of us, however, who are in this business because we have a real passion for wine. At Southside Cellars, we come as close as humanly possible to tasting every wine we sell before we offer it to you. And we taste a lot of wines that we don't choose to carry. There's more to this than just offering every wine in the world to our customers, and letting them sort it out.

We know our suppliers...and their suppliers. We know who makes great wines and who makes dreck. We know what's priced fairly, which wines are truly bargains, and which ones are over-priced. Basically, we can get any wine that's available in Florida, and we are happy to special order whatever you want. But the wines we do sell, represent what we think are the best of those we have tried so far.

We know a bit about winemaking, too. We know what it takes to make a great wine, whether it's a 50-case rare jewel or just a quality high production "every-day" kind of wine. We look for producers who care about their product, and uphold their standards of quality regardless
of outside pressures. There are great wines at every price point, but we avoid the hype from mega-case producers (those folks who really do want to rule the world!) and we seek out small to medium sized producers who put the same passion into their wines that we would if we were making them ourselves.

It's our philosophy, our number one rule, that we play straight with our customers, our staff, our providers and even our competitors. We will never recommend a wine unless we think it is a good wine, representative of the varietal or style, and priced fairly. We'll try as hard as we can to gauge your tastes before we recommend a wine. We'll never "up-sell" to try to get you to buy a more expensive wine. You have our word that, when we recommend a wine, especially a wine that you've never heard of, it's a good (or better!) wine at a fair price.

Earlier this year, many of you shared our joy when Tom was names "Small Business Leader of the Year" by the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce. On a personal level, it's been a great year, full of challenges and opportunity. We know that we are in a competitive market. Wine is a hot commodity, and it seems like every few months someone opens a wine store or wine bar. But the business climate here in Jacksonville is strong and there's room for all of us in the market. We know that you have a choice every day, with huge mass-market retailers, little guys like us, and just about everything in between. Let's just say that we appreciate those of you who value the care, service, honesty and experience that we provide. As much as we like the wine, our customers, many of whom have become friends, are the best thing about our little wine store.