Steve Freedman, owner
After a 30 year career in the wine business, Steve and his family moved here from New York in 1994 to start his next life.
His career had covered all aspects of the wine business. Steve began his wine career after deciding that life was too short to not enjoy your work. He resigned from his Marketing Managers job in New York and took a substantial cut in income to follow his hobby (wine) into business, beginning at Sherry-Lehmann, New York's pre-eminent wine shop. This led to positions running wholesale companies in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts as well senior Marketing positions with two large national wine importers.
Having seen the wine business from all levels, he decided to open his own business and chose Amherst for its quality-of-life as well as business potential. "We wanted to raise our two children in a community with excellent schools and the kind of values we felt strongly about. It was scary – we knew no one in the area and started from absolute scratch."
Steve did, however, have a few things going for him – extensive contacts within the industry and knowledge of his products. "During my years in the business I have been fortunate to visit and get to know most major wine producing regions in Europe and the U.S. and have gained an understanding from the ground (literally) up. This has proven invaluable to me in choosing the right wines for my shop. I am somewhat fanatical about selecting wines to sell. I taste everything. For each wine in the store there are about 15 which haven't passed muster."
The kids have grown up, Steve and Laurie have made new friends in the Valley, and he has not looked back. "I've been lucky."
Sharon walked in as a customer in the very early days. One thing led to another and by early 1997 she had shifted sides of the counter to the benefit of the store and its customers. An archeologist by training, Sharon brings her love for wine, cheerful disposition, and enthusiasm to every encounter. She is quite knowledgeable about our entire selection. She and her dog, Daisy, a favorite with the kids, can be found here each Wednesday and Sunday and other times as needed.
Mark joined us three years ago and is a regular here on Saturdays. He's an Associate Professor of Culinary Arts at Holyoke Community College. His knowledge of food is, as you might expect, a real asset to our customers. Mark is especially fond of Italian wines, having spent two summers working in restaurant kitchens in Italy. A "go to" guy for food-wine pairings.
When John isn't busy selling houses, working in local restaurants, snowboarding, or playing golf, you'll find him at our store. He is the chief pourer at our Saturday wine tastings. John joined our small band of wine crazies in early 2001 armed with a willing smile and budding interest in wines, which has blossomed into well-rounded wine knowledge in the eight years he's been here.