Page 32 - The Hunt - Fall 2019
P. 32

                FOOD & DRINK
  Linda Collier at her namesake shop in Centreville, Del.
When national big-box wine and spirits chains arrived in Delaware in the early 1990s, it appeared to foreshadow the demise of the small, locally owned shops. While customers always valued the expert selection process and personal touch found at Collier’s, the Wine & Spirit Co.
of Greenville, Franks Wine and Kreston Wine & Spirits, one might assume that lower prices and a larger selection would win out.
But that hasn’t really been the case. Though the new entries may have changed some business dynamics, local shops have survived and even spawned some interesting new ones. Their bespoke services cover both
everyday drinking needs and the sort of special occasions that warrant cellar selections.
After living in Europe for a time,
Linda Collier opened her eponymous store
in downtown Wilmington, Del., nearly
40 years ago. “That first shop was open because of self-preservation, as there wasn’t much of anything I could drink in the state
at that time,” she quips. “After opening,
I did meet a couple of people who had a selection that would’ve worked fine for me, and I continued to joke with Walter Rabe (the legendary proprietary of Ward’s on the city’s west side) that if I’d first discovered him, I may not have been so driven to open my own shop.”
Collier opened a second location in Centreville, Del., in 1990, and she continued to run both locations for several years before closing the original shop. Over the years, she’s discovered that serious wine drinkers
are looking for something different. “Once they started thinking a bit about what they’re going to have each night with what they’re eating, the weather, their mood, who they’re sharing it with—once all of those thoughts enter into the equation, then they’re serious wine drinkers.”
David Govatos is newer to the business. He worked in wine distribution for several years before opening Swigg Real Wine, Craft Beer & Spirits. Swigg’s customers
are a somewhat younger crowd, though certainly well past their college beer-drinking adventures. “We’d always been on the forefront of carrying non- interventionist wines—farm to glass, if
you will—from importers like Rosenthal, PortoVino and Kermit Lynch, which have producers I’d certainly deem natural,” says Govatos of his Wilmington shop. “We’ve also been on the cutting edge, carrying wines
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