Marilyn Pauley and Betty Szczutkowski, co-owners of the South Charleston Wine Shoppe, stand in front of a display of antique glassware and behind the tasting table. On the table is an example of one of their gift baskets.
Close up of the many different styles of antique glassware for sale at the South Charleston Wine Shoppe.
A display of West Virginia wines available at the South Charleston Wine Shoppe.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Marilyn Pauley spent 27 years as the Alcohol Beverage Control's wine administrator, but she said, "It has always been my dream to own a wine shop." Two months ago she made that dream a reality.
In partnership with her mother, Betty Szczutkowski, Pauley opened South Charleston Wine Shoppe. Located at 342 MacCorkle Ave., the shop is a block east of the South Charleston Mound and offers wines from all over the world, including wines from West Virginia, France and South Africa.
Wine samplings are offered every Friday and Saturday to introduce customers to new varietals.
"We want to expand our customers' horizons," Pauley said. "That way they don't have to pay $20 for a bottle of wine they may, or may not, like."
The store is designed to be comfortable and accessible to customers. Pauley wants her clients to feel at ease purchasing wine and asking questions. On many of the shelves hang tasting notes, describing the wine's flavor and helping customers get a better idea of what they might like in a new wine.
Pauley said her method of wine selection is simple. "I went through and chose wines I like. I also took recommendations from distributors about wines that were good sellers.
More importantly, she said, "I let the customers decide what the inventory is. They tell me what they like, or what their favorite wine is, and I find it and add it to the inventory."
That inventory is constantly changing as Pauley strives to give her customers a unique experience.
"I try to carry what isn't found in the grocery stores or pharmacies. I want people to be able to experience different wines. There are just so many wines available."
Anxious to meet the needs of her customers and to help them expand their palates, she said, "Someone may come in this week and try a petite syrah for the first time, then next week they'll want to try a different petite syrah. So I have to stay up on what is going on in the wine world so I can meet people's needs."
The varietals offered for the weekly samplings, from noon to 6 p.m., are announced on the shop's Facebook page, with tasting notes.
In addition to wine, Pauley sells wine paraphernalia, a large selection of vintage glassware (which she collected for years in anticipation of owning her store), and a small selection of Amish cheese. She plans to expand the selection of cheese as she determines what people prefer.
Pauley also provides a gift basket service. She is partnering with other South Charleston businesses and putting together baskets that include items like a bottle of wine, a loaf of local bread, some cheese and other goodies. She said the baskets are the perfect gift idea for someone who isn't exactly sure what to give.
Although Pauley has no current plans to expand to other products, she has had several requests to carry imported beer and said she will consider it in the future.
The South Charleston Wine Shoppe is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SCWineShoppe
or at their new website www.scwineshoppe.com
. There is free parking in front of the store and additional parking to the side and rear of the building.
Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at firstname.lastname@example.org