Within these departments are true lovers and connoisseurs of all things that delight the palate and senses. We’re a combination of wine lovers, beer lovers, chocolate lovers and cheese lovers with one goal in mind, to share this love with you. Our shelf space is small, thus we’re very picky about what ends up on them.
Wine Standards: All wine is first tasted by our buyers before it is brought into the store. Wine must meet our quality standards in terms of authenticity, varietal correctness, and growing methods. We look for wines with personality, that have a story to tell- they must possess a sense of “place”, also known as terroir.
Our wine selection is balanced. We do not go by press, media or “points” as many other wines shops do. All tasting notes are written by our expert wine buyers and updated regularly. We offer personal opinions, tasting notes and pairing for each wine upon request.
We do not buy mass produced wines that are consistently the same year after year. Instead, we look for small, family-oriented wines with a sense of tradition and history that change based on climate and environment. We love organic and biodynamic wines and buy these whenever possible. As with other products, wine that is labeled “organic” can still be inauthentically mass-produced, thus we do not buy organic wine based solely on labeling.
Local Wines: We also support our local wine growing industry in a large way and are always expanding our Virginia sections. Supporting smaller wineries with a more hands-on approach is a key part of our mission and strengthens our relationships with our local vineyards and producers. Plus, Virginia can produce some pretty darn good wine.
Beer Standards: We’re committed to small-scale, local, regional and craft breweries that put dedication and creativity into each brew they create, no matter how big the order is. We look for beers and ales that don’t use large amounts of fillers and artificial ingredients, beers that have hand selected ingredients that we can taste with every sip.
We put an emphasis on seasonality, with styles of beer represented at appropriate times of the year. Small Belgians, eclectic breweries and limited batches are the pride and joy of the beer department. We carry all local breweries available to us and also provide a selection of gluten-free and non-alcoholic beers available to our customers.
Local Breweries: Virginia is lucky enough to be home to many local breweries that celebrate these same standards. In fact, some of our favorite beers come from in and around Richmond. If you’re looking for something tasty that comes from around these parts, just ask one of our stewards. For a list of local breweries that we’re proud to carry, visit our Local Vendor’s Page.
We do carry a small selection of larger, international labels, sourcing from countries such as Germany, Italy, England. We tend to pick up a good amount of limited releases and micro-batches along the way.
Cheese Standards: Our cheesemongers love cheese, period. When it comes down to decision time, only the best make the cut. Since we’re a small, locally-owned company, our buying starts at a department level rather than from corporate offices hundreds of miles away. We choose cheeses that have no dyes, no hormones, no stabilizers or preservatives. No processed cheese food, period.
Domestic & Local Cheese: Our domestic and local cheeses typically start with small, family run homesteads that own their own herd, controlling the process the entire way through. These artisan producers don’t use any artificial colorings, dyes or flavors and continually practice sustainable grazing and cheese making techniques year round.
European Cheeses: European cheeses set themselves apart from domestic cheeses simply due to history. European producers have a long record of authenticity and tradition that has yet to change. Their high standards are centuries old and are so well established and regulated that purity comes without guessing. We typically select small production farms with traditional practices that have proven the test of time.
Gourmet (olives, chocolates, etc.): Items in this section are chosen based on popularity as well as customer requests and feedback. Products here must always be clean of artificial and synthetic ingredients. We have a balance between larger producers all the way down to locally, handcrafted items.
Transparency through the FoodMatch program plays an integral role in the ordering and quality of our Mediterranean-based foods. FoodMatch begins in the fields and groves of small European farms working side by side with their growers to establish the best farming practices. From irrigation and pruning to hand harvesting and selection to all-natural, artisanal curing, FoodMatch is committed to providing delicious and natural Mediterranean foods that are a true expression of their origin.