I had been to wineries and tasting rooms before, but none that boasted a “gourmet experience,” and I was pleasantly surprised by what I discovered inside. Peter Ricci, marketing director, took some time to answer my questions about Taste. Peter has been in the wine industry for over 40 years and is therefore extremely knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the industry, gourmet products, and all things grape related.
Sand Castle Winery has been around for 30 years, but a couple of years ago they made the jump into their first gourmet tasting room located in Warrington. “We decided to look at the bigger picture, wine and food,” explained Peter. For other states, this gourmet food and wine combo is more common, but for Pennsylvania it’s a new experience. Because of Warrington’s success and Phoenixville’s growth and location, Peter said this new store was a logical next step. You’ve probably noticed that Phoenixville has its fair share of BYOBs, which makes the town very attractive to local wineries!
If you have any sort of love for wine, cheese or other gourmet items, you will feel like a kid in a (somewhat boozy) candy store inside Taste. The room is warm and spacious, inviting patrons to explore and taste. There are small tables and a bar; plenty of room to enjoy a tasting or even a wine flight and some light appetizers.
Taste features 12 Sand Castle wines, priced from $13 to $30. At one point in our conversation Peter told me that Sand Castle “has the best red wines in PA because we age them in red oak for 2 to 3 years,” so I will definitely be returning to Taste for a bottle. Taste also carries a variety of Extra Virgin Olive Oils, Balsamic Vinegars, Di Bruno Bros Cheeses, other assorted gourmet foods and fun wine related gifts. Peter helped me taste a few of the olive oils and vinegars—my favorite was the peach white balsamic.
Taste clearly has a lot to offer, from tastings and gifts, to classes and party packages, as outlined here on their website. It is an exciting addition to Bridge Street, and something that will certainly have locals talking.
The overarching theme of my chat with Peter, however, was that Taste is all about learning. “We strongly believe that the most important thing you can do is educate the public; the more educated a person is, the better it is for the industry as a whole,” Peter mused.
He explained that Pennsylvania wine is largely underrated and unknown. Peter feels that “PA wines are truly good, the public just doesn’t know!” Therefore, Taste is about overcoming people’s preconceived notions about something they have not yet tried.
“If you taste and learn something, then we’ve been successful,” says Peter of Taste. This idea that education should come before a sale is refreshing and exciting, and is reflected in the way Peter talks about his customers and in the classes offered that teach wine and food pairings. Stop by soon to check out the wide variety of gourmet products offered, and better yet, have a taste!
Find Taste at 236 Bridge Street in Phoenixville or online at .sandcastlewinery.com/taste.