Winestyles uncorks ‘boutique’ blends in Park Ridge
Tracy Bell is the owner of Winestyles in Park Ridge which is celebrating its fifth anniversary. | Jennifer Johnson~Sun-Times Media
ADDRESS: 105 S. Northwest Hwy., Park Ridge
SPECIALTY: ‘Boutique’ wines from around the world
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:07AM
PARK RIDGE — Five years ago, Tracy and Doug Bell’s love of wine turned into a business opportunity.
A visit to a Winestyles store while on a trip to Florida encouraged the couple to open their own franchise in their hometown of Park Ridge — and they have been offering the community a selection of distinctive wines ever since.
“We try to have more ‘boutique’ wines that are unique, small-production wines,” Tracy Bell said. Doing so helps the store, located at 105 S. Northwest Highway., survive growing competition from more and more wine sellers in the community, Bell believes.
The majority of the wines sold at Winestyles are not mainstream or found in larger grocery store chains, she explained. The store will also take special orders if a customer is looking for a label that is not among the more than 200 types sold there.
“If it is distributed in Illinois and we can find it, we’re happy to special-order it,” Bell said.
Some of the top sellers at Park Ridge’s Winestyles are Montepulciano, an Italian red wine, and Los Primos, a white wine from Argentina.
A monthly wine club also gives customers an opportunity to try new varieties. For $34.99 club members will receive two bottles of wine and for $49.99 they receive three bottles.
“They are wines from all different regions each month,” Bell said.
Bell’s personal favorites are Miner Pinot Noir from California and Rhone blends from France or Paso Robles, Calif.
A particularly popular section of the store is the “Six for 60” table where shoppers can choose six different wines for $60. Most wines in the store cost between $10 and $25, though there is a small section of higher-priced labels as well.
In addition to wine, Winestyles sells 40 different craft beers and painted wine glasses designed by local artist Angelia Gallios.
Winestyles also holds weekly wine tastings on Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. and hosts fundraisers for many local organizations. To mark the store’s fifth anniversary in Park Ridge a special two-day wine tasting will be held Friday, Nov. 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 1 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Wine tastings are free for Wine Club and Beer Club members. The special anniversary tasting is $10 for non-members.
Having marked five years in business, Bell cites competition as one of the challenges, but returning customers as an obvious advantage.
“The positives are all the people we have met and the friendships we have formed with our customers and the community,” she said.