By Steve Siciliano
I’ve been a merchant for almost forty years now but it wasn’t until the middle phase of my mercantile career that I became infatuated with wine. During my first phase—the five years that I was a franchise owner of a 7-Eleven on Plainfield Avenue in Grand Rapids— fine wine was the last thing on my radar. Selling fifths of Boone’s Farm and four packs of Zima and Bartles & Jaymes was the closest I came to being a wine merchant.
I sold a lot of wine during the eight years that I owned a convenience store in the Creston Heights area but not a drop of it was varietal. Customers ignored the bottles of cab, chardonnay and merlot that sat on a small rack in a corner of the store, opting instead for the high octane of Thunderbird and Wild Irish Rose. It became apparent that if I wanted to fulfill my dream of being a fine wine merchant I would have to move on.