Wine Time

Wine of the Week - Patrick Storfer of Spec's

Patrick Storfer has been working for Spec's for ten years. Currently, he is a wine consultant at the Spec's on Smith, but soon he will be the wine manager at the new Spec's on Weslayan and Bissonnet. Storfer left Spec's for a year to explore other options but quickly returned. "I realized I had the best job in the world," he says.

With 14,000 to 16,000 wines, the largest liquor store in the world has a wine for everyone, and Storfer will help you find it. How did he get into the wine business? "My dad has always been into wine, so I've been drinking wine since birth," he says. "I'm pretty sure they gave it to me in the delivery room."

Storfer has no formal training in wine, but you'd never know that. He can tell you just about anything and everything about wine, and not in that pretentious, have-no-clue what-he's-saying kind of way. So, what's his favorite? "I believe there is a wine for every mood," he says. "I haven't found a mood that doesn't have a good wine."

On our visit to Spec's, we asked him to recommend one of his favorites, then held our breath hoping he wouldn't suggest a $100 bottle. We love wine, but we have our limits. But Storfer read our mind. He recommended an inexpensive red from Southern France, Saint Cosme Little James' Basket Press. "It's not a landmark wine, but it's a great everyday wine." Most wines from this prestigious region run anywhere from $20 to $40, so this wine made from Grenache grapes was a steal for around $10.

For Storfer, the hardest part about helping customers is getting good information from them about their wine tastes. "Most people won't admit they like fruity wines," he says. "Instead, they claim to drink dry wines when they really don't." But that doesn't stop him from trying. "I believe in helping the first customer who needs my attention. Even if they are only buying a $6 wine, you have to stick to your principles."

Storfer even keeps a notebook of customers with special requests. It doesn't matter if you want a case of $10 wine or just a heads-up on new items, Storfer will call you personally and let you know. That's customer service.

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Jane Catherine Collins