by Ian McNulty
A new retail shop for fine wines, liquors and specialty foods has opened on the edge of the downtown area. Keife & Co. debuted around the start of August, taking over an interesting corner location at Howard and Carondelet, on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line.
Business partners John Keife and Jim Yonkus had been planning Keife & Co. for several years while each worked in the retail and wholesale wine and specialty foods businesses.
“Our fundamental philosophy is to have wines that are good representations of their areas of origin,” says Keife. “We’re interested mainly in small producers.”
The interior design of the shop, with wine displayed in tall, library-style wooden shelves and an assortment of cured hams, cheeses and jugs of olives arrayed front and center, was inspired by a favorite wine shop in Barcelona, Keife says.
Specialty liquors, bitters and barware are also an important part of the operation, which is geared toward people interested in making craft cocktails at home. The shop’s motto is “fine-spirited wine merchants.”
“We think the guys at Cure are doing a great job, but why isn’t there something on the retail end to match that?” Keife says.
Keife & Co. hosts free wine tastings most Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The store is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Meanwhile, there’s a big wine tasting planned this Thursday at Hopper’s Carte des Vins, the Uptown shop that long-time local wine merchant Ric Hopper opened last summer.
This Aug. 23 event features 23 French wines from importer Peter Weygandt, whose label typically represents small producers across Europe. By way of explaining his own admiration for Weygandt’s selections, Hopper writes on his Web site that the importer “has a nose like the bovine finding the hidden truffles. He ferrets out really good wines — often at exceptionally reasonable prices.”
The format is a "walk around" tasting, meaning you can sample any of the wines that interest you at your own pace, while staff will be available to explain them. Hopper’s is charging $25 per person for this wine tasting, and reservations are required. The event is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For details and a list of the 23 wines selected for the event, click here.
Keife & Co.
801 Howard Ave., 523-7272
Hopper’s Carte des Vins
5601 Magazine St., 227-3888