Retail wine shop visit

    The retail shop I went to visit is called Bottoms Up Wines and Spirits located at 731 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238.I called in advance the day before to see if I could have a one on one with a sales person there, but no one picked up the phone. So I went the next day blind and to my surprise it was closed. I was not aware that wine shops don’t open that often in the morning. There was no sign telling me what time they opened, so I checked online and found out they open everyday at noon. I had class and work to attend to, so I went about my day and came back around seven. When I arrived at the store gates were open and the lights were on, finally. I walked into the establishment and say a young man no older than 25 sitting on a table and another young man no older than 32 sitting at the cash register. The younger man greeted me first with a “wazzup, what can I do for you?”, I immediately knew that this place was a more casual spot. I replied telling him about myself and why I was here, and he told me to look around and ask any questions I had.

 I noticed that the wines were separated by price, with the labels $14, $16, $18, etc. painted on the floor. After looking around I asked my questions about the wines and then finished with personal questions about themselves. The younger man’s name was Nick and he started working there 6 months ago, with little to no knowledge about wine and now he is moderately knowledgeable about the industry. He said he came in because he saw the help wanted sign, not because he was really interested in wines. But his interest quickly changed after he started learning about it. The other gentleman’s name was Andrew and he has been working there for only 2 months, but had past experience in another retail wine shop that he worked at for 2 ½ years. He said that this was his passion and will love to one day be a spokesperson for a high end wine corp.  

One thing I found really interesting was their “shelf talkers”. They were not in the open on a pedestal, they were where the other wines were but with a tag on them with a picture of people on them. Andrew explained that this is their way of expressing which is their favorite wines were, by putting this tag with pictures of their employees and having them explain the wine and why they like it. I liked this concept a lot because it creates a connection with the customers that the employees actually like what they are selling instead of selling an expensive wine that might not even taste good. I ended the night by telling them it was a pleasure meeting them, shaking both of their hands and I left.Red from Spain Wine from a place I didn't know made wine Sparkling wine not from France Another Shelf Talker Shelf Talker

Leiser Liquors Inc

The Retail Store that I visited is called Leiser’s located in Flushing; it has been open since 1947. With just over 3,500 square feet of store space, the store has a large collection of bottles to choose from. When I called the day before to ask about coming into the store, the woman Jan seemed intrigued by the project and willing to help. Unfortunately when I got to the store it seemed that she had already left. I consulted Jason, who was stocking at that time. I noticed off the bat that the store was divided into two main sections: wine bottles to the right and spirits to the left of the store. When I asked Jason, about how the wines were organized, he mentioned that they are separated by types of wines. For example, Rieslings were in one area, while champagnes and sparkling wines were in another. The good thing about this is that if you are looking for a particular style of wine, you know exactly what section to go to. It is also beneficial if you are looking to compare the different producers as well as how terroir or producer affects the taste of the wine. The downside to this was that I feel that rather than focus on the individual wines and branch out to try different regions or producers, people would tend to look at the price. Speaking of prices, I noticed that the more expensive wines were at eye level while the less expensive brands were at the bottom.


The Shelf talkers were very helpful in explaining some wine notes and food pairings for people who want to get into wine or are just looking to find something to go with their food. 


One of the countries that we did not cover in class was Greece. I found an Agiorgitiko Wine which is from red-wine grape from the Peloponnese peninsula. The Agiorgitiko grape is best grown in the mountainous and  Mediterranean temperatures of Greece. The labeling in the back described some of the flavor notes as well as food pairings.


When looking for the sparkling wine, I found that most were either from California or France. The one I chose was Meiome Sparkling wine made in  the Methode Champenoise. The label in the back mentions that the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Grapes had influences of “chilly fog and howling winds” from California’s North Coast. 


The Red Wine from Spain that I chose was a DOC (Denominación de Origen Calificada) Rioja Gran Reserva 904.

 Leiser’s has a large variety of wines which were moderately priced ranging from $7.99 to $149.00. Overall, the experience to Leiser’s was pleasant, Jason was helpful and seemed to be knowledgeable about the locations of the wines, unfortunately he did not know much when it came to the regions or specifications.

Winery Visit Assignment

    I had the pleasure to visit Kings County Distillery for my Winery Assignment. It is located at 299 Sands Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11205 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This was my first time to a distillery and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I scheduled my tour for 5pm, so I had to leave early. I used google maps to navigate me to the location and was confused at first at the building I approached. The building was brick with vines growing on the sides of the wall. I read the sign that welcomed me into a bar, as I walked inside I immediately thought I was at the wrong location. I was at a bar. As I attempted to close the door and leave, a woman yelled out, “ are you here for the tour?”, I opened the door again and introduced myself. She confirmed my reservation and started to bombard me with questions about who I was and why I was here. I had to interrupt her mid-question and asked her for the bathroom, I had to go badly. She pointed the way and I walked down this very old, but surprisingly sturdy staircase. The bathroom was ancient and a little demonic, with five lit candles under a mirror. When I arrived back upstairs it was time to start the tour. 

    We walked to another building, and this was where the whisky was made and sold. Lisa, our guide, showed us the room first and then we followed her into a discussion room, where she talked about how whisky came about. She mentioned things about prohibition, speakeasies, the whisky wars. After the history lesson she took us back down stairs to explain how the whisky is actually made. She explained the products needed to make whisky. First you make a mesh, which is the grain you use and is the sugar needed to make whisky. The combination they used was 80% corn and 20% molten barely. The mesh is cooked to break down the sugar and then placed into a cannon to separate the liquid from the solids. Yeast is added and the liquid is heated with steam to extract the alcohol from the water. Alcohol Evaporates at a lower temperature than water does, so the temperature is very important at this stage. If it is too high, too much water will be in the end product. The vapor then passes through copper pipes to cool down and is collected into a tank. There is a process called spirit run where the alcohol that is produced is separated from non consumable to consumable. The liquid that comes out first is Methanol and it comes out blue from the contact with copper in the production process. Then the rest is Alcohol. 

    The tour ended with the group having a whisky tasting. I didn’t like anything I had and since it was so strong I left the establishment with a pounding headache. Other than that I enjoyed myself and felt like I learned a lot about the whisky production process. 


Whisky for sale and display

For sale

Tasting room

“Kings County Distillery.” Kings County Distillery,

New York Distiller’s Guild. “NY Distilled.” New York Distiller’s Guild,

retail wine shop assignment

The wine location I went to was PJ Wine in Inwood. It’s located at 4898 Broadway New York, NY. It’s around 204th street in Manhattan. This location is a warehouse style Liquor store, so it was very spacious. As I walked in they had a slight incline in the walkway, and an automatic door. When I got to the door and entered I was greeted by an enthusiastic host. Along the whole wall they have wines organized by country and the countries consisted of everything from Spain, to New Zealand to South African. They also had wine on the floor, but most of the liquor like Hennessey, Irsih Whiskey, and Tequila. 

I liked the organization of the store. The fact that they had the liquor split by categories and everything was spaced out good it helped. Also everything Thursday, Friday, and Saturday they have tastings of both wines and liquors, of both new arrivals, and sale items they’re trying to push out. I had the opportunity to try Bushmills Irish Whiskey. For some reason they didn’t have “shelf talkers” in the store. I seen a sign that I thought was one but the worker said that it was just a paper explaining the organic wine options. 

The part of the store arrangement I didn’t was the cashier lines. The start of the line wasn’t clearly showed. There was a worker there but she didn’t make it known where the line began or ended. So until they called next I just stood there hoping I was going the right direction. 


The Red Hook Winery Visit

Outside of The Red Hook Winery.

As you walked down the small alleyway that leads towards the end of a pier, you think to yourself, have I made a mistake? Well, at least that’s what I thought to myself on a cloudy Monday as I used my GPS to find the Red Hook Winery. It’s not that it is located in a shady place, It’s just a little out of the ordinary. Walking through the doors on the winery was equally as magical as standing on the pier and staring at the view. The winery was elegantly decorated with barrels, which we would later learn, were made out of repurposed barrels that had been damaged during Hurricane Sandy. The ambiance had a flair of poshness while feeling relaxed and comforting all at the same time. Perhaps the relaxed feeling was directly influenced by the warm and welcoming smiles of our host Evan Wright. As soon as we walked in, he spoke to us as if he were expecting us, which he was because we had called him a couple of days earlier. 

The tour began with the introduction of the history of Red Hook Winery, its owner Mark Snyder and a brief introduction of where they source their grapes. Red Hook Winery gets their grapes from various vineyards located in two different American Viticultural Areas: The Finger Lakes and Northfork of Long Island. The Finger Lakes were “Created by the retreat of the last ice age, they function as energy batteries, both insulating the vineyards from harsh frosts during the winter and cooling them during the summer.” (Holland) As a result of the cold temperatures, similar to that of frigid mountainous Germany, The Finger Lakes sourced Riesling grapes that were ideal for winemaking. The other AVA that was mentioned was the Northfork of Long Island. “Long Island has a maritime climate and experiences cooler summers and warmer winters than the more-inland areas that surround it.” (Wine Searcher) The surrounding ocean moderate temperatures throughout the year which creates an ideal area for growing White Grapes, specifically Chardonnay.



While on our tour, Mr. Wright gave us three different Chardonnays. Ea ch chardonnay was made by a distinct wine maker with their own viticultural styles. By showing us the three different products, we were able to truly appreciate the importance of the wine making itself. While the grapes may all come from the same place, they each carried their own characteristics in color, taste and aroma. The first wine he had us try was a 2014 Chardonnay made by Christopher Nicolson, then 2013 Chardonnay by Robery Foley, and finally 2015 Chardonnay by Abe Schoener. Each winemaker has their own relationship with wine which reflected beautifully in the glasses. While Christopher Nicolson’s wine was light and fruity, it was tart but smooth, easily paired with a fatty fish like herby salmon. It turns out that Christopher Nicolson is also an Alaskan fisherman during the summer. Abe Schnoener’s Chardonnay was visually a more intense straw color while still being clear, it smelled of white fruit and earthy undertones, and tasted heavier. The flavors of pear, and green apple were more pronounced but to my surprise, it also had a hint of caramel taste to it which was evidence of malolactic fermentation. Another thing I noticed was that the wine was less filtered than the others, which is a reflection of Abe Schnoener’s more relaxed and natural approach to winemaking. The final Chardonnay we tried was Robert Forley’s wine. It was a nice medium between Schnoener’s bold flavors and Nicolson’s light flavors. The color of the wine was clear and light, fruity with pear and apple scents that are present but not overwhelming. The smell of vanilla was present but only lightly. The taste of the wine was well balanced and present but not overwhelming. It would probably pair well with buttery lamb dish. Mr. Wright also let us try a Reisling which smelled of lychee. It was citrusy and bold. Surprisingly though, it was not as tart as I thought it was going to be. It ended up being on the fruitier but light and well rounded side. It was very pleasant on the palate. 

We then walked through the back area where the grapes are processed into wine. It was fascinating to see how large the press actually was. It was big enough for me to stand completely straight inside of it. Mr. Wright also mentioned that one of the winemakers also processes the grapes through carbonic fermentation, also known as crushing the grapes by stepping on them.  Most of the barrels that were used to process the wine were made out of stainless steel while the barrels where the wines were stored were made out of oak. The wine is held in the barrels for up to two years. The room that holds the barrel is maintained at a temperature on average of 50 degrees. This temperature holds the grapes without it over-processing. The room is well organized and the barrels had labels to keep track of when they were stored. After the fermentation room, Wright showed us the thinking chairs, where they analyze wines while having a scenic view of the river, as well as the machine that bottles the wines. Red Hook is able to bottle up about 1,500 wines. We ended our tour in the front of the winery staring at the beautiful view of the river. Something about that view made the whole experience so much more worthwhile. I was very grateful for our tour guide for being so jovial, engaging, and always open to answer questions, he truly made this experience so much more intriguing. 

Grape Press Wine Barrels. Thinking Chairs


Holland, B. (2015, September 16). Inside New York Wine Country. Retrieved from

Long Island Wine Regions. (2014, July 18). Retrieved from island.

Our Story. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Kings County Distillery(Malcolm)

December the 6th around 1:00 pm me, and my mom went to Kings county Distillery for a tour. It is located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. This was on a side of Brooklyn that we don’t normally goes to, but the immediate area is nice enough. A little background on whiskey; per procedure whiskey is produced in pot stills made with grains, wheat, barley, etc. They produce moonshine which background came about during the prohibition, and is two things, one its a type of whiskey that is produced with corn, has a clear color like vodka/gin, and is very potent. Two 1 oz shots will have you seeing double vision. Reason comes from the second meaning behind its name is that its a name for alcohols that are illegally made. Moonshine became extremely popular, even long after prohibition ended, and now is a staple in the whiskey family.

 Upon arriving, and talking to the staff(the 2 was present), and was informed that the individual that handles the tour called out, but fair enough so we do the tasting which consists of three separate infusion whiskey flavors.

First one on the left is Jalapeno Grapefruit infused whiskey. Now at first though it would seam those flavors don’t mix, but surprise they do. With the grapefruit being the overall flavor there was present, but given that it tasted sweet I surmise it was pink grapefruit, plus it sweated the whiskey. The spiciness of the jalapeno was there the whole time, but not overwhelmingly spicy, more so mild.

The next one is the spiced whiskey. Now I am thinking this will be the best tasting one, but no I was wrong. The whiskey before I even tasted it was slightly overpowering with the spices that I picked up, such as; Cinnamon, ginger, star anise, cloves, and nutmeg. Upon tasting it I realize that it was harsher than originally thought, with the burn of the whiskey not helping. This one was a no go.

Last one that was tasted was the chocolate whiskey, again me being optimistic I think it’s going to be good, it was not. I know what chocolate they use, as I use the same for desserts. It was cacao, and because of the color, and how potent the smell, and taste was, I say it was about 80% cacao, because it was bitter, with the burn of the whiskey making it surprisingly better, with now hints of caramel behind the bitter. 

 Now I would of did more, but was starting to get an uncomfortable feeling as a one of the other customers that was there an older lady kept staring at me, and my mom for a few moments then turn away for the whole time we were there, but never really said anything to us, plus the two staff members who were working the bar was not really warm in terms of approach-ability, and even some of the other patrons doing the tasting felt the same way.

So me, and my mom wrap up up this visit, we take pictures; first of the shelf with their bourbons, moonshine, brandy, etc.

Photo of one of the navy yards original air raid instructions for when they had their drills.

Photo of their menu, and what they are offering. You see the infusion trio that I did

We ended the tour by buying a bottle of the Jalapeno grapefruit infused whisky, a bottle of straight bourbon, and a bottle of moonshine, all of them are 375 ml bottles, with the label stating where its from, and what’s in it.

5 Boroughs Brewery Beer Tour by Andre Goines

When starting this assignment my intentions at first was to go to a winery or vineyard since we talk about wine all the time in class; hence writing about one would make things less difficult for me. Since we are in New York City vineyards are scarce so I decided to go to Five Boroughs Brewery with my classmate Nafiysa Chapman. Nafiysa works at a bar that Five boroughs also distributes canned beer to ” Captain Dan’s”; she was already going to Five Boroughs Brewery for her assignment and she said I could tag along . The Brewery is located at 215 47th St, Brooklyn NY which is in sunset park and also a few stops away from City Tech on the R train; finding the place was essentially easy.

We arrived roughly around 4pm and entered the tap room which is in front of the brew house; and was greeted by Brian who is Brooklyn sales representative for Five Boroughs Brewery, he sells and promotes the beers that don’t sell in the tap room. The tap room inside looked like a tavern,very spacious, and has a lot of setting options for guest , after making these observations Brian explained that the tap room is also open four days a week Thursday to Sunday and operates as a bar; although for our tour and tasting the tap room was closed which I appreciated. Brian then escorted us counter where the beer on tap was located and proceeded with giving us a tasting of the 16 different beers they had available on tap.

Brian began the tasting by asking what beer did we liked to drink?  I answered and said that I liked corona he then explained to us that Corona is a Adjunct lager which is a beer that is made of anything but wheat or barley for example Corona is brewed using corn and not wheat or barley. Barley is traditionally used for making most beers and is one of the main components; we were also  told that Beer is made using four essential ingredients Water, Barley, Hops, & Yeast.

We ended up tasting most of the beers available on tap, the Beer that i personally enjoyed tasting the most would have to be the Honey lager beer. Brian explained that the honey used to brew this beer comes from the apiary and bee colony located at Industry city. The aroma of the beer smelled very gingery with a hint of honey which wasn’t too overwhelming; the taste of the beer was very light and smooth coming down the back of the throat, the honey hits the back of the palate but its not as much of a prominent taste . this is a beer that I would definitely buy if offered at an establishment.

As the tasting concluded we started to go on our tour of the brewhouse which was a few feet beyond the tap room. Right before you go deep into the brewhouse there’s a walk in refrigerator where a lot of there bulk yeast and hops are stored as well as kegs and beer that has to reach curtain temperatures; on the floor above are the offices where the CTO and accountants work. to the left of the Walk in refrigerator is a large tank and pipes to filter out the waste water after Fermentation takes place in the larger industrial fermentation tanks. As we continued the tour Brian explain the beer making process by first escorting us to where the barley is grounded together into a fine smaller pieces and releases the sugar content  the machinery used to do this is called a Mill and we saw brewers adding barley as it was being mashed. Then we were escourted to the fermentation tanks and the tanks did range in size and were labeled by what beer was being made; these tanks were adjacent to the Mill on the left side of the brewery. Also there are pipes that the waste water comes out of the Fermentation tanks and is syphoned into the waste water tank I explained before; Brian explained that they pride themselves on managing the waste and making sure that nothing harmful is entering the environment due to the beer making process. on the right side of the brewhouse was the labeling, canning, and packaging station where there is a huge conveyer belt. I personally would of loved a demonstration of the labeling and packaging but at the time they were not labeling or packaging anything. The tour concluded with Brian showing us the rear of the brewhouse which was filled with wine barrels; when we asked what was the point of the barrels he explained that to make sour beers the beer could be fermented in the barrels for a more distinct taste; another observation we made was that they had a lot of cats and this is done to turn away any rodents or pest that will may enter the brewhouse through they’re garage opening which is also in the rear of the brewhouse.

The tour and tasted lasted about two and a half hours and overall my expectations of this tour was exceeded; I learned more than I expected and have a new appreciation for beer that I never thought I had; Me and Nafiysa both agreed that we would go again during the bar hours as customers.



Tasting 16 different beers at 5 Boroughs Brewery


Brewery Mill where Barley is mashed for Beer Fermentation


Barley used for Brewing Beers


5 Boroughs Brewery
Beer Fermentation Tanks
( Smaller )


5 Boroughs Brewery
Beer Fermentation Tanks (Large) &  wine barrels used for making sour beer


Me and Nafiysa 
@ 5 Boroughs Brewery
Sunset Park; Brooklyn


Chris Retail Wine Shop

The wine shop I decided to visit was on located on 87th st and Northern Blvd in Queens NY, the shop is called Addictive Boutique Winery. They have been opened since 2013 and what is pretty cool about this specific spot is they own a wine and tapas place right across the street from the shop. I have personally been to this retail shop before during the semester to purchase wines for an event and the lady was very helpful and giving me a lot of advice on what is best to choose the day of. That is what made me want to come back because I believed I could get some in-depth information on the set up of the shop and ask about distributors, but did not get much.

When I arrived to the door it was locked I had made sure to check the times online so I wouldn’t waste time, but a note was left saying “call I am here”. I called and the lady ran from the back to get the door, I introduced myself and told her I was in the hospitality major and am taking a wine class and was doing a project on retail shops I was hoping she would be interested in helping but just put her arm out and sat at the register. The place inside is very rustic like all wooden interior. As I started walking around I was trying to see if the way the wines were displayed, each section had a country and the bottles laying down. They don’t have wine notes which I wish they had but thats why we study wine. They have a huge collection of Spain wines and sparkling wines that over populated the rest of the shop. Could be because of the restaurant in front since its tapas customers prefer that Country slipped my mind. When I did have a question she would get up and explain or point me out a different wine and explain a bit which I did appreciate.

One of the questions I did ask since they dont have wine notes are how do they decide what to display? she told me the owner display all new bottles at the top and go down, one because its at eye view and two they will ask questions about it since its new which made sense because you want tot sell new products quick because the consumer wants to go back to what they normally drink, so they have a challenge to sell them something they may enjoy.

I got to see a lot in this place a lot of new names how they display there selections I wish they could somehow split it up into clear sections so one side USA, the next South America etc to really get clearity spacing my be in issue but it could confuse the consumer. As my trip concluded I felt like I could not leave without purchasing a bottle for myself. I picked up a bottle of Chenin Blanc + Viognier a white Blend from California 2018 From Vineyard Pineyards. Overall a little disappointed with my visit but they do free tastings very Friday night so I’m hoping to stop one night to see how that goes! As well as trying the tapas restaurant which I recommend all to visit since they are well rounded in the topics of wine!

(could not upload pictures will be sending to you)

Kings County Distillery

Kings County Distillery

For this assignment I decided to go to Kings County distillery located at 299 Sands Street, Brooklyn, NewYork, 11205 Although it was convenient for me to get there after work I unfortunately got there 30 minutes after 5pm so the tours were over. One of the people that work there however was nice enough to sit down and still enlighten me on the process of making spirits and the growth of the business since 2010 when they first open. I also took the opportunity to order a drink as well so I could say I tasted whiskey from the oldest distillery in NewYork. Kings county distillery is not only the oldest but also the largest  is NewYork. When I arrived I went all the way into Wegmans supermarket because i was confused as to the location of the distillery. I was directed into the right place eventually but again was confused. So as I walked in, I knew I was in the right place only because the sign outside of the door said tour and bar and the smell of the bar wasn’t like that of others. When I walked in, there were people sitting down but no one behind the bar. I assumed that I had to go downstairs to find someone that worked there, and so I did. Now as i was going downstairs i felt like i was in a scary movie because the stairs were spiral and it was really quiet and a lot of locked doors. When I realized there was nothing down there I quickly came back up and went across the street to the other building and knocked on the door. Someone came out and i asked him may I please have a tour? I could tell by the look on his face that something was wrong. He said “ lets go inside the bar it’s cold out here”. We went back into the bar and he explained to me that I was late and I could come back another day. I knew that would not be possible with my work and school schedule so I asked him if he was willing to spend a little time explaining to me the process in which they make their product and how they are expanding their business because that place looked pretty small to me. He began to tell me that as a small company their ties actually run deep. They distribute to about 9 different international countries and 20 cities around America. As for the spirits, it is all mashed, fermented, distilled, and aged right there in the facility. They use grains and products 100%grown here in the U.S and traditional distilling equipment to prepare the beverages. The spirits get 50% of their color smell and taste from the charred oak barrels they are ages in. some of the tasting notes you may pick up from their bourbons are Caramel, Vanilla, and holiday spices. He then explained to get the full picture I needed to see all of the equipment that is used but since i cannot at the moment he suggested a drink so that i may taste the quality. Since I am not a big drinker, I do not know what good quality and bad quality spirits taste like but i agreed non the less because he did not have to take his time to discuss with me.