In any city, I love finding a great local wine retailer. These are the small shops owned by people from your community, who make the more uncommon and fabulous wines available- and who have the time to talk to you about them. Find these people. Befriend them. Learn from them! And if you live anywhere near Millbrae CA, then Alex Bernardo is your man, and Vineyard Gate is your next stop!
I loved this sunny little store, with its hundreds of small-production, off the beaten track kind of wines. This is Disneyland for Wine Geeks. Alex Bernardo founded Vineyard Gate Wine Sellers because he has a passion for wine, and it shows. Just check out the sheer abundance of selection! This is my personal fantasy cellar.
Don’t you just love when you find a shop like this? Strange, funny litttle wines like the Feudo Disisa Grillo from Sicilia, right next to Piemonte’s Ferrando Erbaluce di Caluso. This is really exciting to me, that these indigenous gems can be found on the shelves of serious wine retailers in almost any city. Why do people like Alex go to the extra effort to source these wines? I think it must be because Italy is so exciting. You can’t possibly know everything about a country with thousands of indigenous grape varietals… especially when the wine laws are so complex and so numerous. It’s always an adventure with Italian wine.
Alex at Vineyard Gate really keeps the torch burning for Italy’s esoteric wine varietals. I love that he is so dedicated to shedding light on the more obscure oenological treasures in the world. We were discussing his (awesome) $30 monthly wine club, and he mentioned that he actually tells his customers not to subscribe if they don’t want to receive all kinds of wines, including, “the occasional orange wine”. He ascribes to the philosophy that it’s the discovery process that makes wine so interesting and so special. When you stop wanting to taste something new, you may as well stop drinking wine.
I couldn’t agree more, Alex!