Destination Wine Shopping: Wine Geeks in Armonk

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Derek and Carol Todd recently opened Wine Geeks, a shop in Armonk that focuses on small production, artisanal wines, organic and biodynamic when possible.

For four years, Derek was the wine director at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where he opened many a fine bottle of wine for me… making those meals even more memorable. (His wine list received two back to back “Best of Awards of Excellence” from Wine Spectator Magazine.)

He’s got a great sensibility — and I trust that any bottle in the store is going to be one that Derek loves… and so I will, too.

Over on the Wine Skewer, Tish has written a great post about how the personal touches at a wine shop can make all the difference… he calls it the anti-CostCo experience.

All the care that Derek and Carol have put into their shop — all the details that they’ve thought out, from design to inventory to price — make it a destination shopping experience. Sure, it’s nice to have it as a neighborhood store, and folks who live around Armonk are very lucky to have it. But it’s worth the a special trip, too. There are some very special wines here, and you’ll be buying them from people who believe in what’s in the bottle.

Derek and Carol, both theater geeks as well as wine geeks, met when Derek directed a show that Carol was in. Since then, Carol has been acting in regional theatre and film, and is a founding partner of Stir – A Production House, which will release her short film Showers of Happiness at festivals this fall.

But — as many actors — Carol has also been working in restaurants, including Union Square Café, Follonico, Blue Hill NYC, the Harrison and Casellulla Cheese and Wine Café.

The store is in a renovated gas station.

It’s got an industrial look, but it still feels warm and welcoming:

Derek and Carol commissioned the triptych above from artist Allen Stafford. It’s made entirely of wine foils.

(There’s a bowl at the register for used wine foils for future pieces, too. So bring yours in to donate!)

The wines are displayed on industrial shelving lining the shop. There’s plenty of room to move around and browse.

See the gorgeous table in the front? It was custom made for them by Cleveland Art, which creates furniture and lighting from salvaged industrial items.

I ended up choosing my own wines (a Scholium Project and a Txakoli that I loved among them), but you could also do as the gentleman above and ask Derek to choose for you. This guy just said: “Make me a mixed case, $20 and under, drinkable summer whites.”

Here’s Derek doing just that:

Of course, you could also take the time to talk to Derek about the kinds of wines you like, and then he’ll turn you on to new and exciting ones.

Some of my selections:

I got several from the $15 and under table:

A few examples that I took home:

Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé ’08 (Provence, France) $10.99
Urban Uco Torrontes ’08 (Mendoza, Argentina) $8.99
Monarchia Cellars Olivier ’07 (Matra, Hungary) $9.99

I’ll be back. And soon.

Wine Geeks, 559 Main St., Armonk. 914-273-WINE (9463). winegeeksarmonk.com.

The shop is closed Mondays, but has some very civilized hours the rest of the week:
11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, til 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for linking to my blog, Liz. WOuld you believe I bought two of the wines you did, plus the yellow+blue organic malbe; a biodynamic austrian gruner veltliner from what may be the oldes continuously planted vyd in the world; and Kung Fu Girl riesling form Columbia Valley.

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