There are two types of wine, explains Leonel Arias, the owner of a bright new wine shop in Hamilton Heights: The kind you recognize from, say, a Super Bowl commercial, and the kind you've never heard of.
The latter–the wine with little-to-no marketing–is exactly what you'll find at Wine & Unwind, located on a mom-and-pop-filled stretch of Amsterdam Avenue near City College. "I have to sell these wines," says Arias, who is quick to describe the taste and body of any wine on the shelf.
He points to The Dissident, a red blend from Washington State boutique winery Mark Ryan, as a wine he is proud to sell in his store, which is mainly stocked with bottles from the West Coast, France, Italy and Spain. Wines run between $10.99 and $55, with the average price point about $15-$25.
Arias' love of wine blossomed while working in finance in California. After returning to the East Coast, he decided to open up a wine shop in a familiar neighborhood. His Dominican-born father grew up in the area, and his aunt owns a travel store on the same block (Arias grew up 35 blocks south).
Once the shelves are fully stocked, he'll be inviting everyone–neighbors old and new–for tastings, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, swing by, tell Arias what type of wine you like, and be prepared to try something new.