The former wine manager of The Spanish Table expands weekly newsletter into home-based wine consultancy, sales operation in Skyway.
Catherine Reynolds started her own wine-selling business last week via e-mail. Around midnight on Thursday, she sent a message to friends and fans with the news: “Some people thought it was crazy, that it couldn’t be done, but I received my liquor permit on Monday & that means I can sell wine to you from Queso y Vino headquarters (a.k.a. home sweet home),” Reynolds wrote.
By the time she awoke Friday morning in her Skyway casa, Reynolds’ first five orders had arrived in her in-box.
Thousands of tourists and locals know Reynolds as the former wine manager of The Spanish Table at Pike Place Market. She wrote a weekly e-newsletter and had a reputation for helping customers find affordable wines to suit their palates.
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Reynolds left The Spanish Table in March, worked briefly at Bella Cosa in Wallingford and taught wine classes at 12th and Olive Wine Company.
She also launched a blog — www.madeleine.typepad.com — and her own weekly e-newsletter with recipes, wine picks and endearing, sometimes hilarious details from her culinary adventures.
Many of the events are dinners that Reynolds arranges with local chefs at $30 to $60 a person.
Others are more private affairs with friends and family, including her husband, Ken O’Hara, like the taco-truck expedition this fall:
“Cruise down Ambaum in Burien & the possibilities are endless for hole-in-the-wall taste experiments, but Salva-Mex with its window-shrine of Jesus, a goat in soccer garb, & a figurine of Elmo holding little blue shoes, (I kid you not) was like the equivalent of walking into the kind of place I relish while on south of the border vacation — it’s the local watering hole, & you just happened to stumble upon it.”
Reynolds’ new wine business, Queso y Vino, features wines from Spain, Portugal and South America, most of them under $15 a bottle.
A favorite pick from a dinner she organized this week was Los Planos syrah, just $9.99.
“People were buying cases of it, and it’s cool because it’s from France. That’s why the dinner was really fun, because it was not just wines from Spain,” she said.
Reynolds wants to find a warehouse space for wine and eventually cheese, but for now she is “one psyched roving sommelier at your service!”
She delivers to customers’ homes in the greater Seattle area (“folks in Puyallup might have to sweet talk me”).
Delivery is free for orders over $150.
There is a $10 charge for smaller orders, which is waived for customers who meet Reynolds at prearranged pickup locations that she hopes will include weekend farmers markets.
“Then I can meet multiple people at one location, and I can do my own shopping, because I love the farmers markets,” she said.
Reynolds prefers to deal with customers personally, taking orders by e-mail (email@example.com) and phone (206-518-1166).
It cost Reynolds about $7,000 to start Queso y Vino, including business licenses, taking business classes and buying inventory.
“It’s crazy, because every day it keeps adding up,” she said. “I know why people say tack the extra 30 percent on [to your budget].”
— Melissa Allison
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Retail Report appears Fridays. Melissa Allison covers the food and beverage industry. She can be reached at 206-464-3312 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Martinez covers goods, services and online retail. She can be reached at 206-464-2923 or email@example.com.