French Country Wines Is Celebrating A Decade Of Business With A Party
French Country Wines at 2433 Bartlett (just off of Kirby) is celebrating their tenth anniversary on Saturday, February 18 with a party. From noon to 6 p.m., guests who visit can sample wine, cheese and crepes from Creative Crepes. The celebration will include current samples from the original four wines that customers ever tasted in the shop: Domaine Nicolas Brunet Vouvray Brut Sparkling 2014, Château la Canorgue Rouge 2014, Domaine de Font-Sane Terrasses 2014 and Domaine du Banneret Rouge 2013.
Tim Smith and Phyllis Adatto own this independent wine shop in Rice Village. Smith started the business after he retired from investment banking, a job that included traveling to France regularly. There, he studied and developed a passion for wine. When he discovered he couldn’t find the boutique grower-producer bottles he’d loved in France here in the U.S., he decided to become an importer himself.
He and Adatto opened the shop in February 2007. Ever since, they, now along with wholesale manager Jean Philippe Guy (spouse of Bistro Provence owner, Genevieve Guy and son of former Houston chef Georges Guy) visit France annually, driving thousands of miles to visit small vineyards and seek out new ones. They deal directly with the owners and winemakers, meaning some of the wines French Country Wines carries are not imported anywhere else in the United States.
To this day, that’s still the foundation of their business. The goal is for the wines they carry to not only be pleasing to Houstonians’ palates, but to also showcase smaller winemakers making high-quality products.
Smith says running the wine shop has reaped unexpected benefits. “What proved to be an unanticipated extension of this was the many individuals on both sides of the Atlantic that have become good friends. Time and again, when we visit vineyards in France, we are invited into the owners’ homes for a family meal and visit. Often, we are treated at mealtime with older vintages of the wines we represent. Phyllis is now promoting, in a light-hearted way, matches between our youngest grandchildren and the young children of some of our producers!”
The same is true, he says, about French Country Wines’ customers.
“In Houston, a number of our retail customers have become friends, dinner partners and supporters. [They are] now dear friends. We would never have met had it not been for French Country Wines.”