I am always interested when a new, local wine shop opens. So when I learned that Salem Wine Imports had recently opened, I had to sate my curiosity and check it out.
The wine store is easy to locate, just off Washington Street on Church Street and there is ample parking nearby. It is close to many other Salem businesses and would be an easy stop while you are walking around the area, doing some shopping or getting something to eat.
The store itself looks impressive with its dark wood racks. Check out the pictures on their website and you can see exactly what it looks like. There are two rooms, the larger main room and a smaller back room. The main room is where nearly all of the wine is displayed. There is also a small refrigerator, holding wines and some speciality foods. There is also a rack near the refrigerator with other non-refrigerated, specialty foods. The back room is where tastings are held as well as where the wine sampler unit is located. This is a draught system that can hold eight bottles of wine and allows you to taste wines any time you are at the store. A very nice touch.
Eric Olsen is the owner of the store and has worked in the wine business for over 40 years, including as a wine wholesaler for Martignetti's Liquors. This store is the culmination of his dreams. I spent a little time speaking with Eric and it was clear to me that he is passionate about wine. He is also very personable and I am sure would be very helpful to anyone seeking advice on wine selection.
The store holds about 200-250 different wines, covering many different wine regions. There are wines from California, Washington and Oregon. There are wines from France, Spain, Italy, South Africa and Germany. There are also wines from some less common countries, including Luxembourg and Switzerland. Eric seeks out some more unusual wines which I think is a great idea. It is always fun to break away from the usual, and try something different, be it from a lesser known country or made from a rarer grape.
Eric told me that he is only using a handful of distributors, mainly because he only has limited space and could not accomodate all the wines that dozens of distributors would like him to stock. So, he must carefully select the wines he will stock. One of the importers he does use is Adonna Imports, one of my favorite importers of Italian wines.
Prices largely seemed to be average with a good range of price points. Whatever your budget you are likely to find a wine here to match it.
They hold free wine tastings every Tuesday evening. You can check out Eric's blog to see which wines will be tasted. Plus, on Sundays they will soon start opening 3-4 wines around 3pm for your tasting pleasure.
The store is open six days a week, being closed on Mondays.
Tuesday - Thursday 11:00AM to 7:00PM
Friday - Saturday 11:00AM to 8:00PM
Sunday 12:00 noon - 5:00PM
Overall I liked this new wine store and I do wish Eric the best with his new endeavor. It has a nice, diverse selection of wines and there is always something available to taste. Eric is passionate about wine, which is a big plus to me. So next time you are in Salem, why not stop by and check it out.
Salem Wine Imports
32 Church Street