Thursday, December 16, 2010

Southwest Florida Loses A Gem

Sad week for wine lovers in Southwest Florida, Austin’s Wine Cellar is closing after 24 years in business at the same location. Frank Pulice has owned the store for the past 7 years and made the difficult decision to shut the doors due mostly to increasing competition from corporate stores and the Internet.

I hate to see any small business close but especially one with a purveyor that has expertise like Frank. He has an impeccable pallet and superb knowledge of wine. Sometimes I would walk in and say "give me something I've never had before" and he somehow knew exactly what I wanted even though I had no idea. I loved watching the wheels turn in his head when I would come to him with a menu or dish and ask for help finding a great bottle (or two) that would go with crazy combinations of flavors!” He never failed me!

Over the years Frank has exposed me to red wines from Israel, sparkling wine from Tanzania, little known grapes from Italy, small production wines in the US and everything in between. I’ve met wine-makers, wine-distributors, wine-lovers and made lots of friends around the wine racks in his cozy shop!

Thank you Frank for educating me, for entertaining me and for being a friend to me! I’ll raise a glass to your new endeavors and look forward to uncorking more treasures with you, just in a different venue! Cheers!


  1. I always wonder how people will discover new wines when all sales are done through the internet and there aren't experts to guide us.