Que Syrah Fine Wines, 3726 North Southport Ave., manager Don Hupp knows his customers. I mean really knows them; he calls each one by their first name. He also knows the wine they like to drink.
In my book, that’s all that matters. Who doesn’t want to be known that way: by given name and by chosen drink?
If Que Syrah were a bar, it would be Cheers and Don would be Sam.
“Don’s the best,” one of his customers told me.
One of our readers, who suggested we review Que Syrah, wrote that Don is “knowledgeable and approachable and totally NOT wine pretentious.”
The store is a typical boutique wine shop: wooden shelves lined with bottles, a tasting table, a refrigerator chilling to-go whites. But Don, who has been there since the Southport store opened eight years ago, made the place stand out.
He’s like having a personal sommelier in your backyard. If you’re a member of the monthly wine club, Don will choose two bottles for you that other customers don’t get to try until later. For $35, he special orders them just for you. When you come in to pick them up, he’ll talk to you about the Celtics or the neighborhood or when you went wine tasting in New Zealand.
The point is he’ll talk to you–and remember you, which means everything in the land of Costco-has-pretty-good-wine-for-a-pretty-good price-but-you-might-get-lost-in-the-mounds-of-toilet-paper-and-you’re-just-a-number-standing-in-a-long-line.
I’d pick Don and Que Syrah any day. For maybe a little bit more money per bottle, it’s definitely worth it. Plus, you’ll be supporting a local business instead of a big corporation.
And maybe not everyone will know your name, but at least someone will.
More on the Store
Don’s Favorite: 2006 Gradassi Chateauneuf-du-Pape, $36.95
Girls’ Night Pick: 2008 Vin du Lac Sauvignon Blanc, $15.95
Number of Wines: 300-400
Specialties: Small Producers
Free wine tastings the first Saturday of the month
Other events: $35 (see website for more details)