Good prices, selection define Treehouse Wine and Spirits

By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld…

Treehouse Wine and Spirits manager Austin Peters is pictured in front of the store.

Treehouse Wine and Spirits has a broad selection of wine and spirits at a good price.

Store manager Austin Peters takes care when selecting wines and spirits to ensure that his prices are competitive. He also personally selects the wines and spirits to guarantee the best quality and best tasting wines and spirits are available in the store.

Peters is a wine lover who hails from Annapolis, MD. He was a literature major in college who worked in the restaurant industry. He worked with a chef who sparked his interest in wines.

“I’d always loved beer,” Peters said. “I had done a lot of home brewing.”

He found wine fascinating and began studying it, including reading as much as he could and learning through wine tastings.

“When I graduated school I couldn’t take the cold anymore,” he said. “I happened across this wine and spirits store. It was on Lejeune and Ponce de Leon.”

Peters became the manager and was given carte blanche to organize the store as he saw fit.

“In two and a half years, we’ve brought in more wines,” he said. “We’ve paid very close attention to what wine we have in here. We go through the steps of tasting and comparing prices. I’ve tasted just about every bottle we have in the store.”

The store later moved to 233 Aragon Ave., just east of Books and Books.

Peters instituted a policy of not buying something he knows can be gotten significantly cheaper elsewhere. So if the distributor is giving stores a discount to buy 60 cases, he passes by that deal.

“I’m very aggressive and specific about what I’m carrying,” he said. “We have really good prices.”

The advantage he has at a smaller shop such as Treehouse is that the shop can be a bit more focused in what it carries.

That means he does not have to carry high production wines. He believes that the taste on high production wines can be inconsistent and taste is of paramount importance.

“The only wines you’ll find here are small production wines,” he said.

Still, there are plenty of reasonably priced wines that he can recommend.

“I have a pretty large selection of excellent table wines, $7 to $10 a bottle,” he said.
He checks wine rating services to learn about wines, using only those services that don’t accept advertising, believing that the ratings from those services are unbiased since they aren’t reliant on the ad revenue from wine companies.
“I really only carry wines that have a good rating from them, a 90 or better,” he said.

He also only carries wines that he likes, finding it easier to talk about wines that he considers good instead of just trying to make a sale.

As far as spirits, Treehouse has the well-established liquors such as Grey Goose, Johnny Walker Black and Bacardi.

“But then I also make it a point to carry a bit harder to find labels,” Peters said. “Like Tuthilltown Spirits. They make small batch whiskeys out of New York State. I carry a good representation of both sides of the market from lesser known brands to more established brands.”

Treehouse has an email club to let customers know about events at the store, including bi-weekly tastings. Information also is posted on Twitter. They recently did a tasting of single malt whiskey, and a rum tasting is planned.

For information call 305-461-1873.

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