The Wine Spot is a new place in Cleveland Heights to buy wines not usually found in most supermarkets, craft beers, artisanal cider, sake and port. It’s also where you can go to taste these things, talk about them with owner Adam Fleisher, and even have a private beverage-centric book club meeting, birthday party or a girls-night out.
It opened in December, on Lee Road, in the former Seitz-Agin Hardware store. Walking in, I can’t quite believe it’s the same place I came to for plumbing and electrical supplies, odd sized nails and brass screws, and more than 30 years of home repair advice. The big space is airy, open and modern, outfitted with a six door glass fronted cooler, shelves filled with bottles sorted by continent and country, some hi-top tables, and a couple of couches. The area where guys once mixed paint and fixed broken windows is now a lovely tasting room. It’s also a gallery for work by students from Cleveland Institute of Art.
The building, dating back to 1926, originally housed two separate storefronts. Until the mid ‘40’s, one side was home to Bruder’s, a dairy business. When workers were doing the renovations, they found the original floor with the name spelled out in black and white tiles. It’s now part The Wine Spot’s décor. Fleisher recounts how an elderly woman walked by, saw it through the window, and came in to tell him that as a child she lived down the street and used to walk up the block with her sister to get an ice cream cone here.
Fleisher, who grew up in the neighborhood and is a Heights High alum, likes the idea of preserving this bit of the community’s heritage and keeping alive its tradition of small shops owned by locals that can offer a very personal kind of service. He gave up a corporate job- and lots of time spent on the road- to take this entrepreneurial leap in partnership with his wife Susan and is clearly happy about the changes in his life and livelihood. “I try everything I sell,” he says with a grin, “and enjoy turning people on to the things I discover and the stuff I love.”
The plan going in was to be a friendly unpretentious store where customers would find value priced choices and someone who could answer their questions, share the stories behind everything in stock and help them make choices, in fact the very sort of place he liked to frequent in his travels around the country. But this has morphed into more because people like to be here. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights they pour flights of reds, whites, and brews (per person prices is very reasonable). They bring in distributors for presentations; create private custom tasting events (with food if desired); and host educational and themed sampling events-like 'em on facebook to stay in touch with what's scheduled. It’s a great addition to the street and to my side of town. In fact, I'd like to make a toast to that., but I'll have to ask Adam for a recommendation.