A World Of Wines In Puhi
Owner, The Wine Garden
Please tell us about your business.
The Wine Garden in Puhi is a specialty wine and beer store. We carry wine from a wide array of places – domestic wine and imported wine. We kind of have a little bit of everything. We also have a unique collection of domestic and imported beers. In addition to that we sell cigars, chocolate, pipes and pipe tobacco. We opened in December 2002.
Why did you start this business?
I’ve been drinking wine for most of my adult life. My mother is from Sicily, so wine was always part of the meal. At the time we came up with the idea to open the store my husband Bruce was a part-time solicitor for a distributor in Honolulu and we discovered that the only places he could sell wine to were some of the restaurants or grocery stores. So it got us thinking that maybe having a wine store on the island would be something that could work. We’ve lived on Kauai since 1976 and we’ve always been self-employed, including running an air freight delivery company for almost 30 years, so this just seemed like the direction for us to go.
What sets your business apart?
Our selection definitely sets up apart. I’m the buyer so I have a unique perspective on what I want my store to be and what I want to have in here. You’re not going to walk into another store and find the exact same things we have in here. Also, our customer service and willingness to demystify the product sets us apart. Some people come in here and don’t know anything about wine and I’m always happy to help them.
What’s your favorite red and/or white wine?
That’s kind of like asking which your favorite child is. I don’t have a favorite. I predominantly drink Cabernet and Shiraz, but I like them all.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business?
I love all of the people that I meet. When people come into The Wine Garden they are inevitably in a good frame of mind, a good mood. We get people who live here, we get visitors, we get all kinds of people, and I’ve met some of the most interesting, lovely people since I opened up my doors.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your business?
To always keep things new. People are always looking for what’s new and great, so it’s looking for that and trying to actually get the products because we are limited to what’s being distributed in the state of Hawaii. Sometimes it’s a challenge getting the products we’re looking for.
What makes you get up every day and go to work?
It doesn’t feel like work to me.
How have you survived the economic ups and downs?
We’re a small store and we can adapt when things start changing.
Do you have a business motto or philosophy?
Never promise something you can’t deliver. My main thing is that I always follow up with what I say I’m going to do. If somebody needs helps with something, I provide them with whatever help I can.
Open every day from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., excluding major holidays
4495 Puhi Road, Lihue