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Meet Gary Parker of The WineSellar & Brasserie in Sorrento Mesa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gary Parker.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Gary. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
We started as a private wine storage facility for wine collectors, renting wine lockers for private and commercial wine collectors who needed their wine kept safe, and under the proper conditions.

While building our location in Sorrento Mesa, we added a wine shop and a restaurant to the space, so we could better serve our clients with retail wines and wine dinners. We later evolved into a full service restaurant, and have garnered many awards and accolades over the last 29 years, for our high levels of cuisine, wine list and service.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The storage business has been a constant and steady factor, as our wine lockers are generally low maintenance (after going through the major expense of getting them custom built).

We have been through some serious economic challenges, with national recessions, the major reduction of business tax write offs, corporate spending reductions, and eventually the addition of hundreds of fine dining establishments opening all over San Diego.

While we are still a special occasion and destination restaurant for our long time clients, we have also turned our focus to our local businesses to serve their needs and desires.

The retail wine business has changed dramatically, with the advent of internet wine purchasing beginning in the late 1990’s. Many wine collectors and premium wine buyers shop online, instead of going to their local wine shops for advice and purchasing, getting wines shipped to their door in less time and generally at significant savings.

So we now focus our retail wine sales on our existing customers, providing them with specialized services and consulting, to include the appraisal, acquisitions and sale of private wine cellars, as well as providing specialized, rare, hard to find wines to them.

We also have three wine of the month clubs that provide the members with discounts on fine wines sent to their door, along with tasting notes, educational material, and the opportunity to purchase even more of these wines at discounted prices.

Further, we have been conducting wine and culture tours to small groups across the globe. We have taken people to South Africa, Spain, Italy, France, New Zealand, Portugal, Argentina, and other interesting and exciting lands.

Being multi-faceted has helped us along the way, as we have found when the restaurant is slower, people are buying more retail wine, and vice versa.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The WineSellar & Brasserie story. Tell us more about the business.
We specialize in providing our clients the finest in food, wine, an outstanding service for the wine shop, we are able to access many wines other retail shops cannot acquire, because we have a fine dining restaurant attached to our wine shop.

The best producers prefer to sell to fine dining restaurants, as it increases the image of their brand.

The Brasserie Restaurant provides a quiet, comfortable atmosphere, with excellent cuisine, an extensive, well-priced wine list, and superior servers. The wine list has been named one of the 75 best in the world by The Wine Spectator for over 25 years.

Back in 1988, we were the first, (and perhaps only) business to combine a wine storage facility, retail wine shop, and fine dining restaurant under one roof. We have been at this location for nearly 30 years, which for our type of business, quite exceptional.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
As far as The WineSellar & Brasserie goes, I don’t think luck had a lot to do with where we are today. We had a vision, still continuing to this day, to provide our services to a segment of our population who we felt would need and benefit what we provide to them.

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