Remembering Dick Reno

On February 18, we received a call from our good friend, winemaker Tim Miller. Dick Reno had passed.

Looking West from Chateau LaFayette Reneau

We met Dick and Betty (Mrs. Reno) in 1999. We had wandered into Chateau LaFayette Reneau winery on the day of a Cabernet Reserve Club members’ event. Betty had done the cooking, and was making sure that everyone had something to eat. We weren’t members, but she insisted that we take a share. (At every visit afterward, Betty always made sure that we had something to eat, or a jar of jelly, or some tomatoes, or some garden seeds, to bring home.) Dick visited with every guest. He made us feel particularly welcome, like it was our tenth visit, even though it was our first! Dick and Betty Reno were warm and generous hosts.

That 1999 visit was part of our research into starting a unique new business, an e-commerce store that carried only New York grown wines. We launched our business in May 2000, and since then have paid over 100 visits to the Finger Lakes. More than half of our visits included a stop to see Dick and Betty.

We learned from Dick about his early 1980′s dream of converting an overgrown jelly-grape farm into a vineyard and winery that produced wines on par with Bordeaux. On the day his 1999 Dry Riesling won the Governor’s Cup, we were helping Dick serve wine at the New York Wine and Food Classic. It was Chateau LaFayette’s second Governor’s Cup. Dick’s diligence about quality, and focus on operations, had made his world-class dream a reality.

Dick welcomed us into his winery and allowed us to study the entire operation, from vineyards through to bottling and sales. We learned most of what we know about winemaking from our visits with Dick and with Tim Miller as they showed us every detail of the Chateau LaFayette Reneau facility.

Dick was an accomplished businessman well before he and Betty established their winery. At every visit, Dick would ask about our new business and then advise us: “Only sell the best”, “Always ask for the sale”, “Believe in your product”, “Discuss, act, report”. Dick took fatherly interest in our progress and, like teenagers, we took some of his advice. With fatherly insight Dick could tell which advice we were following and which advice we had overlooked.

Our relationship with Dick, Betty and Tim has outlasted our own business. They are our extended family, and on Tuesday we felt like we had lost a parent. Dick, we salute you as a determined dreamer, diligent businessman, generous host, fatherly advisor and true gentleman. We have been honored to be your friend for all these years.

With love, Rich and Margot Cirino.

Planning update

Hello, Everyone.

Many of you have asked about our plans to reopen.  December and January were busy months, and we expect to have even more going on in February.

We spent many, many days designing the new kitchen, dining area and bar. Several of our experienced friends in the restaurant business and in the building trades have commented on our plans and we have built in their comments. We were familiar faces at Liberty Graphics and at Staples as we visited to purchase large prints of our draft designs.

Drawing the new kitchen

Our menu is fully composed, and our business plan is about eighty percent complete.

In January, we toured through downstate, New York City and New Haven CT, studying the best-regarded restaurants and bars along a thousand-mile excursion. We saw the best-of-the best at work, and we are now more confident than ever in the menu we have created.

During our trip, we discovered that the Chase Mission Main Street 2013 Grants went to other businesses. In October and November, 624 of you had voted for us — very few businesses in the country received so much support so quickly. We remain grateful for your support and good will. In the end, Chase Bank awarded nothing within 200 miles of Glens Falls.  It was disappointing news, but we remain confident that our grass-roots fund-raising plan will enable our return.

Our plan is for UnCorked Glens Falls to reopen in our original storefront at the Wood Theater.  The UnCorked wine and liquor store will occupy about 25% of its original space and the other 75% will be home to our new restaurant and bar. We have settled on a name and concept (but we will keep you guessing for a little while longer). Our menu and decor will be different from all of our neighbors, but they will provide a familiar and welcome sense of place.

We look forward to resuming business on Glen Street and we will have much more to share with you soon.

Cheers,
Margot and Rich

Transition and Tradition

Tree 2013November 2013 was the first month in thirteen years we haven’t helped someone select the perfect wine to pair with their holiday meal … but that’s just temporary.

We have been assembling facts for our our new wine store/restaurant business plan, and decorating the store front for the holiday season.

We are out and about, and we hope to see you Downtown.

Cheers and Stay Tuned!
Margot and Rich

Seize the day

There aren’t many public pianos around.

Our Public PianoToday, Joel, a new customer visited. A while back, he had heard there was a piano here, and that you could just sit down and play. He had been meaning to visit for quite a while. Today, Joel found the time — and the music was wonderful. He mentioned that our piano has a “real” feel.

We like to think that that we have made wine more “real” for many of our guests.

UnCorked will be closing in sixteen days.

Seize the day. There aren’t many public pianos around.

877 bottles of wine on the wall …

Rich and Margot on duty

Courtesy of the Post-Star.

In a word, “Wow!”

So many of you have come in to wish us well and purchase your favorite wines. We are grateful for your kind words and well wishes. We look forward to seeing many more of you in the next few days.

Our license expires on October 31. All of our wine and liquor must be gone by then, and sooner will be better. Please come in and select your favorites while they last. As always, we are here to help you find something new that you will enjoy. Right up to our last day we will stick to our mission, “To help you to find your new favorite wine.”

Best,
Rich & Margot Cirino – Owners