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Valentine’s Day Advice: Say it with Wine

Third-generation store owner offers advice, holiday lineup

“This year I am promoting Valentine’s Day more than ever,” says Steve Leon, owner of on Farmington Ave. “With this economy, people are eating home more in general, and with Valentine’s falling on Monday, people will be more likely to celebrate at home.”

To get his “Say it With Wine” message across, he has set up displays at the entrance of the store featuring wines with love-themed labels, four chocolate/red wines, and the standard –Godiva chocolate liquor.

A visit to Wine Cellars 4 is like going to Wine University. Leon regularly travels to vineyards in Europe and California to become educated about the wines he stocks. He posts constantly, changing “Steve Picks” in the store and on his website, introducing his discoveries.

“Customers trust that I have tasted what I recommend,” he explained. “I have to look them in the face.”

So what does Leon recommend for the romantic Valentine’s dinner?

“People generally have a menu planned before they come in and ask me what wines will go with it,” he said. “I do get asked occasionally about food as well and suggest an Italian dinner with a nice Italian wine- a parmesan dish with a red Northern Italian wine- it’s an easy and elegant meal.”

Leon is a third generation wine and liquor store owner. His grandparents and parents owned stores in Windsor, and he owned a store in Wethersfield for 30 years.

In 2005 he took the opportunity to buy Wine Cellars 4 in Farmington because he sensed it “fit his personality” as soon as he walked in the first time. "It has worked out well,” he said.“It’s mostly a “stop on the way home from work kind of store," he explained, “but many people do stop by on Saturdays for wine tastings.”

If the Valentine dinner leads to future plans, take note: a large part of Leon’s business is catering private events. “I can supply everything- bartenders, glassware, and I work with several local caterers. This is the part of the business I am really working to grow right now,” he emphasized.

Wine Cellars 4 has also been a generous contributor to the Farmington community, hosting many charity wine tastings including a recent fundraiser for the Farmington Exchange Club.

“I did my first wine tasting within a month of opening the store,” Leon said. “Someone came in asking for a donation and I said instead of giving you $10,  I’ll help you raise $1,000.” Leon and the vendors volunteer their wines and attend the events on their own time to pour and discuss their wines. The store and the vendors benefit if people buy bottles of wine at the event.

Wine Cellars 4 also offers free delivery.

The store is located 68 Farmington Ave.; 860-677-0130.

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