Ryan Sciara is an unabashed lover of the grape. As the owner of Underdog Wine Co., he was introduced to wine at a relatively young age. His earliest memories are sips of homemade wine with his Grandma Vita. (Bless her heart!) Now the wine aficionado has two busy wine shops—one located just off the Plaza in Crestwood and the other in Union Hill.
When he’s not busy picking out the perfect new blends for your upcoming wing-ding, he’s forced to answer inane questions for goofy articles like this one. In this week’s “By The Numbers”, it’s all wine, all the time.
Number of bottles of wine currently in your store: 7,131. Scratch, make that 7,129 …
Numbers of bottles you’ve broken since you’ve opened: Zero! Although I did knock over a display of canned wine and a couple of those exploded. For a quick second, I thought I had been shot, only to realize it was Pinot Noir, not blood.
Average time it takes to clean up a spilled bottle of wine: I’m not sure, but I am sure a straw would be the quicker cleaner upper.
Biggest bottle in the store: A 3 liter of champagne right now; and yes, it’s still a single serve size.
Most expensive wine in the store: $2,000, DRC Richebourg Grand Cru
Number of glasses of wine you “sample” each day: A couple some days. Others a lot. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t “taste” a wine.
Average number of bottles your customers buy when they stop in: It says 5.5 bottles—if you run the numbers (which I did, of course). But we supply a lot of wine for parties and events so that will fudge the numbers up. I can tell you this, we do sell a lot of single bottles for people on the way home, just grabbing a bottle for dinner but we also sell a lot of cases of wine.
Wineries you’ve visited: Hundreds? Way too many to even guess. I’ve been to wineries in France three times, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Germany, all over California, Washington, Oregon, New York, Missouri, Kansas. I am embarrassed to admit, I haven’t (yet) been to Italy, Portugal, or Spain but they are definitely on my list.
Percentage of customers who have no idea what kind of wine they’re looking for: 50 percent—and I love that! It opens up the whole shop versus the person who pretty much knows what they want. I love it when people have open minds and let me drive the bus. We ask a lot of questions to get us from ‘no idea’ to a bottle heading out the door.
Biggest sale you’ve ever had: I don’t remember the final-final total, but I do know it started with a 2 and had 4 zeros. It was for a customer who had just built a wine cellar in his house and it was killing him that it was empty, so he had me stock it. I had to rent a cargo van to get all the cases to him. Uh, it took two trips.
Number of types of wine in your store: I have wine ADD—so I have no idea. I change it up all the time. Part of the Underdog philosophy is championing wines from the nooks and crannies of the wine-producing world. The set also changes seasonally where we will get up to 40 or so different selections of rosé.
How fast can you pop a wine cork if I was timing you: You blinked. I just did it and you missed it.
Number of dinner parties you get invited to each year: Not that many actually. Outside of the shop I am an introvert.