Ryan Sciara had been in the hospitality and wine industry for nearly a quarter-century when he opened Underdog Wine Co. in 2014. Given his experience, he had strong opinions on how things should work at his two shops, which stock a constantly rotating and always interesting assortment of wines across the full spectrum of price and style.
“We stock what we want to stock, not what our distributors tell us to stock,” he says. “We really focus on small, family-owned wineries, distributors and importers. That’s why it’s Underdog—it’s the size of the shop, but it’s also the philosophy of the shop. The small producers we stock are the real ‘underdogs’ in the wine industry.”
How The Shop Is Physically Different: The way we have the shops set up makes it really easy to find what you are looking for. Most other stores are organized by country, region, varietal, etc. We set our stores up progressively, by the weight (or body) of the wines. We start with sparkling wines, then move to lighter bodied whites, medium-bodied whites, fuller-bodied whites, then we jump over to rosé, then lighter reds, medium-bodied reds and fuller-bodied reds. Our top shelves are all wines priced $15 and under, then they go up in price as you move your way down the shelves. This is another departure from traditional “liquor store” organization, where they put the lesser-priced wines on the bottom.
Trapped On A Desert Isle With One Case From The Shop: It can be a mixed case, right? I want a mixed case of champagne. If I’m on a desert isle, I want some champagne. If I had to pick one producer, it would be Champagne Bereche et Fils.
KC recently got its first dedicated natural wine shop, Big Mood,