Friday, January 19, 2018

It’s been a long time… we shouldn’t have left you...  

Or more succinctly we have been away from this blog for a bit. We started Squire Wine Co. with the hope that regular blogs would be a part of it. Clearly, they haven’t been regular for some time.
Why We’ve Been Gone
A lot of the reason why Squire, from a blog perspective, has been dormant is that I, Steve, have focused time towards exploring a new perspective of the industry as a Midwest regional manager at The Sorting Table. I have enjoyed the change from the floor and the lessons and challenges it has offered. On a personal note, writing was one of my first passions and I am hopeful to return to writing about wine soon.
Ryan has been dedicated to his role at Lettuce Entertain You to spending the bulk of his time in Chicago and a bit in Los Angeles. Ryan took a step back from writing about and intensely studying wine and is currently working on an exciting project that combines the music industry with a lauded Sonoma winery with a new wine company slated to release any day now. He continues to parlay his passion for wine with his love of biking while participating in the annual Chefs Cycle to benefit No Kid Hungry.
How’s Squire Doing
Squire now has made it through its third year of releases: Massican, Cruse Wine Co, Gros Ventre, Jolie Laide, Ceritas, Enfield Wine Co, Di Costanzo, Iconic, and Upwell. We have had successes and also learned many lessons.
We’ve received a great response from the Chicago community about these wineries which led us to more opportunities to represent new wineries. But, the greatest lesson we learned was in order to be a truly great partner we needed to put the main focus on the wineries we already had in our roster. We made the tough decision to switch our distributor partners to Maverick Wine Company as they had more boots on the ground and a larger infrastructure. The move has proven to be more successful than we could have imagined. A leap of faith has created an opportunity for these producers to grow even more.
We <3 Chicago
Chicago has seen a lot of changes over the past year. There has been the great news of Jim Bube achieving the esteemed honor of Master Sommelier and Jon Mcdaniel’s new venture Second City Soil. We’ve also seen the sad closings of Grace, Vera, Green River, and many more. We have lost some of our best to other cities: Arthur Hon to NYC and Alex Ring to SF. Sommeliers like Anthony Minnie, Dustin Chabert, Ryan Musser, and others we are probably forgetting have moved into distribution. New somms have moved to the city and others are getting opportunities to take over lists that have lots of promise. It couldn’t be a more exciting and scary time to be in restaurants.  
The role of sommelier has almost fully morphed in sommelier/manager with time split (is if one is lucky) 60% manager and 40% somm - but, in most cases shakes out to 75% - 25%, respectively. Closing a restaurant at 2 am and getting up in the morning to study for CMS exams is incredibly difficult, and the number of people pursuing that goal in a very challenging environment is impressive. Second City Somms and classes run by Tenzing are an incredible testament to the craft and passion of the community.
3 years ago we started Squire because we wanted to not only get our friends’ great wines into the city, but also to celebrate the energy of the wine scene that Chicago could have. It’s amazing to see the organization through Second City Somms and Second City Soil that has swelled up to push Chicago to the front. We are so appreciative of John Lenart and other local writers who have included the chicago sommelier voice in publications. We are in awe of it and hope to act in service to it as we continue our project. We have seen wine destinations throughout the country like Rebelle, Mason Pacific, and RN 74 close. It is our responsibility to push forward and hold each other responsible to the continued goal of making Chicago an even greater wine city.  
We are excited for what 2018 has in store for Squire and for the city of Chicago.     
Thanks for continuing to be partners even if we may be derelict in our blogging duties.
Ryan and Steve
Squire Wine Co.

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