CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. Secret Santa participants struggling for gift ideas might be in luck. Entering his 14th holiday season on King Street, chances are Kirk Sprenger, Chappaqua's local wine merchant, knows your recipient's pallet more than you.
Part of being a fine wine merchant is listening to people and finding out what they like and what theyre looking for rather than just making the sale, said Sprenger, owner of Chappaqua Wine and Spirit Company. Its easy to walk over and put a bottle in somebodys hands whos looking to spend X number of dollars.
Working in a smaller community such as Chappaqua gives Sprenger an advantage during holiday season, believing that familiarity with his customers comes in handy when they ask for recommendations, he said.
People come in on a daily basis, theyll peruse the selection, theyll see some new things on the shelf, and theyll pick it up and they say, You think Ill like this? Many times I say, 'No, youre not going to like it,' said Sprenger. Ill steer them in a different direction.
Sprenger has been assisting Chappaqua residents with their wine selections since March of 1997, when he took over ownership of the store just four months after it opened. Before coming to Chappaqua, Sprenger managed a wine shop in Mamaroneck for seven years.
Ive been drinking wine since I was seven years old, said Sprenger. My parents grew up on wine, they had six kids, we all grew up on wine. It was an easy transition into the wine world.
According to Sprenger, the holiday season has been always a boon for his shop, which he says does 40 percent its business for the year during October, November and December.
A lot is popular for Thanksgiving because I would say with the different types of food and turkey being a neutral meat, it just leads to a wide variety of different wines, said Sprenger.
While wine was popular during Thanksgiving, Sprenger said spirit and scotch sales picked up in December. He does not expect sales to immediately slow down after Christmas and Hanukkah either, as Sprenger anticipates champagne to be in demand for New Years.
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