BETHLEHEM — This is a historic year for Upstate Wine & Spirits Company.
Co-owner Todd Yutzler said the store is celebrating its 50th anniversary in May with a party to not only thank the community for its support, but also to fete its founders — Peter and Donna Devine.
“Pete was really ahead of his time,” said Yutzler, who bought the store from the Devines in 2005. “Back then, a lot of the stores were selling the Riunites of the world and jug wines. Pete sold those, too, but he also sold a lot of high-end wines (from Europe) that not many stores were carrying.”
A lot has changed since the Devines opened what was known as the Delaware Plaza Liquor Store in 1967. In the past year alone, the store moved into a bigger location within Delaware Plaza to better accommodate the growing inventory.
“It’s been very well received,” Yutzler said of the new space, which is nearly double the original, 4,200-square foot space the store began in. “And, it’s nice to walk down less crowded aisles.”
The new space has allowed Yutzler and Day to start offering wine and spirit seminars to the public on a regular basis. Yutzler said the seminars are usually between 60 and 90 minutes long and offer people the chance to sample some of the store’s latest offerings.
“We have a 30-foot tasting area in the back where we hold seminars,” said Yutzler. “We have seating for 30 people, but there have been times where we’ve been overbooked … and we’ve had to go and get more seats.”
The store is also able to offer a large array of New York state wine and spirits, including several regional companies such as Albany Distilling Company, Adirondack Distillery, Lake Placid Distillery and Core vodka from Chatham. Yutzler said the regional and state brands get their own section of the store.
“People ask me how can there be wineries up here, and I tell them that they get their juices from places like the Finger Lakes and Long Island and make their products here,” said Yutzler.
And as has been the tradition started by Peter Devine, Yutzler said he continues to seek little-known brands of wine and spirits to sell.
“A lot of (the inventory) is national,” said Yutzler. “Once we have those filled, we carry some brands others don’t carry.”
Upstate Wine and Spirits Company is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 439-4361 or visit www.upstatewine.com.