was named Wine Retailer of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine this week.
"I think it definitely because our team members take the intimidation out of selecting wine," said Stephen Vaughan, manager of the Stew Leonard's store in Farmingdale. "Experienced wine enthusiasts and those just learning can come and feel comfortable with their selections."
Stew Leonard’s Wines was given the award in recognition of "their commitment to customer service, team member training and their offerings of unique and innovative products at competitive prices," according to Wine Enthusiast .
Managers and buyers at each store location visit wineries, trade shows and major tasting events around the globe to learn more about the wines.
Farmingdale Manager Vaughan said that the Farmingdale store has more than 1,000 selections under $15 and more than 2,000 in total. The store features free tastings every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and d.
With this award, Stew Leonard’s Wines joins the ranks of past winners, including Sherry-Lehmann and Spec's Wine, Spirits & Finer Foods. Since opening the first store in Yonkers in 1999, the company has grown to nearly $100 million in sales with 150 team members across nine stores in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
“Stew Leonard’s is a great choice for our Retailer of the Year,” said Adam M. Strum, editor and publisher of Wine Enthusiast. The winners will be featured in the magazine’s December issue, and the honorees will be presented their awards at a gala in January.
"It really comes down to our team members loving what they do and having a passion for the wine, the stories behind them and conveying that message to the customers," Vaughan said.