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Embrace the Holiday Spirit

As the countdown to major holiday festivities speeds up, you’re likely making last minute preparations for your entertaining, or deciding what offerings to bring to whoever will host you.  The gift of grape is usually a crowd pleaser, and there are plenty of local shops across Fairfield and Westchester Counties where the experts on hand can walk you through everything from prosecco to port. Here's a few that never miss.

Liquor Locker —This cozy wine cave is situated smack in the center of Main St. in downtown Westport, Conn. Advising wine novices and connoisseurs alike since 1968, the proprietors bring a wealth of experience to your wine shopping experience. Give these guys a dish and a price point, and they’ll likely recommend just what you’re looking for, even if you’re not quite sure what that is. 68 Main St., Westport, Conn.

Harry’s Wines —A Fairfield, Conn. institution for 70 years, Harry’s is a family-run, neighborhood wine shop. But don’t let the small town feel fool you, Harry’s staff brings international knowledge and refined expertise to the craft of wine selection.  And with the 2007 addition of wine specialist Christelle Marilhet, originally of Lyon, France, Harry’s has expanded its selection and knowledge of European wines. 2094 Post Rd, Fairfield, Conn.

The Wine Mapp —A newcomer to the Greenwich, Conn. wine scene, The Wine Mapp opened its doors last month and the buzz has been big.  The double “p” in the moniker is a nod to the techie aspect the store’s concept. The Wine Mapp offers customers a smart phone app that helps pair wine with food and personal taste. In addition to the Mapp’s app, the proprietors also keep your purchase history in the store data base, which helps you find “that really great bottle of French red with the blue label,” even if you can’t remember what it’s called. 469 West Putnam Ave., Greenwich, Conn.

Wine at Five —This boutique wine store in the heart of Rye, N.Y. prides itself on being a little bit different. Owner Cai Palmer has created the kind of wine store, “where I would like to shop,” he writes. “Stocked full of unknown and funky stuff that I could count on to be the perfect wine for that particular moment.” 4 Purchase St., Rye, N.Y.

Wine Geeks —Apart from husband and wife team Derek and Carol Todd’s encyclopedic knowledge of wine, there’s nothing geeky about this artisanal wine shop. The forward thinking wine enthusiasts put a focus on selling wines produced in organic and bio-dynamic vineyards, and have introduced Armonk, N.Y. and greater Westchester County to producers they would not otherwise encounter. 559 Main St., Armonk, N.Y.

Fountainhead Wines—The Ancona brothers of Fat Cat Pie Co. bring their love of wine to this quirky, off the beaten path their two wine outposts in Norwalk, Conn. and Bedford Hills, N.Y. Expect spirited service from the staff and prepare to move just this side of your comfort zone, as you won’t find the ubiquitous California Chardonnay on Fountainhead’s shelves. But then the Ancona’s would say that’s why people come to Fountainhead in the first place. 67 ½ Winfield St., Norwalk, Conn. and 19 Depot Plaza, Bedford Hills, N.Y.

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