With a background in the newspaper business, I knew Grape Sense would not get a lot of feedback from the column. The column runs regularly in eight Indiana newspapers with a reported combined circulation of about 90,000.

When I do hear from readers, it’s usually questions on where I buy wine. I always try to point out in blog postings where I bought a particular bottle. I buy about 90 percent of my wine in Central Indiana locations.

But I want to introduce you to another shop I’ve mentioned before but not written extensviely about. Pairings – Where Food and Wine Meet at 4040 E. 82nd St. is another great place to buy wine and gourmet food items.

Phil Van Deusen is the proprietor wanting to specialize in making you feel comfortable buying wine.

“I recognize there are lot of places to buy wine around town and now even more so with online sites and other things,” Phil told me. “What I’m able to offer is personal service and the ability to listen beyond what your telling me, to really understand what you’re looking for, and to match the right wine with the right person.

“It’s not that it’s the most expensive bottle for me to sell, it’s more important for me to build relationships. If I get something I think a person will like, I might call them and say, ‘I got a case of this under the counter.’ “

Phil’s shop in a strip mall on 82nd is filled with carefully selected, great value wines. When I told him I liked earthy Rhone wines, he introduced me to Patrick Lesec’s “Bouquet” – which was my favorite value wine of 2009.

Phil is taking his personalized approach a step further. He asks customers to fill out a wine profile to help him guide customers to things they’ll like.

“I’ll have new customers fill out a wine profile and register likes and dislikes and wines they’ve liked in past,” he explained. “That will help me make more and better recommendations.”

Phil also has a nice selection of fine wines at a higher price point. During my first visit, I discovered he carried Lange’s better Pinot Noir bottlings. I was sold on his cred after that!

If you like reading about Central Indiana wine shops, drop me a note at the e-mail address below or leave a comment. I could easily do a bit more on each Central Indiana wine shop I frequent.

I realize not all readers are from Central Indiana, but hopefully others will enjoy reading about good wine shops as well.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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