Ladies everywhere are looking for ways to support their fellow females, right? I found two amazing wine bars that not only serve amazing wine; but are run by two skilled, smart, beautiful boss babes! No question about it, wine bars are no longer what they used to be. But these two ladies took on a venture and made it their own, and have proven to be the top wine bars Rochester always talks about. Come with me as I take you through my venture of getting to know these two ladies and their success as I hop from one wine bar to another…let’s go!
It’s a beautiful, warm April day and I am driving to Cornhill to meet Elle Andrews, the general manager at Flight Wine Bar. First off, I have been in Rochester for 7 years, and why have I not been to Cornhill Landing?? What is wrong with me!! Great location for a wine bar with a hip, cool vibe that surrounds the area. I am super excited to meet Elle as I have heard nothing but amazing things about Flight Wine Bar. I arrive a little early and start peeking through the windows and love their outside patio. Here comes this tall, poised, blonde that I assume is Elle. Sure enough we introduce ourselves and as she is opening the door to let me in, I can start smelling the aroma of beautiful mixes of wine. I LOVE wine and was blown away stepping in with the ambiance and beautifully picked décor. Now the actual bar was outstanding, filled with multiple wines all arranged by type. It felt so inviting and full of character; that I can only imagine why wine lovers love coming here.
As I sat at the bar; we start chatting about the wine bar. April marked 7 years that they have been in business and Elle as the GM and Wine Expert. What caught my attention was how the wine bottles being served were stored. With the system of using nitrogen tanks; it guarantees the correct serving wine temperature; as well as effectively keeping the wine fresh. Elle is all about freshness, and the love of wine. They offer a variety of different wines; attributed to Elle and how she does the buying and selecting. She likes to have a broad spectrum. “I like to have a balance between wines that are recognizable but also educate and enlighten people with wines that they have never tried before,” Elle commented. With that wide variety of a selection, she also offers higher end wines, that if you would love to try but is more expensive than your car payment for a bottle; you have the opportunity to try a glass.
One thing for sure; Elle is super excited to talk about wine! Her enthusiasm about the wine bar shines and her knowledge makes her a rock star! That is why if you are wanting to learn more about wine, you have to sign up for her weekly wine classes offered right there. It’s offered every Wednesday for 10 people or less. You learn to taste the heart of the grape and where it grows. She posts on their Facebook page what each week class will consist of and how to rsvp. I say sign me up!
What I did love is their rolling menu. She is a believer in having a global wine experience, and bringing people to a different level of wine tasting. I looked at Elle and told her that I loved her passion and that it truly shines through. I wanted to know where that came from and how she started her love for wine. With a smile, she said she was working in a corporate world; traveling nonstop and always feeling she had to prove herself in a business predominately run my men. It wasn’t until her then boyfriend said; you need to do something that makes you happy because you totally are not! He asked her when were you your happiest. Her answer….when she managed a small wine bar in the South of France! That was enough to get her going and focused. She started bartending, going to school and getting certified as a wine expert. It wasn’t until she came to the soft opening at Flight Wine Bar and met owners and looked at them and said; “I’m going to be your general manager!” The rest is history and this girl is shining with life, happiness and love. Oh and that then boyfriend that told her to follow her true passion; is now her husband! Come in and visit Elle, try one of her mystery flights, or Tuesday is free wine tasting, Wednesday is cheese tasting and Thursday come in for $6 sparkling wines! Tell her I sent you ..shhhh!
My next stop was none other than one of my faves – Apogee Wine Bar located on Park Ave. Owner and wine expert, Simone Boone is the sweetest girl ever! With a love for food and travel; and awesome customer service, it made sense that Simone would open up a wine bar. The décor and atmosphere is warm and inviting yet chic and big city like. What I loved is being able to sit outside, enjoy wine paired with a gourmet cheese tray and people watching.
I was very excited to speak to Simone and learn about what makes her space so inviting. I can tell she was very proud of Apogee, her pride and joy! What was her main focus I asked …her answer was to encourage people to try new wines, making them feel at home and enjoy a night out. She has a love for travel, which is why it was important to her to carry worldwide wines and offer that knowledge to people.
Now how did this cute, full of life boss babe get started; it goes back to her honeymoon! Her husband and she were in wine country in Argentina; and that is where she fell in love! She knew she had to go that route and so she did! She started bartending at Wegmans Bar and Grill, getting certified and then landed the job as the wine director at the Strathallen Hotel. She described how much she learned and knowledge she gained. Then as she was setting her goal to move along, the beautiful space on 151 Park Ave opened up and things started moving along faster than she anticipated. BOOM….Apogee Wine Bar was born August of 2014!
Simone loves to offer interesting wines to those that are open to new ventures. She runs specials of higher end wine and offer glasses from $7 -$13. Apogee has now become a fave to a lot and Simone says she does have her regulars, but her Fridays are filled with couples and girls out for a drink with friends! Be sure to look out on her Facebook page for her weekly Thursday –Saturday cake of the weekend. The girls from Scratch Bakery have partnered with her to offer Apogee wine lovers a lovely pairing of cake and wine. If you haven’t tried Scratch Bakery it’s a must!
I asked Simone what advice she would give to those wanting to start something new. She said, “well there is no guidebook, so you have to reach out to as many people as you can, and talk to people who are smarter then you” as she chuckles. Making sure you pick their brains, knowing you may make mistakes and getting back up is important.
Now this business owner is not only amazing at running her Wine Bar and working it, but she is also expecting baby #2!!! Simone is a true inspiration with her drive and focus and admire her balance between work and family. If you haven’t been to Apogee Wine Bar, you need to call your girls or plan a date! Have Simone surprise you with an incredible glass of wine to end your work week!