Rootstock Wine Merchants Opens in Memphis’ Edge District

Have you ever had a wine from Austria, Lebanon or Greece?

There’s a new wine store in Memphis that offers a collection of wines you may not know about, but the owners think they’ll soon become some of your new favorites.

Rootstock Wine Merchants is Scott Smith’s latest venture. It opened Monday at 644 Madison Ave.

The new store in the Edge District offers wines from small family wineries around the world. It will feature a strong collection of “off the beaten path” wines from Italy, France and Australia, as well as the United States.

Smith said it wouldn’t be the store to buy brand name wines found on grocery store shelves. Instead, customers will find a collection of unique and special wines that are not widely offered.

What to expect

Managing Director Charlie Purpura, left, and owner Scott Smith aim to bring affordable and accessible wines from around the world to their new Edge neighborhood wine shop, Rootstock Wine Merchants, which will soft-open on Monday, May 16, 2022 .

Smith said the 4,000 square foot store will be a place for customers to gather and learn.

“We will have a tasting table and comfortable leather seats. It will not only be a store, but also a place to hang out,” Smith said. “We will always have a few wines open for tasting that we are passionate about.”

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At Rootstock, a wine purchase will be more than just a transaction, it will be a conversation.

“We aim for the experience to be personal,” Smith said. “We want people to tell us about things they’ve had and liked, and we’ll suggest wines.”

Smith also said wines with “little chemical intervention in the wine-making process” will find their way onto the shelves, explaining that many mass-produced wines contain a high amount of additives.

A wealth of experience

A new wine shop in the Edge District, Rootstock Wine Merchants, has its soft opening on Monday 16th May 2022.

Smith is a veteran of the wine industry, having worked in the industry since he was a teenager.

“I started working in Buster’s storage racks. I soon discovered that the most exciting stuff was around the wine,” he said.

Smith then worked for other wine shops and distributors before opening his own liquor store. Rootstock Wine Merchants is its third store. His most recent was Wine Market, a store on Spottswood in East Memphis that he ran from 2006 to 2019.

When Smith sold Wine Market in late 2019, he planned to start a wine import business. As it was getting started, the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted those plans.

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After observing the success of wine merchants like Woodland Wine Merchant in Nashville and Golden Age near Birmingham, he decided to change gears again. Ongoing development in the Edge District was the catalyst for the creation of the new store.

Charlie Purpura is the general manager of the store. Although he doesn’t have the decades of experience that Smith has in the industry, he too started in the wine business at an early age – in his early twenties.

Managing Director Charlie Purpura, left, and owner Scott Smith aim to bring affordable and accessible wines from around the world to their new Edge neighborhood wine shop, Rootstock Wine Merchants, which will soft-open on Monday, May 16, 2022 .

Purpura said the wine shop will also offer a selection of spirits, as well as local and regional beers.

“There will be a bit for everyone here,” he said.

Rootstock has taken over three-quarters of the building it occupies. The remaining quarter will house a wine bar called Three of Cups in the Fall.

“My son, Jake Smith, is opening a wine bar next door to us,” Smith said. “We will both be focusing on and showcasing a lot of the same wines.”

Jennifer Chandler is The Commercial Appeal’s Food & Dining reporter. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.

Rootstock Wine Merchants

Or: 644 Madison Ave.

Hours: 10am-8pm Monday to Saturday; close on Sunday

Call: (901) 480-7872

In line:http://www.rootstockmemphis.com/

About Michael Brafford

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