Melissa Winkler was traveling through Europe studying ceramics when she took an introductory wine class at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris on a whim. She’s since spent more time exploring clay in soils than sculpting it, working in retail while studying with the Court of Master Sommeliers. She opened Winkler & Samuels last summer in a 1901 paper-box factory in downtown Buffalo, making the most of the industrial space, with its exposed ductwork and bare brick, to create an airy gallery for her 700-plus selections. Her tastes run toward the Old World, with classics like Giacomo Conterno Barolo alongside new names like Cap ô Sud, an old-vine carignan from Beaujolais master Jean-Louis Dutraive. Her selection of new-wave Californians is locally unmatched, and includes bottles like Martha Stoumen’s Nero d’Avola from Mendocino, Dirty & Rowdy’s Skinner Stoney Creek Mourvedre, and Duke & Ella, an unusual blend of riesling and viognier from Amplify Wines in Santa Barbara. Drop by on Fridays to see what she’s pouring, or sign up for one of her frequent wine classes.
500 Seneca St., Buffalo, New York
This story appears in the print issue of February 2020.
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