Wine connoisseur Debby Davies is popping the cork just in time for the holidays.
The 43-year-old and her husband, Brian, 40, opened Wellington’s Wine and Cheese, 125 W. Broadway, Peculiar, on Dec. 15 in her hometown of Peculiar with a wine tasting.
The opening was coincidentally held just in time for the couple’s four-month wedding anniversary the following day.
Nestled near the corner of Broadway and Missouri C Highway, the newlyweds, who recently moved back to Missouri from Massachusetts last summer, hope to feature all 150-plus wines that are grown and produced in the state.
“Brian and I were both sick of our day jobs and I thought, ‘Let’s do something fun – more enjoyable – so we came up with this idea,” said Debby Davies, who practiced law in Massachusetts. Brian Davies is a retired firefighter. “I’m sick of the hustle and bustle of it all, so I thought, ‘Why not go for the quiet life.”
Debby Davies, who had been in the The Bay State for 17 years, added that her law partner wanted to retire, and she didn’t want to practice without him, so she opted for a career change.
“Back in Massachusetts, some good friends of mine had a wine shop,” she added. “I have always loved wine, but they really taught me about the different types of wines and we would do a lot of tastings and every year.”
At their opening, the couple had about six vineyards represented throughout Missouri’s Wine Country on their shelf ready to share with new customers.
The featured wine of the day on Dec. 15 was a 2011 Vignoles Semi Sweet White, hailing from Cass County’s own backyard – Lee’s Summit’s Stonehaus Farms Winery.
The Vignoles, which earned the coveted Missouri Governor’s Cup in 2012, is described as a hybrid of Pinot de Corton and Seibel 8665. The Riesling-like grape produces a zesty, semi-sweet wine rich with citrus and tropical flavors.
“It’s a really super good wine,” Debby Davies said.
The Davieses promised that a lot of Stonehaus’s wines will be featured at the shop.
“We absolutely love his wines. Everything he produces is amazing,” she said.
Wines from Red Fox Winery are Vineyards, located in Urich, are also apart of the store’s inventory. Wellington’s is also an exclusive retailer of Belvoir wines, made in Liberty.
“I created a lot of really good relationships with vineyard owners and I can get a lot of wine that other places can’t,” Debby Davies said. “Eventually, we would like to feature every winery that actually grows and produces wine in their winery. There are a few wineries around the state that import their grapes, but we want to focus on the wineries that everything is made in Missouri.”
The shop plans to offer regular wine tastings, and also offers a free chilling service that can chill a bottle of white in six minutes and a bottle of red in three minutes.
To go along with their wine choices, Wellington’s also features an assortment of cheeses to complement the perfect glass of wine – including varieties of cheddar, brie, parmesan, Havarti and Stilton cheeses.
“We wanted to focus on as many Missouri cheeses as possible but the two main ones that we will be featuring don’t actually have cheese for sale right now because they’re made with sheep’s milk and they’re not lactating in the winter,” Debby Davies said.
The couple, who are currently residing in Lee’s Summit but hope to eventually move to Cass County, chose to come to Missouri to also be near Debby Davies’ parents, Richard and Judy Smith. The Smiths, who opened Grandpa’s Greenhouse in Peculiar in November 2011, also needed some help with their business.
Debby Davies is hoping to work jointly with her mother’s products, which include homemade jellies, bread, pies and salsas, to pair them with wines.
Wellington’s also caters to special ordering, private parties, and hosting art shows to feature local artists.
The first piece of art on display is a stained glass portrait of the dog in which the store is named after.
“My mom had a beloved yellow labrador, Wellington,” Debby Davies said. “I was always terrified of him. He scared the daylights out me – he was about 150 pounds and barked way worse than his bite.”
The store owner recalled a time when she was home for Christmas one year, sitting on her bed enjoying a glass of wine.
“This giant dog jumps right in the middle of my bed and I just froze sitting there with my glass of wine,” she recalled. “He just leans over and starts drinking my wine. We were best friends ever since then, and I thought ‘Wellington’s Wine and Cheese’ sounded good. It has a ring to it.”
Their future goals for the wine shop include expanding their store into the back section of their building in order to put in a wine tasting bar and possibly a small bistro. Debbie Davies also noted that she would love to open additional locations throughout the state.
The store is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
For more information, visit Wellington’s website at www.wellingtonswineandch-
eese.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Wellingt-