December 1, 2020

Wine is my life, says Carrie

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A customer chooses a bottle at Premier

Declaring that “wine is my life”, Premier Wines and Spirits owner Carrie Stein and sister Jennifer have opened the doors at Cayman’

s latest liquor retailer, offering a thorough knowledge of the grape and a deal with a difference.

Aficionados themselves and daughters of Walkers’ recently retired Global Chairman Grant Stein, the pair offer weekly discounts on a range of top wines, a public tasting every Saturday, the pick of an eight-bottle dispenser for browsing customers and a full knowledge of their whites, reds and roses.

After all, since 1998, the family has owned the Piedra winery, 60 kilometres north of Salamanca, Spain.
“Piedra is Spanish for ‘stone’. Our family name is German for ‘stone’, and we’ve had it for 13 years,” Carrie Stein says, pointing to the half-dozen shelves with their products.

Premier’s origins are as a wholesaler, partly owned by Matthew Wight, son of Deloitte chief and Wine Down owner Ian Wight. Since November 2009, Premier wholesalers has supplied restaurants, bars, hotels and independent retailers.

As competition stiffened, however, and Dart Enterprises acquired Blackbeard’s, Big Daddy’s and Cayman Distributors, Premier wholesalers decided to use its package-store licence to open its own retail outlet.

While the retail operation purchases stock from the wholesale operation, Premier carries a full range – sourced from every distributor — of spirits, wines and beers, along with accessories, bags, corkscrews, glasses, gift baskets and mixers.

“It’s a one-stop shop for everything,” Ms Stein said, including local products beside alcohol. “We welcome local suppliers to

Carrie Stein (right) passes on her advice to a customer

come and showcase their products: pepper jelly, wine glasses, fruits, vegetables, anything local that we can offer exposure. We want to be a place where people can browse, have a glass of wine and spend some time.”

Declaring “customer service is our main product,” Ms Stein offers customers the benefit of her formal training in wine

appreciation, frequently employed with her range of private clients. For the rest –especially the rum – she points to the incomparable Mark Stanley.

Having opened Fort Street Market for Foster’s and boasting years of retail experience, Mr Stanley, in Cayman for nearly two decades, surveys his domain, holding forth on the subject of rum, pointing out his favourites, particularly the Ron Zacapa, pride of Guatemala.

However, he notes, among the shelves “the most expensive are not always the best,“ underscoring the range of mid-price bottles from a variety of sources.

“Come in on Saturdays between 11am and 2pm,” says Ms Stein, “to enjoy our tastings,” and while sometimes built around a variety of beers, the wines, she says, are “built around themes: grapes, regions, pairings and others.”

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