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The Scoop: News from the local wine world

February 25th 03:02pm, 2013

Big news is pouring out of two area wine shops: 33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar is seeing a change in ownership, and The Wine & Cheese Place is set to unveil its expansion at its Creve Coeur location.

In a letter sent via email last Friday to supporters, 33 Wine Shop owner Jeff Stettner announced that he was selling the wine bar located at 1913 Park Ave. in Lafayette Square, to friend and long-time customer James Smallwood. Smallwood, a resident of Lafayette Square, “has been a fixture at the bar since his time at AT&T, a career he left to follow his dream of owning and operating a watering hole,” wrote Stettner. He continued, “James’ interest in wine, whiskey and beer is astonishing. A certified sommelier, James is going to continue the great tradition established more than 12 years ago of providing the best product available.” Stettner noted that he will remain “behind the bar at 33 for the next few months while James gets fully licensed and feels completely up to speed.”

Stettner has been the owner-operator of 33 Wine Bar since 2009, having purchased the shop from Jake Hafner, who left 33 to open The Civil Life Brewing Co.

Reflecting on his four years at 33, Stettner expressed gratitude for his customers. “It’s the customers of 33 that shape the bar,” he wrote. As for the je ne sais quoi of what makes 33 so unique, Stettner noted, “If the elements that make 33 work so well were easily captured, somebody would have figured out how to copy the bar. That hasn’t happened and it never will.”

In other wine related news, The Wine & Cheese Place has completed the expansion at its location at 457 N. New Ballas Road in Creve Coeur. The shop, now doubled in square footage, will hold an open house this Friday and Saturday. Complimentary beer and spirits tastings will be available on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., and on Saturday, complimentary wine will flow from noon to 4 p.m.

By Ligaya Figueras

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