Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Belly Up To...

Getting the Vintage Vibe


Vintage Wine and Spirits owner Curt Turner invites wine lovers to a Wine Pot Luck where guests buy any bottle to add to the tasting alongside everyone else’s picks.

Vintage Wine and Spirits doesn’t seem like your normal fit for Cityview’s Belly Up feature. It’s a wine store — at first glance, anyway. But, if you’ve ever visited the corner shop along Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines, you know it’s more than just a store. It’s a gathering spot for singles, couples and groups to unwind with whatever their pleasure might be — from fine wine to malt beer to a perfectly packed cigar. In fact, it’s one of the few places left in Iowa where the smell of a smoking stogie is considered a compliment to the host, owner Curt Turner.                

“We have ‘Thursdays Cigars on the Patio’ (from 5–9 p.m.), where people grab a glass of wine, or a bottle with friends, or a beer if they want, and join me and other cigar smokers on the patio,” Turner said. “Cigars are always allowed on the patio. I love cigars. I’m a longtime smoker, and it’s a common pairing — wine and cigars.”                

Turner chooses a bottle to uncork and share with his fellow aficionados, and he’s got good taste. He knows his flavors — both in cigars and in wine. That’s why his customers start out curious wanderers and end up as regulars. They look to Turner for advice and guidance on what wine to try next.                

“I get a wide range of customers with a wide range of questions,” he said. “So many people have different tastes. And the patio is a huge draw. It’s very quiet, and there’s free wi-fi. So people come here to do drink wine or beer and get some work done.                

“The regulars are a lot of fun,” he added. “They don’t hang out in pods like people in bars do. They’ll come in here and slide the tables together. It’s a very social vibe. Most people come here to hang out and buy a bottle to drink with friends, because they get it at the retail price and there are no corkage fees or anything like that.”                

Some of his regulars are even considering pooling their money together to buy the mother of champagne at Vintage, he said: a 12-liter bottle of Bolinger Special Cuvee (see photo). It’s the equivalent of 16 bottles of champagne; it’s 12 percent alcohol; and it’s $2,000.                

“I just hope I’m there when they open it,” Turner laughed. CV

Vintage Wine and Spirits
6905 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 124
(515) 225-4373
Hours: Tue.–Sat. 12-9 p.m.; Sun. 12-8 p.m.
Featured events: Friday night wine pot luck, 5-9 p.m.; Sunday Bubbly Sunday all day; Saturdays Food and Wine Tastings, 2-4 p.m.; monthly Small Business Open Houses with live music.
Capacity: Seats 20 outside and 12 inside

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