Wine shop serves a sip of culture

Posted March 17, 2006
?Lindsey Gooding
Vin de Pays, a wine shop in San Dimas owned by Jerry and Heidi Daniels, offers a variety of affordable wine. All bottles are $15. The shop hosts wine tastings every day, which includes eight varieties of wine with an assortment of cheese and crackers.

Kristen Chocek
Staff Writer

Many college students may be intimidated when handed a wine list because of the wid

e variety to choose from. From reds to whites and sparkling to dessert wines, it may be a little confusing, especially when half of the names are in different languages.

But don’t let this stop you from welcoming some culture into your life. Wine is actually the No. 1 beverage of choice aside from beers and spirits.

To learn about wines, you have to try them. The more you taste, the more your palate will expand, as well as your knowledge. Therefore, one must get themselves to tastings. And with places like Vin De Pays wine shop in San Dimas, we do not have to take a weekend trip to Napa to learn the fundamentals of wine tasting.

Wine 101

“I have always wanted to go to Napa but I don’t have time to drive up there,” senior psychology and broadcasting major Alexis Moreno said. “I love the convenience of Vin De Pays.”

Vin De Pays is a full service wine shop that specializes in fine wines, micro-brewed and specialty beer and daily wine tasting in a cozy, eclectic atmosphere. It is located on Bonita Avenue in downtown San Dimas.

Vin De Pay owners Jerry and Heidi Daniels, a father and daughter duo, opened their shop in late October 2005. Though they are still new to the community, the Daniels have received support from their new wine enthusiast customers.

“We have the best customers on the planet, so much so that we are going to have to add a patio to accommodate them,” Heidi Daniels said.

The Daniels have garnered many customers and citizens of the local communities. People travel all the way from Pasadena, Orange and everywhere in between to experience the excitement of Vin De Pays.

“It’s just a great place to hang out and learn more about wine,” Heidi Daniels said.

Vin De Pays is the ideal place for students who are tired of hanging out at the same bars and clubs. It provides a great social place for people to make friends, to network and to learn about wine in a comfortable environment.

“When it gets really busy on Friday evenings, people join other tables and make friends,” Heidi Daniels said.

With movies like “Sideways,” wine tasting is at an all time boom.

“There have always been traditional wine tasters, but now there is a new generation of wine tasters that are making it more fun and accessible,” senior broadcasting major Hector Gonzales said. “Younger people are doing it now because it’s fun and you don’t get the heavy buzz like when you go out drinking.”

“If you’re of age, I really suggest doing it,” Gonzales added. “It’s a different atmosphere and it’s fun tasting different wines and educating yourself about it.”

What many beginners may not know is that wine can increase the flavor of food. There are different rules to follow when serving wine with meals.
“As you get accustomed to drinking wine, you can start enhancing your taste buds,” Gonzales said. “You will actually be surprised to find new taste buds that you never knew you had, especially when you start learning which food it goes with.”

Light wines are usually paired up with lighter foods, and bolder wines with heavier foods. However it is truly up to the taster’s preference, which can be learned through tastings.

Vin De Pays tasting schedule is Thursday through Wednesday with a weekly theme. It features eight wines personally chosen by Heidi and Jerry Daniels and serves each with cheese and crackers. The price is $9.99 per person, a great value since patrons gain exposure to eight wines each week without buying eight bottles.

This week it is featuring wines from Spain. In the next couple weeks, it will showcase wine regions in Chile and Argentina. Following those will be one of Vin De Pays most popular tasting themes called “blind tasting.”

“Blind tasting” consists of eight wines all brown-bagged, allowing tasters to guess each wine. Perfect for the customers who are trying to learn the basics in wine tasting.

Once a month Vin de Pays hosts events, such as bottle signings and guest speakers. These events are for educating patrons who want to learn about certain wines and regions.

“We are also contemplating a college night, so keep an eye out,” Heidi Daniels said.

“We have approximately 175 wines to choose from,” Heidi Daniels added.
“We have tasted every single one of them at least once. We make our decisions on quality, value, and food friendliness.”

Vin de Pays follows the mantra that anyone can find a great $30 bottle of wine. The art is in finding that great $10 bottle.

Kristen Chocek can be reached at

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