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Gary's Wine Named 'Retailer of the Year'

Beverage Dynamics bestows title.

There is something for everyone at : Hundreds of different kinds of red and white wines, imported and locally made cheeses, and specialty bourbons and microbrews, all under one roof.

The store recently was named the 2012 Retailer of the Year by Beverage Dynamics magazine, and owner Gary Fisch credits the rich variety of goods as one of the things that makes his three shops, including the one on Main Street in Madison, stand out.

“All of these things, they’re all sensory experiences, the different smells and tastes can come together to create a very unique experience for anyone,” Fisch said. “We offer an experience that few other places offer. We’re able to help make the event that you have something special by offering a variety of products.”

Fisch first became interested in the wine business when he was 21 during his first trip to Napa Valley when he met vintner Louis Martini, the maker of cabernet sauvignon wines.

“I expected to meet the chief executive officer of a company, but I was greeted by a farmer,” Fisch said. “I was so engaged it was so different than anything I’d seen before. I fell in love with it.”

Fisch said that wine will taste differently depending on who’s drinking it. Everyone brings something different to the experience.

“That’s part of the fun of it,” Fisch said. “I love to hear from someone when they come back and tell us ‘I really liked what you recommended, what else like it do you have?’”

That personal experience that everyone brings to a bottle of wine, it starts in the vineyard.

“There’s so much that goes into a bottle of wine. There’s the grapes that someone grew and the soil, the water, and the care that went into making them,” Fisch said. “The people who create wine, they truly put a little bit of themselves into what they create.”

Fisch, originally from Edison, and his brother Mark opened the first of three stores in Madison in 1987. The other locations are in Wayne, which is the largest, and Bernardsville.

Fisch prides himself on employing people who are as passionate about the products his stores offer than he is about wine. He wants to develop a relationship with his customers regardless of why they enter the store.

“If you want to know the answer to a question, that’s what we’re here for,” Fisch said. “If you develop a relationship with someone, that’s great. That’s what wine and all of these things are based on: personal experiences.”

Fisch has added his own personal touches to the store with a regular rotation of wines he’s selected to feature.

The store features regular wine and weekly microbrew tasting events. Special guests and celebrities stop by the store from time to time, including .

“This is just a great business,” Fisch said. “It’s a very competitive market, but I love it here.”

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