Where Wine Tasting is Unique
Niko's Wine Corner is the only shop in Snellville with a wine tasting permit, and it hosts free tastings each Thursday.
Niko’s Wine Corner is making history, and it never tasted so good to its customers.
In opening Niko’s Wine Corner in 2009, Niko Patel became the first person to own and operate a wine shop in Snellville. He is also the first business owner to receive a wine tasting permit from the city.
“In being the first I had to fight certain perceptions associated with alcohol selling" Patel said. "I had to agree to certain conditions imposed by the city to get licensed to sell wine and for wine tastings."
Those conditions included selling items other than wine, hosting wine tastings only one night a week with designated hours, and adhering to limitations on the amount of wine served.
"But," Patel said, "it has all been worth it.”
While working as an employee in a full-scale alcohol beverage store in Conyers, Ga., customers from Snellville urged Patel to do what had never been done before. He said the decision to start the business was akin to the analogy of people going to a doctor when they are sick, and not the pharmacist. He believed that people who enjoy wine should not be limited to going to a grocery store to buy a bottle.
Today the store boasts more than 1,000 different types of wine, with the priciest being $300.
“There is nothing like Niko’s Wine Corner in Snellville," Patel said. "When you come to Niko’s we help you discover that there is no cheap wine or wrong wine, but the right wine for you."
With that philosophy, Patel at his Snellville location (with partner Leslie Laske, who is the co-owner of Niko’s Wine Corner in Lawrenceville), hosts free wine tastings every Thursday 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. By attending these wine tastings customers can try different wines before buying, something that they cannot do at local grocery stores.
In addition, Patel said that the wine tastings also give him opportunities to discover customers’ palettes, which helps ensure he stocks well-liked items.
When asked, most of the wine tasting attendees did not consider themselves to be connoisseurs, but more wine enthusiasts with developed tastes in wine preferences.
“All wine is wonderful”, said Jae Vinson, an operations manager in technology. “But I prefer German whites, Italian reds and wines from South Africa.”
Vinson a six-year resident said she first heard of the free wine tastings while driving by noticing a roadside sign. That was a year and a half ago, and she hasn't missed one.
“There have been times when I get the email that I think I won’t like the wines at the tastings, but then after tasting them, I discover that I like them”, Vinson said.
On a recent Thursday, Allen Price and his wife, Brenda, were attending the wine tastings for the third time. They are regulars.
“We have enjoyed attending these and other tastings to try new and unfamiliar vintages," Allen Price said. "If you like one wine from a vineyard, chances are you will like others."
During a recent tasting of wines from the Peirano Estate Vineyards, Cary and Brad Hobbs, of Lilburn, said they purchase more wine from Niko’s because the prices are better than most found in grocery stores. In addition, the duo said Patel goes out of his way to remember what his customers likes.
Niko's is just a “great place to shop" and sample, Cary Hobbs said.
These weekly wine tastings have drawn as many as 50 people and average about 30 patrons. Patel said he normally selects wines that he believes his customers will enjoy not only sampling, but learning about.
Wine tastings are held at the Snellville location on Thursdays, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. For more information, contact Niko's Wine Corner at 770-979-3111.