Vino Amore opens in Freeland

Brian and Gail Plebanek are living their passion.

It's a passion for fine wines, and the Plebaneks are the proprietors of Vino Amore, a new wine shop in Freeland.

"We have always enjoyed wine as a hobby with our friends," Brian Plebanek said. "We saw a niche on the Southend for this business."

The shop features over 600 different labels from many locales, including France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Pacific Northwest and California wines.

"We have the largest selection of Italian wines on the Southend," Plebanek said.

Wine prices in the shop vary from as little as $5 to $125.

"The most popular wines we sell are between $12 and $20," Plebanek said.

Each week the Plebaneks feature four wines for tasting. They are served in a tasting room Gail Plebanek describes as having the "feel of a European wine cellar mixed with a little Italian cafe ambience."

Walls are a deep sienna color with a chocolate brown ceiling. Wine is displayed throughout on cellar-style wine racks. A solid custom maple wine bar with brass trim serves as the tasting area.

One of the services the Plebaneks offer is helping people pick the right wine to go with the food they are serving.

"Food and wine pairing is something we really like to do for people if they want the assistance," Brian Plebanek said.

For instance, which wine complements Mexican food or pesto? The answer is a Spanish Faustini VII priced at $12.99 a bottle.

Vino Amore also features items such as wine accessories, glassware, picnic baskets and backpacks, and antique glassware. Specialized items include Italian wine corks, champagne buckets and Spiegelau crystal stemware.

The couple plans to start a wine club with speakers this fall for interested customers.

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