Wine by the Bay in Downtown Miami: Taste Wines From Around the World
It's difficult to capture Stefano Campanini's attention for more than a couple of minutes. Owner of downtown Miami's Wine by the Bay, he has a passion for the product and a charming Italian demeanor that have earned him many fans who wave as they walk by or stop in to say hello and grab a bottle on the way to a dinner party. They trust his opinion, fine-tuned during years of travel and study, and have come to rely on what he believes is one of the few mom-and-pop stores in the area.
Photo by Cassie Glenn
The small staff of four jokingly refers to the job title as PD: professional drinker. After only a brief conversation, you realize they all know their stuff. Tasting upward of 150 wines a week, they have a grasp on every bottle in the store and can help you make the best choice.
While Wine by the Bay boasts an impressive selection ranging in price from $11.95 to $2000-plus, it also offers weekly tastings to educate the public on wines from around the world. These events include plenty of vino, good company, and some tasty bites.
Since the place opened two years ago, word about weekly tastings has spread. To make up for increased demand, they now host groups most Tuesdays through Fridays. Topics are diverse, ranging from wines from Tuscany to rosé from around the world. On this particular night, I stopped in for Malbec and other great South American wines.
Photo by Cassie Glenn Stefano Campanini (left), Liz Muller, Kasey Billitz, and Stephen Eisele
You try seven to eight wines that are stacked to reflect a particular region, grape, year, or style. To keep track of them all, you're given a sheet to take notes (that grows increasingly illegible as the tasting progresses), along with an introduction about the theme of that night and how to properly taste and swirl like a pro.