One can sense the grassroots collaboration of Paradise Wine as soon as you walk through the door. It’s located in the Five Point’s area of the West Side, and even with its small size and art gallery-esque feel, it can’t be underestimated, as there is a wide selection of delicious wines, spirits and ciders to choose from.
Paula Paradise is a long time artist; she is a poet, a storyteller and a wine connoisseur. She and Lauren Kostek, her friend/business partner, combined their magic to make the possibility of the wine heaven come true. Kostek worked on the two-year restoration of the store while Paradise worked on the business planning.
Kostek got her start in real estate after a business endeavor between her and Paradise called Paradise Catering. Kostek and her team took the bull by the horns and completely revamped the entire store. She worked with her partners, designer J-M Reed and carpenter Al Williams.
A majority of what you’ll see in the store is locally made, from the wooden countertop to the 600 piece PVC piped back wall. Even the wine racks are locally made and were welded together by a friend.
“The rack is sheep and goat fencing,” Paradise said. “Sarah Fonzi from the Foundry is a welder and an artist. She welded it all together.”
Having the storefront on the West Side was no accident. “We’re long-time West siders. It was a lifestyle decision to have the store here; it is our favorite part of the city,” she said.
You can expect the utmost pleasant experience as a customer with Paradise. As I sat down on the locally crafted wooden bench, I watched Paradise assist several customers with an array of requests: finding the perfect Rose wine, wine for cooking, and pairing for meals.
Whatever your wine endeavor is, Paradise can help you. She even takes custom orders. One gentleman was looking for a dark Lambrusco, which Paradise plans to order to satisfy his request.
Paradise is selling more than just wine; she is selling and supporting a culture.
“These are wines from small family wineries,” she said. “Most of the wines in here are farmed organically. What a service they are doing for us to farm this way and provide this product. For me, I feel like I am curating a selection of wines from all over the world.”
You can trust that although what’s on the shelf may not be your taste, it was made by an artisan, it’s of the highest quality and it still remains affordable.
“We want to be a wine for the people,” she said.
Paradise doesn’t only support wine-goers, but bicyclists and environmentally conscious folks. She and Kostek are interested in getting people out of their cars as members of GO Bike Buffalo. A patch of land in front of the store, once full of weeds, was dug up by Paradise. One of her projects for the summer is to put a long sculpture piece that acts as a bike rack in front of her shop for cyclists.
Paradise Wine is also a recycling center for natural corks. So before you toss out the cork from your wine bottle, make sure you stop at Paradise Wine and drop it off as you pick up a cider, or perhaps a bottle of 2013 Artazuri Garnacha, a delicious dry red which paired perfectly with my spicy vegan chili.
The next time you find yourself on the West Side, make sure you stop and visit Paula Paradise at 435 Rhode Island Street.