Richmond resident wants to become your weird wine uncle
“My greatest joy is giving somebody a wine that they don't expect.”
Story by Natalie Mead
Andrew Garsetti, the founder of Uncle Andy’s Wine Closet, wants to be your weird wine uncle.
The thirty-year-old Richmond resident had extra time on his hands at the start of the pandemic and noticed a couple of trends. Namely, people were drinking more and food (and drink) delivery was taking off. So Garsetti, who works in wine PR, thought up a side project that hit both sweet spots: a mail-order wine club (with a fun-loving name) that brings bottles to doorsteps.
“Uncle Andy is the kind of the weird uncle that you have who has a good taste in wine and you see him once every few months and you have a good time with him,” Garsetti said in a recent conversation. “[He’s] jovial and approachable and is not trying to be too didactic with wine.”
Here’s how it works. Uncle Andy’s Wine Closet offers subscriptions in two simple themes. The “Keepin’ it Classic” club includes wines made from traditional grapes, while the “Left Field Gems” club offers more unexpected tastes. Each club has two price points, either $45 or $65 a month. Set your budget, choose your style, and Garsetti does the rest, including personally delivering wine each month to Bay Area customers. (If you live outside the Bay, he’ll ship your wine for free. But for now, you’ll need to live in California to get wine from Uncle Andy’s due to license constraints.)
Fun food pairings and two recipes–one “regional” and one “Andy’s wild card”–also come with every bottle. And don’t forget the Spotify playlists, which Garsetti personally curates.
“[Uncle Andy’s] is a way to introduce people who are a little reticent or tentative in their wine journey, to get them easily integrated into the world of wine,” said Garsetti. “It's meant to be kind of lightly educational, but mostly a light-hearted, fun way to get people into wine who don't have a lot of experience with it.”
Even without a physical location, there were plenty of surprises as Garsetti spun up the business.
“I was expecting that I could house all the wine in my apartment,” he said. But, as it turns out, you can’t sell alcohol from home. It took nearly a year to obtain both warehouse space and the licensing necessary to properly store and ship wine.
Finally, this past April, Uncle Andy’s Wine Closet opened for business online, and Garsetti posted flyers in busy areas of San Francisco to get the word out (which is how we first heard of the project).
“I think people tend to have a very narrow view on what wine can be,” said Garsetti, whose customer base over recent months has grown beyond immediate friends and family. “My greatest joy is giving somebody a wine that they don't expect.”
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