Page 80 - Montecito Journal Glossy Edition Winter/Spring 2013/14

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ine enthusiasts, admirers, hunters, collectors, drinkers, tasters, geeks, and novices will be delighted to learn
that rare and fine wine specialist Richard Torin, owner of Clarets, is busy adding some bells and whistles to his
already intriguing enterprise. He’s doing so by offering more affordable wines and tastings at his Montecito
upper village location, which has been open one year. In an interview at his consultation studio and office, situated across
from Pan e Vino, Richard explains the business he’s been in for 25 years: “It’s an unusual business because we built it around
the most expensive and desirable Burgundy in the world, which is called Domaine de la Romanée-Conti [DRC]. Of
course, we sell rare and fine Bordeaux and California wines, but we are very well known for DRC.”
Clarets specializes in wine where demand exceeds supply. “What I do is buy and sell fine wine for cellars with prices
ranging from $100 to $20,000 per bottle,” says Richard. Recently, he brought in Jessica Garver to build a second side
to Clarets called Clarets Club. “What Jessica is creating is a business within the business,” Richard explains, “with
wines that are more moderately priced.”
“I am developing a local clientele for Richard,” says Jessica. “We are looking at wines that are between $20
and $80 a bottle.” They’re all Old World wines, which is, she explains, her specialty: “Think of Spain, Italy, France,
Austria, and Germany. That’s what we refer to as the Old World.”
One way she’s piquing her customers’ interest in Old World wines is by organizing semi-surreptitious tastings
for in-the-know clients. Anyone interested in an invitation to these “underground” wine events can do so through “I have a blog and e-mail list, and once you are on the list,” explains Jessica, “[as the event
nears], I send you the location, the password, and start time. It’s a lot of fun. We do different themes. I just finished
Behind the Bottle
story by Eva Van Prooyen
photos by Corey Sanders