Upon stepping into this cozy shop with high ceilings and colored walls, you’ll hear uplifting music playing in the background. Several tables and chairs for groups to mingle are dotted around the shop, and cushioned stools nestle up against the bar. Perhaps the comfy couch is where friends will choose to relax after a long day of hiking or biking. The views from every angle showcase a collection of wine bottles perfectly arranged throughout the shop – over 250 different bottles of wine! Visitors are immediately greeted with a warm smile and invited to make themselves at home. Water is served, and menus with eye-catching designs are presented. After your selection has been made, the beverages start flowing – and the conversations do too. Welcome to The Art of Wine.
Our story begins with Brian Howell – a “Miner to Winer,” whose appreciation for unique South African wines transformed his previous career from the mining business to the ownership of a cozy wine shop in Uptown Sedona. In 2015, Brian found himself moving to Sedona where he discovered a tasting room that focused on local wines. This piqued his interest in owning his own store. He walked into the tasting room and struck up a conversation with the owners. As timing would have it, the business was for sale and shortly thereafter Brian became the sole proprietor of The Art of Wine. His interest was to preserve the niche of local wine producers, as well as introducing visitors to the unique wines of South Africa. Soon thereafter, Brian was on the hunt for a reliable manager that could help bring his vision of The Art of Wine into fruition. This search led to a serendipitous meeting at a local restaurant with an enthusiastic bartender named Johnathan Maldonado. Their encounter with each other would eventually alter both of their lives in ways they would have never guessed!
After a handful of conversations, Brian and Johnathan discovered that a collaboration between them was not only possible, but was also in the best interest of one other. After twelve years of waiting tables, bartending and managing a restaurant, Johnathan was ready to focus his skills, expand his potential and take a more serious role within the emerging Arizona wine industry. The timing was more than perfect. Johnathan had submitted his notice with his current employer just weeks before meeting Brian, and his last day was the day before Brian officially took control of The Art of Wine – talk about synchronicity!
This partnership between Brian and Johnathan became a recipe for success. Both utilized their unique skill set to improve the business and to create connections to other wineries, tasting rooms, and local wine shops in the area. Both shared a very strong passion for learning about wine and its history. Together they took an adventure around the world through the wines they poured in their glasses, while simultaneously learning and teaching one another. What was and remains most important to Brian and Johnathan, is to help people understand that wine isn’t intimidating or pretentious, rather it should be fun and exciting, and with each sip, take you on your own personal journey.
Three years later, their business relationship grew to remarkable heights and a new change was on the horizon. On July 1, 2018, a joint ownership took place within The Art of Wine. Johnathan and his wife, Lauren Maldonado, purchased 50 percent of the business and became partners alongside Brian. This seamless transition became a pivotal move for the success of The Art of Wine. Brian, Johnathan and Lauren quickly leveraged the value of promoting each other’s strengths in order to achieve their goals. They also recognized the importance of fostering a work environment that is infused with professionalism and fun. The productivity and success of this wine bar and tasting room relies not just on the efforts of the owners, but also on a staff that passionately serve each and every guest on a daily basis.
Our six-member team embodies four recognized Level 1 Sommeliers through The Court of Masters, an aspiring winemaker who is a soon-to-be graduate of the Enology & Viticulture program at Yavapai College, and a talented service expert. Together, they share the passionate pursuit of learning about the world of wine and sharing this knowledge with guests in order to provide them with the Ultimate Wine Tasting Experience. Just like artwork, wine tasting is subjective, and it can be appreciated in a variety of ways. Regardless of your familiarity or expertise with wine, our staff is ready to help match you to the right bottle for your enjoyment.
Our comfortable shop has the perfect environment for exploring wine, and showcasing the art of tasting it. At The Art of Wine, we set the stage for every sip to be appreciated through informative descriptions of grapes, styles and vinification methods used to create the wines we pour. Through conversation, we enjoy retelling the stories as told by the dedicated grape growers and winemakers who have put their heart and soul into crafting their unique beverage. Our mission is to share local and worldly wines while creating a memorable experience in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
If wine is not your preference, we have you covered! Beyond wine, we offer an ever-evolving selection of fifteen different craft beers that range from a light style such as Kolsch and Saison brews, to hoppy IPAs to big and bold Porters and Stouts. We highlight breweries from Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and New York, as well as international offerings from Belgium and Germany. Stop in or visit our website to view our current selection. If you enjoy the sweeter and fruitier side of life, be adventurous and check out our mead flight! We offer seven different meads from one of the highest rated meaderies in the United States – Superstition Meadery, located an hour away from Sedona. What is mead you ask? It is arguably the oldest fermented beverage in the world. Visit us to learn more about this fruity and flavorful honey-based infusion.
The variety of wine, beer and mead that can be discovered at The Art of Wine is a collection with purpose. Catering to all preferences and offering something for everyone is what we aim to provide. Importantly, we want our guests to have a great time with us too! To add to the excitement of what can be experienced at The Art of Wine, each month we offer wine-themed events at our shop. Check out our Facebook page to stay connected or visit our events page on our website to find out more. We are open seven days a week!
Stop in for a sip, a glass, a bottle, or wine to take home, and let the friendly employees, the charming atmosphere and educating conversations envelop your senses. This is . . . the art of wine tasting and The Art of Wine!
© AZWINE Lifestyle 2019