Sunday, October 17, 2021

ADVERTISING: Advertorial — Shop changes

by GEORGE BALLING/the dinner party
| July 14, 2021 1:00 AM

Over our 14 years since we opened the shop, we sometimes lose track of all we have changed. It’s been more than two years since we moved to our larger space and we are still adding more to our little shop as time passes. Here are some of the changes we have made recently and what they have brought to the wine and alcohol consumers in Coeur d'Alene and the surrounding area.

We added another “end cap” to our Vintage View wine racking system allowing us to expand our collection further. Currently this rack is deployed in the French wine section but the great part of these racks is they are mobile so we can move them around to other collections as our ever-shifting supply chain dictates. With all of the great French dry rosé in the market right now it gives us a great opportunity to offer all wine consumers more choices.

Ever since we moved to our space one of our goals has been to add a cooler so we can offer both wine and beer chilled. Our new cooler arrived last week, and we are thrilled. We are offering our best-selling white wines, and an assortment of beers chilled and ready to take to the beach or the boat. It also helps when heading out to a dinner party that someone else is holding, and you can show up with white or rosé chilled and ready for consumption.

One of the fastest growing drink categories nationwide is the “Ready to Drink” cocktails or RTDs. Consumers are not only enjoying these pre-mixed cocktails it allows a shop like ours in Idaho to carry them, since with the mixer the alcohol is below 18%, we can legally sell them, and they don’t have to go to the State Liquor stores. They are coming from many producers and we recently brought in the first of what will be many choices.

The Tommy Bahama mango citrus, like all of our favorites in this group, is not sweet. The effervescence is light and the tropical flavors are well balanced and delicious. We can see why these premixed drinks are so popular, they are refreshing and tasty with a modest 14% alcohol, perfect on hot summer days and a great alternative beverage.

The Mama Cocktails Mojito comes in a 1.75L Box, that is perfect for your next camping trip or other event where a non-breakable format is a plus. Like the Tommy Bahama and all we are selecting it is not sweet, and presents like the best Mojito you would find in South Beach Miami with the mint balanced and not overwhelming the rest of the flavors. Another refreshing choice for summer.

While we are on the subject of boxes, the box wines from Gil are another change here at The Dinner Party. We admit we have been solidly skeptical of wines packaged in box, but the wines from Gil changed our minds. The Gil wines all come from Spain and come in white, dry rose and red. The red is all Monastrell which is Mourvèdre in Spain, while unoaked the wine is dry and like all Mourvèdre has plenty of tannin for a very sophisticated and tasty red wine. The white is currently out of stock, but the rosé is a wonderful summer quaffer. Like our favorite rosés it is bone dry and crisp with lovely strawberry flavors throughout. The wines have urged us on to carry more in the box category for the value and their unique application for large gatherings, and not having to worry about breaking the glass.

Finally, our most recent change and perhaps the most important one to us is the addition of Duff to our Dinner Party family. Duff, a rescue, is a 4-month-old Scottish Terrier and is a wonderful boy. Cabi is still a bit uncertain and we continue to work with Duff to understand the rules of working regularly in a retail shop. We miss Beaux dearly since he passed away last August and we are thrilled to have another black terrier in our “pack.”

Our goal has always been to provide all of our wine consumers here in North Idaho with the best collection of world class wines. While we continue to work toward that goal, we also know that innovation and changing to keep up with all of the new options is integral to meeting your needs. We hope you stop by the shop soon to see all that’s new.

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George Balling is co-owner with his wife, Mary Lancaster, of the dinner party, a wine and gift shop in Coeur d’Alene by Costco. The dinner party has won the award for best wine shop in North Idaho twice, including for 2018.

George is also published in several other publications around the country. After working in wineries in California and judging many wine competitions, he moved to Coeur d’Alene with Mary more than 10 years ago to open the shop.

You can also follow us on Facebook at!/dinnerpartyshop.