Good Grapes - Great Wines!
Nestled in a prime corner spot in Winnetka, Good Grapes Champagne and Wine Boutique is a quintessential wine shop. Rows of beautifully labeled wines line the walls and awaken the senses to something new and exciting.
Theresa Lucas, the owner, started her career in the corporate world but left and opened her first wine shop in Glencoe in 2008. She moved her shop to its present larger location in Winnetka in 2014.
Her unusual introduction to wine started when she went to wine tastings in the 1990s when they weren’t very well understood and attended. She would end up spending hours with the bored reps who taught her about all the different wines.
She has fun exploring wines and she does blind tastings when she’s purchasing - she doesn’t know where it’s from or how much it costs. She assesses what she would pay for it and if it fits her portfolio. Portfolio is considered price, region, and grape varietal - and she wants to have a balance of the three.
Theresa doesn’t carry what the large retailers or grocery stores sell. She personally curates hundreds of wines (around 400) from all over the world with prices ranging from $10 to $535, with the average sale price being $17-22 per bottle.
Her wines are mostly smaller or limited production wines and she offers unparalleled knowledge and customer service to her loyal clients. As an example, she has been carrying a tannat wine from Uruguay for years. Last year Wine Enthusiast finally caught up to her and named it New World Winery of the Year and New World Wine of the Year.
Every Saturday (on hold until the coronavirus threat passes) she opens new wines and offers complimentary wine tastings. The outdoor area has seating for 40 and this summer there will be artisanal cheese plates from The Cheese People to accompany the wine.
Theresa does several things to keep her patrons satisfied. She keeps menus from local restaurants so that customers can order food and have it delivered. In trying to keep the experience casual and affordable, you can even bring your own food to eat when you purchase her wine. Four times last summer she hired food trucks - how fun was that on a nice warm night?
She loves that there are two new restaurants in the same block including Tocco and the new 510 Local (soon to open in the old the Trifecta spot.) Additionally, Lakeside Foods has a new owner and they are giving the grocery store a complete facelift. She’s looking forward to the spark that the new businesses will bring to southwest Elm.
She’s got great ideas for gift registries and non-profits as well. For a fund-raising drive, she will offer several different wines online which makes it easy for patrons to purchase them. After the fund raising event is over, she donates 10% of the sales to the charity. The Josselyn Center, Sacred Heart, Saints Faith, Hope, and Charity, and Winnetka Public School Nursery have used the online gift registry for fundraising.
Gift registries are perfect for those getting married or purchasing a new home. In the near term she’ll be adding a wedding and cellar stocking gift section to her website - GoodGrapes.com.
And if you’re ever looking for an unusual spot to host a party, consider doing it at Good Grapes. Theresa has done over 60 private parties in her space and can hold up to 70 people. These include Christmas parties, fundraisers, book signings, surprise parties, new board kick-offs, birthday or anniversary parties. Hadley School for the Blind, Kohl’s Women’s Board, and parent meet and greets for Washburne, Crow Island, Greely, Hubbard Woods, Winnetka Community Nursery School Nursery and Winnetka Public School Nursery are a few institutions that have held private parties at Good Grapes.
When she orders new wines, she likes to put them into her wine clubs. She has two different clubs. For $45 a month patrons receive either two whites, two reds or one of each. This is for those people who like to explore different grapes. There is a 3-month minimum and it’s a popular gift as a wedding or thank you. Or just for yourself.
The second club is called Big Reds and includes two of the same bottle. It includes, of course, cabs, merlots, or shiraz wines. The bottles in this club retail for between $50-$80 and patrons receive 10% off the price.
Currently, she carries about 15% more reds but she’s building the white wines up. They are getting more interesting she says - Portugal is on fire now and is importing more into the US. She just got in a white from Portugal that is a blend of five grapes that she says is hands-down the best one she’s bought recently.
She sells more blends than anything else - she thinks they are a much more creative bottle of wine. Right now her best selling red is a blend from Spain for $32. Her most popular white is a Cremant wine (like champagne) for $23, French with a dry finish. Look out for a Sangria that she hopes to get soon which is made from all natural juices.
For those that frequent the shop often, consider joining the Loyalty Program. For every $20 spent shoppers get one star and 25 stars earns you a $10 gift certificate. A customer favorite feature is that she can look up prior purchases of Loyalty members. Any and all wines, even ones on sale, qualify for the loyalty program. Of course she also sells gift cards.
Theresa hasn’t forgotten about the beer drinkers - she keeps craft beer in coolers and tries to keep a wide variety. It was amazing to learn that last year (2019,) Illinois had more craft breweries than any other state and her inventory is 60% locally brewed beers.
Shop local and check out Good Grapes - aficionados and casual drinkers will both be delighted.
821 Chestnut Ct.
Winnetka, IL 60093
While you’re here, please see
Sign up to get monthly North Shore real estate news delivered to your inbox.
It's free, we'll never sell your info, and you can opt-out at any time.
Enter your email address at: North Shore Newsletter
Margaret Goss is a full-time real estate broker since 1998 working in the North Shore communities of Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Northfield, Glenview, and Evanston.
She can be reached at:
See her full BIOGRAPHY