If I had to use only two words to describe what appeals to me in a restaurant, cabin, retail shop, or even a concert hall I would say “small” and “intimate.” It’s always those off-the-beaten-path spots that just have a way of stealing my heart. Furthermore, I have pretty much made it my life’s work to support community and local businesses. That coupled with my passion for wine, was what made my visit to the Hidden Bottle Track Shop so special. I walked into the building located in downtown Phoenix near Monroe and 1st Avenue and off to the right sat a tiny little shop with a whole lot of charm. I felt like staying there all day, just looking at the bottles and talking with other people who love wine.
Owners Craig and Danielle Dziadowicz have put their soul into the shop and you can feel it in the way they speak about the place. They have been open for 16 months and have already developed quite a following. They are residents of downtown Phoenix and love living the urban life. They weren’t sure if it was going to work because they had no baseline for their clientele. What they did know was that they wanted a place like this to purchase wine, and if they wanted it maybe others did, too.
“There’s a certain kind of spirit downtown now. Phoenix is waking up and figuring out what it wants to be when it grows up. There is so much activity going on all the time. We are of the mind-set that this is your city, and if you want it you can have it,” said Danielle. So, they made it their mission to put their vision into action.
At a glance one wouldn’t have to ask why they named their shop Hidden Track, but like people there is so much more behind a name. Some of us are named for our personality at birth, some after a parent or great grandmother, and some of us are named for what we are meant to express in this life. Hidden Track has many meanings to the Dziadowicz family. For instance, the building that houses their little shop was built in the 1960s, the same decade as the Beatles hidden track album (“The White Album”). But even more than that, they feel that the wines they carry are the hidden gems of the wine world.
“We want people to try unfamiliar wines from boutique wineries that just do a really great job,” said Danielle. “We will never upsell people, instead we try to encourage people to try wines at a lower price from a lesser known producer,” said Craig.
There are plenty of excellent high-end bottles of wine priced at $10 to $15 for daily drinking. Join the wine club and get two wines per month for $25, plus discounts on other bottles.
Hidden Track may carry a few wines that you could find at a larger retail store, but their niche is the esoteric, farmer style, wines that represent a distinct territory and are varietal correct for that region.
“We are proud to have wines from wineries that only make 230 cases in a single year. That’s the stuff our customers get excited about,” said Craig.
The shop, set up in two sections separating old and new world wines, allows customers to browse on their own, or come in for tastings and mingle with neighborhood friends.
“I am a staunch believer that we have the best customers, and our distributors love meeting them. We don’t have people coming in saying that they only drink ‘Chardonnay’ or ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ from specific regions. Instead, they are thirsty for knowledge and want to try something new,” said Danielle.
Many of the regulars met for the first time inside their shop and have become friends in the community. They have wine tastings every Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Legality purposes do not allow them to sell by the glass, but it is a great way to sample the wine and meet like-minded people. Danielle and Craig have tasted everything in their shop and love building off of their adventurous customers.
Hidden Track carries many Arizona wines as well, and they love working with the local producers. Their newest venture is co-making a wine with Southwest Wine Center’s Michael Pearce of Bodega Pearce Vineyards.
“We think he is one of the best producers in the state and we wanted his help infusing our style into a wine,” said Craig.
Beer is another customer-driven attraction that is getting lots of interest. They break apart the beers so that people can buy different bottles without having to purchase a six-pack.
“It’s kind of the craft beer way,” said Danielle.
The Dziadowicz enjoy working local events throughout downtown Phoenix and are open to any and all ideas. These are two people who love their community and are following a dream. If I had to use only two words to describe them I would say “warm” and “welcoming.” Hidden treasures are not always in a chest, at the bottom of the ocean under lock and key. If you are reading this, I just told you where to find these jewels. X marks the spot at 111 W. Monroe St., Suite 120 (inside the lobby). For more information, visit: www.hiddentrackbottleshop.com. As a fellow lover of wine I assure you, you are headed on the right track.
– East Valley resident Darla Hoffmann is a certified specialist of wine and sommelier. She is the owner of About Wine, a wine education company, where she does on-site tastings and classes at restaurants, home parties and corporate events. She also works part time in one of Arizona’s award-winning tasting rooms, LDV Wine Gallery in Scottsdale. A member of The Wine Century Club, she has tasted over 100 grape varietals. Her goal is to share her knowledge and passion for wine, while educating our readers on the booming wine industry in the state of Arizona. If you are a wine collector looking for tastings and storage in the Valley, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at: www.aboutwineinaz.com.