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Interview with Proprietor Gary Wartels
Skyview Wines has come on board with the Kosher Wine Society to bring discounts to Kosher Wine Society members. Each month Skyview Wines will offer special deals selected from its unmatched inventory of the finest kosher wines and spirits. Visit the Kosher Wine Society website for updates on Skyview Wines discounts and be sure to check the Kosher Wine Society monthly Newsletter for up-to-date Skyview coupons.
This year Skyview Discount Wines & Spirits earned a top Zagat rating of 26 points. Thatâ€™s one point for each of its twenty-six years as â€œthe most trusted name in kosher wine.â€ Famous for consistently offering top value at the lowest possible prices, customers across the United States and overseas have long looked to Skyviewâ€™s expertise for the best in kosher wine and scotches. At its location in Riverdale, New York, 3000 square feet of retail space houses an extensive selection of fine kosher and non-kosher wines and spirits from around the globe, with some 600 kosher wines regularly in stock.
Three and a half years ago, Skyview wines was placed on the market for sale and acquired by its new proprietor, Gary Wartels.
Garyâ€™s former life was centered on politics and the non-profit community. He graduated in 1989 with a Masters in Public Administration from the Wagner School at NYU and went to work for Mayors Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani, and Governor Cuomo. Expanding into the non-profit sector, Gary ran his own successful consulting firm for ten years with high-profile clients including Met Council for Jewish Poverty, JCC of the Upper West Side and UJA Federation of New York. In 2001 he was working with the United Way of New York City when the events of September 11th occurred. Gary became deeply involved in United Wayâ€™s â€œSeptember 11th Fund,â€ dedicating an intense five years to the fundraising and grants process. And then it was time for a change.
While consulting on a capital campaign for the Riverdale Neighborhood House, Gary heard that Skyview Wines was available for purchase. So he sold his consulting practice and began to build his new lifeâ€™s work on Skyviewâ€™s already solid reputation. His choice was guided by his love of wine and by a wish to get back to his Jewish roots: â€œI wanted to own a store like so many of our grandparents did.â€
Since taking over Gary has reorganized the store, added new signage and expanded the kosher wine selection. He says that kosher wines have improved in quality to the point where they now stand with the finest of non-kosher wines. Customers looking for kosher wine no longer need to sacrifice quality or variety. Skyviewâ€™s huge selection includes wines at all price points from excellent quality wines priced under $18 to French Bordeaux priced at $250 per bottle.
Skyview Wines now proudly carries one of the largest selections of Israeli wines in the United States. Gary says that Israel has become a top wine-producing country and that winemakers trained at top wineries and top schools such as UC Davis, and the University of Adelaide in Australia have come to work at Israeli wineries. An increasing number of small boutique wineries are creating a phenomenal range of highly distinctive wines, and significant investments have been made in Israeli wineries. Responding to the quality produced by the small boutique wineries, large, long-established winemakers such as Carmel, Herzog Royal Wines and others have really pushed to make kosher wines better.
Gary has not left his past career of fundraising and community service behind, but has integrated it into the life of Skyview Wines. Recently Skyview sponsored a youth basketball team at the YM-YWHA right around the corner from the store.
An interview with Mr. Wartels appears in the Jewish Weekâ€™s Kosher Wine Guide, published this past March. Skyview Wines was one of the sponsors of the Jewish Weekâ€™s wine tasting - the only retailer to do so.
Skyview sponsors wine-tasting/wine-sale fundraisers to assist synagogues, Jewish organizations and non-profit groups, contributing a significant percentage of sales to the beneficiary of the fundraiser. Returning in a different capacity to one of his former consulting clients, Mr. Wartels creates wine tasting events at the UJA Federation of New York and currently is helping to sponsor the Federationâ€™s Wine and Spirits Dinner to be held on June 24th.
Skyview invites the public to enjoy regular in-store wine tastings, free of charge. Kosher wine tastings are frequently held on Thursday and Friday afternoons and Sunday afternoons or early evenings. Call or check our website for upcoming events.
Free delivery of minimum purchases is available by way of Skyviewâ€™s own van. Delivery to Manhattan calls for a minimum order of $125.00, while in Queens, Long Island, and Brooklyn the minimum order is $350.00. For delivery to Westchester the minimum is $125.00. Look for specials advertised in The Jewish Week and Jewish Press. Sign up on the Skyview website to receive notices of special web-only promotions.
On Sunday June 13th, 2010 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM, Skyview Wines will be hosting Glenrothes whiskey ambassador Ross Hendry. Stop by the store and taste The Glenrothes award-winning Speyside Single Malt Scotch.
Regular store hours are Monday - Friday 9:30 am to 9:00 pm., Sundays, Noon to 6:00 pm. Skyview Wines & Spirits is located at the Skyview Shopping Center, at Riverdale Avenue and 259th Street.
For more information, please contact Skyview toll free at 888-SKY-VINO (759-8466).