EatOut’s Soni Adriance pops into this quaint and charming wine shop to find out more about the business of Italian wines.
On the ground floor of Muthaiga Shopping Centre lies a small and intimate specialty wine retail show room, Out of Sicily. Nebiat, the owner and store manager, opened this spot in March 2012 after a visit to Sicily where she fell in love with the wines there. Her passion and excitement is apparent, and she is extremely well versed in Italian terroirs and grape varietals, despite having no formal training. With bottles ranging from ksh 1,100 to ksh 23,000, Nebiat aims to bring the best drinks from the wineries in the top terroir regions of Italy to Kenya. To do this, she visits Italian wineries about once every six months growing relationships with the different companies and learning about trends and new wines that are being produced.
A specialty store like Nebiat’s might seem intimidating, yet her approach is extremely familial. A guest book sits on her desk with rave reviews from customers who’ve been visiting her shop for years. “For anyone who comes here, we go further than simply giving details of the wines they’re purchasing” she states “If someone is having a dinner party, they’ll call us and tell us the menu they have planned then ask for suggestions of wines to pair each dish with, and we’re happy to help them with that”. They further ensure that the suggested wine is within the customer’s price range, and it’s this kind of intimate service that encourages return visits from their loyal customers.
In the last 20 to 25 years, Italian wines have changed their image of producing simple table wines. Today, they are able to compete on the global stage. Nebiat informs me that in Sicily, this was primarily due to a man named Diego Planeta who set up the Planeta wineries whose products are Out of Sicily’s signature range. Planeta is a series of boutique wineries in six different areas around Sicily which have ideal conditions for particular grape varietals, and Nebiat stocks their whole range of wines.
The store also stocks a small range of authentic Italian foods that pair with the wines on offer. At the time of my visit, Nebiat had olive oil, truffle pasta and truffle chocolates which she’s happy to pair with wines bought by customers. They also host wine tastings about four to five times a year; almost every time she brings in a new wine, she’ll invite people to come in to try them.
If you’re a regular at this quaint wine shop, my apologies; cat’s out of the bag. If you’re planning on stopping by anytime soon, here are Nebiat’s favourite wines she currently stocks and a good starting point for your next visit: Planeta Syrah (Red), Planeta la Segreta (White) and Planeta Rosé. Salute!