Ten years ago, Evie Clare decided to open a wine-focused liquor store in Louisville, seeing a void in the market for this kind of business. And when the former artist and art teacher opened Gemelli Wine + Spirits, she filled that need. Not your typical liquor store, it has a clean, modern setting, and the bottles are curated and displayed like art throughout the space. In addition to the aesthetic, customers keep coming back for the knowledge Evie shares. Her love of wine and the ability to share information about the subject is captivating. This Louisville girl loves her wine and she loves her city, and when she’s not at the store, she can be found at favorite local parks and restaurants. And she has another secret talent–recommending great books. (We can’t wait to read her book list!) Welcome, Evie!
Tell us about what led you to open Gemelli Wine + Spirits.
I’ve loved wine since I first started traveling. I love learning about it and collecting it. Back in 2005, when I opened Gemelli, there were really no small, wine-focused shops in Louisville, only big-box liquor stores. So I wanted to open a place where people could find an exciting collection of artisanal wines, craft beers and spirits. The atmosphere in Gemelli is relaxing and uncluttered. It’s a really pleasant place to shop. I wanted to provide excellent customer service and educational opportunities, like our wine classes. We go to great lengths at Gemelli to find exactly what our customers want. We track down wines they have tried at restaurants and while traveling. It’s especially fun to pair wines with particular recipes and menus for their parties.
You were an art professor before this. What did you teach and where?
After graduate school, I taught life drawing and painting before I had my twins. Five years later, I decided to open Gemelli instead of returning to teaching.
This job requires a lot of knowledge about a lot of products. How do you keep up to speed with all of this information?
Well, loving wine helps. Also, I’m secretly a huge nerd, and I really enjoy all the geeky details: vintages, regions, varietals, etc.
What is the hardest thing about your job? The easiest?
The best part of my job is definitely getting to know and help my customers. I’ve met so many wonderful people through Gemelli. Another nice bonus is the opportunity to taste some spectacular wines. The only part of my job that I don’t enjoy is the boring mathy stuff like taxes, payroll and reports.
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
Like a lot of your readers, my week involves trying to balance work and family. Wine tastings and purchasing have to share space on the calendar with kids’ sports and carpool. I have great employees who make this possible.
Who are your mentors, and what advice do you treasure?
My parents have really been my cheerleaders since the beginning. They are incredibly inspiring to me in the way they conduct their businesses and deal with people. I feel lucky to have them guiding me.
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my __________.
I always have a book with me. Or two!
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
What’s your bucket list travel destination?
I have MANY: Greece, Vietnam, Denmark, Ireland, Morocco, Argentina. I could keep going …
Favorite thing to do in Louisville?
I love cooking and entertaining friends at home, with fabulous wines, of course.
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
Junk food: Chips and queso
Guilty music pleasure: ’70s funk and disco
Movie: I’m not into tearjerkers, but I love This Is Spinal Tap and anything from Monty Python
Nail polish: I don’t wear it.
Favorite cocktails: Summertime: Pimm’s cup, rum and soda, or a mojito. Wintertime: Manhattan, Kir Royale or sidecar
Cartoon alter-ego: I’m going to say Hong Kong Phooey, because I actually am the janitor here at Gemelli. And I love his filing cabinet switch-o/change-o.
What are three of your favorite things right now?
- 2014 French Rose
- Walking with my fave podcasts
- Summer weather: I like it hot!
Special thanks to our FACES photographer, Adele Reding, who always captures our FACES in their best light.