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Drink in the possibilities 

The only thing wine lovers like better than uncorking a fine vintage is a good deal on an excellent bottle. At the recently opened Monterey Street Wine Company, co-owners John Stipicevich and Doug Shaw assembled a list of carefully selected wines that cost between $4.99 and $52.99.

click to enlarge POUR GUYS  :  John Stipicevich (left) and Doug Shaw (right) opened a wine store with a chummy setting and daily tastings, which make for a fun and relaxed atmosphere. - PHOTO BY JESSE ACOSTA
  • POUR GUYS : John Stipicevich (left) and Doug Shaw (right) opened a wine store with a chummy setting and daily tastings, which make for a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

# “If we are known for anything, I want it to be for great service,� Stipicevich said. “We are available to help those who want to know about the wine.�

For novice wine drinkers, purchasing a bottle of wine can seem like selecting a mail-order-spouse: overwhelming and final. It helps to have someone who can differentiate full-bodied wines from softer, fruitier varietals.

“First, I ask if you drink coffee and how you like it,â€? Stipicevich said.  “If you like your coffee with cream and sugar, you like your wine soft and fruity. We wanted to offer San Luis Obispo a broader selection of wines that represent the great growing regions of the world.â€?

For Stipicevich, exposure to the intricacies of local and foreign wines during more than a decade in the wine industry motivated him to share his love of the international grape. In addition to offering to a selection of fine wines from the Central Coast, the Monterey Street Wine Company offers vintages from countries around the world, including France, Italy, Australia, Chile, and Argentina, as well as a selection of international cheeses.

“A lot of people buy their cheese to impress, just like their wine,� Stipicevich added.

San Luis Obispo County isn’t just a region dedicated to fine wine obsessions—it’s also the breeding ground of gourmet cheese aficionados. If your priorities include a wheel of cheese from the French Alps near the Swiss border where the cows graze on alpine pasture (Tomme de Savioe) or a slightly nutty-flavored sheep’s milk cheese (Pozo Tomme), then you’ll fall seriously in love with the Monterey Street Wine Company’s extensive selection of gourmet cheese.

“We are trying to provide a place to go and relax—no loud music—and enjoy yourself,� Stipicevich said.

Leave the beer bars to the college students. Monterey Street’s sophisticated and intimate wine bar and tasting room are dedicated to savoring the intricate flavors of the grape and the complex pairing of the curd.

Stipicevich and Shaw have plans for the business to improve, like a fine wine, with age. They currently offer 85 wine labels and 25 varieties of cheese, with plans to expand to 150 labels and 40 cheeses.

The Monterey Street Wine Company is located at 1255-A Monterey St., just south of Johnson. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, call 541-1255.

Staff Writer Karen Velie compiled this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to

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