A Downtown bar is a home away from home for an Italian winery | Drink | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A Downtown bar is a home away from home for an Italian winery 

Market St. Grocery has a unique agreement with Abruzzo’s Collefrisio

click to enlarge Wine selection at Market St. Grocery - PHOTO BY CELINE ROBERTS
  • Photo by Celine Roberts
  • Wine selection at Market St. Grocery

Strolling the aisles at Market St. Grocery a few months ago, I salivated over fancy olive oils and cheeses, while throwing amorous glances toward the prepared foods. Then I saw the Wine Bar and bee-lined for a stool. After what I can only describe as a wholly delightful back-and-forth with self-described “wine woman” Jill Weprich, sampling a few different and all-around tasty wines, I celebrated finding a new after-work spot. Then the bill came and my celebration began in earnest.

“The way our system works is quality high, price point low,” says beverage director Ray Matthews. This is possible because the brightly lit, 25-seat bar is the leased outpost of Collefrisio, a winery in Abruzzo, Italy, and sells only its own wines. The establishment holds a limited winery license, the only one in Pennsylvania for a winery not located in-state. And it’s open after the grocery closes, until 11 p.m. most days, and until 9 p.m. Sundays.

The bar is essentially a piece of Italy: the wine room for a vineyard thousands of miles away. “We just manage it for them because they’re in Italy, making the wine,” says Market St. Grocery owner David Priselac. The partnership began when an importer who’d sold some Collefrisio to the state stores, as a Chairman’s Select wine, contacted Priselac. The wine bar is now the vineyard’s main U.S. seller, with only a few other shops in New York carrying bottles. Collefrisio is sold in 52 other countries.

Located right on the Adriatic Sea, the winery encompasses several vineyards, and produces about a dozen wines, including two sparklers and a rosé. With a heavy lean toward using Montepulciano grapes and vines that are between 15 and 60 years old, the winery produces a wide variety of wines. As the seasons change and business grows, so will the offerings at Market St. Whether you’re having a glass, grabbing a bottle to go, or committing to a case, this wine bar satisfies. 

435 Market St., Downtown. www.marketstreetgrocery.com




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