Saturday, April 17, 2010

It was fun!

On Wednesday, I spent time in a small Iowa town called Shueyville (population in July 2007: 281). But it was fun! Wanna know why?

I went to this really cute little wine shop called The Secret Cellar and spent about an hour there. Okay, so I was there to do "research" for an article I wanted to write. But it was such a cute place, and the owner, Lauren Cannon, was so nice, it was like going on a fun field trip.

Here's her stained-glass sign at the entrance:

 Here's the cute blue house where she's set up shop:

I love the purple beginning to bloom on this little tree:

She had all sorts of wines, some of which were from local Iowa wineries (yes, apparently Iowa has wineries!) and from across the nation and around the world (like the German eiswein or "ice wine" in English which she sold to the customers who stopped in while I was there). There were even those big bottles of wine - those 1.5 liter bottles (I guess it's called a "magnum" and it holds the equivalent of two regular sized wine bottles).

And she had these bottles of wine that were shaped like a high-heeled shoe and others that were shaped like some exotic bird!
Shoe bottle:

Bird bottle and shoe bottle:

Big bottle (this is actually a 5L-sized bottle!! That's good for mom's night with the ladies):

Not only did she have wine, she also had other liquors, beer and tasty foods. Some of it was gourmet food and from the local area, like the pickled asparagus from the Amana Colonies. There were chocolates, soup mixes, stuff for appetizers, tasty gourmet cheeses and crackers. And she even had little candies and sodas for kids . . . like the kids she says stop by her shop after school to pick up snacks on their way home.

Some of the liquors she has on hand:

Some of the food and treats she has in the store:

Then there were the gifts - she had a lot of great gifts, like shirts with bling which shaped wine glasses and said "Wines Constantly" or the soy-based candles from the mom-owned company here in the Cedar Rapids area.

Here's the cute bling shirt (there was a matching hat, too - not shown here):

Here's a floor mat (cute, huh?):

There's even wine bottle jewelry - how cute is this?!

Here are some other gifts, including the soy candles (seen in the middle of the photo):
Some of the candles (they're all white) came in cute scents, like "XOXO" or "High Maintenance" or "Bitch." There was even one called "The Secret Cellar" made for this shop. Lauren was burning one of these "The Secret Cellar" scented candles while I was there. It smelled good. Fruity/flowery.

Oh, and she does these custom gift baskets for any occasion like Mother's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and such. She puts great stuff in it, like: chocolates, a bottle of wine, a candle, bottle jewelry, some gourmet treats. And sometimes she'll even put in a gift certificate for a massage, where the masseuse will go to your house to give you a massage!!

Anyway, she has a lot of stuff going on there. For example, she's got this great party planned to kick of the season - on May 1st, she's having a "wine party" where there'll be plenty of wines to taste, cheeses and crackers, live music. She also does private wine tastings for groups, like for bridal showers and such. There's a great backyard, complete with hammock and "gazebo" to add to the ambiance. 

Doesn't this look like a great place to hang out with a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers? I think I'd like to read a book or take a nap here, though (on a cool day):

Isn't this cute? There's a grapevine theme going on. Can you see it?

So it was a lot of fun to go out there for "research." I would definitely like to go back to get a bottle of wine or two, and some cheeses and crackers.

Maybe for her next wine party, I can attend. Her first one coincides with the opening of the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market, and we already planned on going to that, so we'll be 120 miles away when she has her first wine party.

Looks like a fun place, doesn't it?!

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