New Jersey wine shop jumps at opening in Napa Valley's shuttered Dean & DeLuca store

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The recently shuttered Dean & DeLuca Napa Valley location won’t be empty for long, as a growing East Coast chain of fine-wine shops has inked a deal to open its first West Coast store there by fall.

New Jersey-based Gary’s Wine & Marketplace signed a lease July 22 for the site, located at 607 St. Helena Highway, and plans to have the new store open by mid-September, the company announced Monday.

“After visiting year after year for Premiere Napa Valley, I am thrilled to have a permanent place in St. Helena,” said Gary Fisch, founder and CEO, in the announcement. “It felt right to open our first location on the West Coast among so many incredible winemakers, vintners, and friends.”

He got into the wine business four decades ago after a visit to Louis M. Martini winery in Napa Valley. He started his eponymous wine shop in Madison, New Jersey, in 1987 and has expanded to four locations in the Garden State.

Fisch told the Business Journal he “has been looking for a Napa Valley outpost for several years.”

The new Gary’s location is set to carry over 600 wine labels, focusing primarily on Napa Valley wines plus what’s designed to be among the largest and most diverse selections of imports in the area. The store is being configured to carry over 250 spirits and beers and 200-plus local and imported cheeses and other specialty-food items like charcuterie, olive oil and fresh-baked bread.

Other planned products are coffee and breakfast items, lunch fare such as salads and sandwiches.

Also planned for the St. Helena store are catering and in-store wine tasting events put on by sommeliers and local vintners.

Dean & DeLuca also started four decades ago by Joel Dean and Giorgio DeLuca in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. The late Leslie Rudd, bought a majority stake in the struggling retail chain in 1996, the same year he purchased his first North Coast wine property, what’s now Rudd Estate. In 2014, he sold it to Thailand-based Pace Development Corp. for $140 million.

In recent years, Dean & DeLuca reportedly has been struggling with debt. About a year ago, Bisnow reported the chain was paring its locations from nearly 50 to just over a dozen, focusing on “flagship” locations such as Manhattan and Napa Valley. New York Times reported earlier this month that both of those just closed.

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