Ryann Leonard recalled traveling through France as an 8-year old with her family and, a decade later, connecting the nostalgia of the experience with her first taste of wine. Leonard grew up surrounded by family, farm fresh food and quality wine, which she said inspired her to start her first business.
The 28-year old recently opened Ryann’s Wines in East Meadow, next to Stew Leonard’s and, on May 5, she celebrated with a ribbon cutting presented by the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce.
Leonard is a member of the third generation of the family that owns and operates Stew Leonard’s farm fresh food stores. In opening her first store, which features more than 2,000 wines and over 1,000 spirits, Leonard said that she wanted to give customers a new perspective.
“A lot of people are intimidated by the wine industry and nervous to ask questions,” Leonard said. “Ryann’s Wines is all about education.”
The vast interior of Ryann’s Wines, which looks like a wine cellar you might find in Brooklyn, includes a tasting room for employee training and tasting classes. Following the ribbon cutting, Ryann’s Wines offered its first tasting: tequila selections for Cinco de Mayo and a special bourbon in honor of the Kentucky Derby. Leonard said that she plans to hold tasting on a regular basis and wants to expand customer’s tastes and pallets each time they visit.
“She’s spent her whole life learning about food, wine, and customer service,” said Leonard’s father Stew Jr. who owns a wine and spirits store in Farmingdale. “I couldn’t be prouder.”
Ryann’s Wines also supports local wine with more than 50 selections sourced from New York State and Long Island, including “Summer in a Bottle Rose” from Wölffer Estate, Paumanok’s “Chenin Blanc,” and “Rough Rider Straight Bourbon Whisky,” by Long Island Spirits of Montauk.
The store also features a selection of products made by female winemakers and another of 90+ point, highly rated wines that cost less than $30 a bottle.
Its next tasting features roses and sparking wines and will be held on May 12 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. And on June 9, during the same time frame, there will be a whiskey and bourbon tasting.