Bob and Valerie Keating founded Arlington Wine and Liquor in 1983 because they wanted to work together, and it's been a love story ever since. "We're sort of self trained," says Bob Keating. "We took courses at the Culinary Institute, we went to wine tastings. We evolved."
What is it about rosé and springtime?
Bob Keating: Rosé is very light; it pairs well with the lighter foods we eat when it's warm. It's not just pink fruity wine anymore; dry rosés come from everywhere. It's lower alcohol; you can sip it happily all night long, which pairs perfectly with spring good times. We carry about 50 different kinds from all over the world.
The local beverage scene has evolved some since 1983.
BK: It's on fire! It's great. New York has been doing a lot to make things easier, which is wonderful. We called Ralph Erenzo when he first started Tuthilltown Distillery and was doing everything himself. Now he's been bought out and they expanded production—we were in a Florida restaurant and they served Hudson Baby Bourbon. There's a guy starting something new in Stanford. The minute we get wind of something new, we try to jump right on it.
You've won the Hudson Valley magazine "Best Of" award every year for over two decades.
BK: That means a lot to us; the community votes on it. It's a team effort. We have a big staff and professionally trained wine people, some from the Culinary; if you come in to pair something, you're talking to an expert. And we work with 50 or 60 distributors. They bring us new things all the time—such a fun job, tasting and discussing new products together! We have a very active Facebook page, so our customers are in the conversation. And we're always having in-store tastings and listening for feedback. It's just how we do it.