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Rye Daily Voice serves Rye, NY

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Rye Wine Shop's Worldly Selection is 'Just Fun'

RYE, N.Y. - While most people open and run businesses with a goal towards turning a profit, Wine at Five owner Cai Palmer has a different approach.

"It really was born out of necessity to something," Palmer said sitting on a barstool flanked by bottles, upon bottles of wine. "It's just fun."

After spending more than 25 years trading commodities for Lyman Brothers on Wall Street, Palmer, a life-long wine enthusiast, called the shift from wine collector to wine vendor a "natural transgression."

"I realized that I had been living in the area for 20 years and there wasn't a place where I wanted to buy wine," Palmer said in his English accent. "I wanted to change the way people who are here bought wine."

Palmer, who's lived in England, Switzerland, France, and Singapore, attributes his love of wine to his time in France. Although Palmer is an admitted Francophile, Wine at Five offers wine from more than 100 different countries and prides itself on its lack of bias, alternative selection, and hands-on approach.

"We taste every bottle and we are not embarrassed of any bottle that we sell," Palmer said definitively. "We don't follow the wine enthusiasts trail. Instead we prefer to offer wines from smaller, lesser known regions."

Palmer called his inventory of Italian wine "funky," and stated that the overall goal of the shop was to present customers with wines they have never tasted before. An extension of this desire is Wine at Five's "Wine of the Month" Club. With more than 70 members, the club offers residents a chance to try a host of different wines all connected with the same theme.

Another extra-curricular provided by Wine at Five is its annual wine tasting event at Wainwright House right here in Rye. According to Palmer, it was one of the largest wine tastings in the county. Last year, Wine at Five casts more than 100 wines, and after capping admittance at 570 even, had to turn people away.

"We just have fun," Palmer said. "If it wasn't fun I'd be back on Wall Street."

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