You're usually lucky if you find some half-decent cookware at a garage sale. The Cellar Rat's fifth annual Garage Sale at 9 a.m. tomorrow, however, isn't an ordinary sale.
The Crossroads wine and sundries shop at 1701 Baltimore will have more than 200 cases of deeply discounted wine from high-end and small-batch producers. This is your chance to stock your wine cellar or rack and get some great deals on some heavy-duty wines.
The idea for the garage sale was an accident, according to owner Ryan Sciara. He received a closeout list and began circling what he wanted.
"Before I knew it, I had circled 150 cases. I said I'll take them, but I need to figure this out," Sciara says.
The garage sale was born, and today, Sciara has established relationships with several distributors and wineries. As to the 87 different wines in the sale, he has promised his contacts that he won't advertise specific wineries, but there are bottles of everything from dessert wine to Chotes du Rhone to small Napa Valley producers. Also, he prints out a small card with information about the wineries and any tasting notes or unusual facts about the specific vintages for sale.
"Wine is an agricultural product, meaning it needs to be sold. This is a chance for people to get excited about wine and get some great deals," Sciara says.
He notes that most people start in the back room, which is where the imports (Sauternes among them) are typically found in smaller quantities. And one customer has already promised to take a tent. While he doesn't intend to camp out, he wants people to think he did. Sciara is amused by the dedication of his regulars and the timing of Trader Joe's two store openings.
"People are so excited by three-dollar wine, but when you think about the cost of the cork and the bottle and the label and the harvesting of the grapes, there's nothing in that juice," Sciara says.
The garage sale starts at 9 a.m. and runs until Cellar Rat sells out. Sciara expects that he'll be sleeping at his Crossroads wine shop overnight (sans tent) for the second year in a row.
"I kissed my wife and two daughters goodbye this morning and told them I'd see them Sunday," Sciara says.