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Wine shop brightens downtown

By Dave Buchanan
I received a few comments this week about Dolce Vita restaurant earning an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine and those comments simply substantiated what the award recognized. Rick and Sue Crippen have one of the city's best wine bars in town thanks in great part to Rick's never-ending curious nature about wines and to his desire to offer great wines at affordable prices. A few doors upstream at 420 Main St., Mike Chariton recently opened Planet Wines, the city's first wine shop. Chariton said he's been interested in wines for years and about two years ago decided to find a way to blend that personal interest with making a living. Investing all your savings along with some home equity is about as serious as a person can get about melding two diverse worlds, but Chariton seems quite excited about the future of his shop and the sophistication of local wine drinkers.
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*Mike Chariton of Planet Wines "I've seen the sophistication level change over the past few years and I really think there's a place for my store," said Chariton recently. He said he purposely put his store downtown because of the atmosphere of the downtown and its continuing development. "I wanted a real neighborhood for the store and I think downtown is about the only real neighborhood we have," Chariton said. "And with the new construction being planned, we'll have more restaurants and shops and hopefully that will bring more people downtown." Planet Wines (Chariton said the name came to him while he on one of his frequent long-distance runs through the desert) features more than 1,000 selections and each week Chariton offers a special on a country or wine. "Also, wine is a worldwide phenomena and I want bring some of those great wines to Grand Junction," Chariton said. The store's specialty is personalized service, Chariton said. "I want people to tell me what they want us to carry," Chariton said. "I think it's great to explore new wines and try something adventurous." Planet Wine hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m Monday through Wednesday and 10a.m-9 p.m Thursday through Saturday.

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