Photos by Maria Deforrest, Angie Gray, Becca Mathias and Moonloop Photography
Meet three wine shop owners shattering the glass (bottle) ceiling throughout the First State.
When Linda Collier opened a wine store in 1981, she broke new ground in more ways than one. At the time, most Delaware liquor stores offered “white” and “red” selections, and the options, she recalls, were terrible.
After living in Europe for six years, Collier knew her grapes, and the native New Englander was determined to offer an impressive bevy of varietals. Today Collier’s of Centreville is a hub for oenophiles in the First State and southeastern Pennsylvania.
Collier was also one of the few women in Delaware’s wine-and-spirits business. To be sure, alcohol is traditionally a male-dominated industry, but here are three businesses with women in control.
Collier’s of Centreville
Linda Collier developed a taste for fine wine while living near a boutique wine store in Marietta, Ohio. When her husband was transferred to Holland and then Geneva, her interest in good wine became a passion. The couple brought hundreds of bottles back with them to the United States. The self-professed “Cellar Mistress” started Collier’s in Little Italy and moved it to Centreville in 1990. Since the start, education has been an important component. She successfully lobbied to allow wine tastings in the shop and has always offered classes.
In 2003, Tom Bachmann and Tom Poor created a memorable wine store on the Forgotten Mile—the stretch of Coastal Highway between Rehoboth and Dewey beaches. When the pair decided to retire, they thoroughly vetted their buyers. Riley Quinn and her partner, Derrick Kelley, got high marks. Quinn, a Wilmington native, spent 10 years working in restaurants, where she became interested in wine. In fact, she and Kelley became friends after spending 10 hours together taking the sommelier exam. Since purchasing the wine shop, the partners have added more products from women, LGBTQ winemakers and people of color.
Rehoboth Beach; bin66.com
Banks Wines & Spirits
Kami Banks Kane grew up watching her parents work long, hard hours. Her father, Russell, was a farmer, and her mother, Mackie, was a midwife. In 2003, the family opened Banks Wines & Spirits partly to enjoy a six-day workweek. Back then, alcohol stores were closed on Sundays. That’s changed, and so has the landscape, thanks to development. Banks continues to evolve with the times, and improvements include an expansion and online sales so customers can breeze in and out on busy summer weekends. Along with spirits, the store is known for its clever signs.