The Cellar

At Cid’s, is opening this week!

If you live in Taos or visit often, I’m sure you have noticed the construction going on adjacent to Cid’s Food Market, over the past year, and now the completed building is getting ready to open its doors for a Grand Opening on Friday.

The Cellar at Cid’s is the brainchild of Lee Backer and Angelica Robinson, who have spent years researching and developing the project with Cid and Betty Backer.

‘We saw a niche in our community,” Angelica told me, when I asked her about the conception of the store. “And we went for it.”

“We wanted to bring something to Taos that didn’t exist,” Lee elaborated. “Something new and exciting.”

“Taos has plenty in the way of supermarkets – Walgreens and Walmart – Big Box stores, that sell alcohol,” he continued, “but nothing as far as a shop offering truly unique products.”

I asked if the fact that larger grocery stores include alcohol on their shelves along with food and other household goods, was a factor in opening The Cellar.

“Yes and no.” Lee replied. “We are not in competition with those stores so that’s not a factor but sure, we wanted to offer a one stop shop for people who enjoy a glass of wine with their meal.”

“It’s great that it’s in a separate environment because a lot of people who shop at Cid’s don’t appreciate a liquor store in proximity, but for those who do, It definitely complements the food we sell and it’s certainly a convenience we are happy to provide.”

The Cellar will offer the same great service and quality as Cid’s and rest assured the staff will be equally as friendly and helpful.

Angelica has a long history in the Service (Restaurant) Industry both in the Front of House and in Management and Accounting. She and her sister Genevieve both have Level One Sommelier status. Genevieve will also be working at The Cellar, along with Dave Sklarz (and a few other familiar, local faces with relevant know how), all of whom will be glad to assist customers with recommendations for food pairings and cocktails.

Growing up in South Africa, my parents who (fortunately for me), were gourmands and connoisseurs of fine food and wine, exposed my palate early on to the delights of pairing food with wine – Cape Town is home to a few of the best wines in the world, so it was very much part of the culture. I remember they would always be on the hunt for wine barrels for sale to expand their collection!

Having recently returned from one of America’s best growing regions (along the Sonoma Coast ) I was reminded of my youth, stealthily picking grapes from the carefully tended vines as we visited vineyards, not really paying much attention to the process being explained.

Over the past few months, I’ve accompanied Angelica and Genevieve (my two daughters), on a few of their “Research” expeditions. Everything from visiting other wine and liquor stores, to rarified wine tastings and mind-blowing, informative meetings with purveyors of fine wine. It’s been a fantastic and educational opportunity to learn more about the history and science of the vintner.

Now, thanks to my daughters and their Field Research, I understand more about how different minerals in the soil affect the grapes and the wine, how each region imparts its own distinct signature and taste and how the aging process affects the outcome of each wine.

A good thing because The Cellar shelves are stocked floor to ceiling with wines you wont find for sale anywhere else in Taos. Along with familiar and lesser known Old World labels, you’ll find a lot of unfamiliar New World wines but if you do find yourself at a loss, the friendly and knowledgable staff will be there to help.

There’s a modest but strong selection of spirits, and the refrigerated beer case along the back wall is stocked with “everything from Domestic brews to Ales made by Monks in an Abbey,” said Lee.

“We are really offering something for everyone,” Angelica told me. “If it’s a Bud you want, we have that too!”

I’ve been popping in to see The Cellar in progress over the past week or so, and it is a truly beautiful space, designed by architect, Oscar Palacios with metal work by Frank Seckler. Bring a jacket if you plan to browse – the temperature holds at a chilly 67%, – it’s not named The Cellar for nothing – and browse you will.

In fact, if you’re a true wine lover, after one visit you’ll wonder how you ever got by in Taos without The Cellar.

That said, Angelica reminded me as our conversation came to a close, that “beer is the fastest growing industry in the US, and is booming across the world as well.”

“People are putting much more thought into beer making and actually some food pairings are often better served with beer!”


For more information on The Cellar at Cid’s, please visit their site linked below.

The Cellar

Photographs of The Cellar by Joshua Cunningham

5 thoughts on “The Cellar

  1. Nice job guys. Good luck with it. Hope we can be there to share a bottle soon. Sailor Jerry Rum?

  2. Glad to see that Taos is back in the fine wine business. Hasn’t been a decent shop up there since Joan’s shop & restaurant closed. Bill Easton gave me a head’s up that I should check you out. Will do in a week on my way back from TheTaste of Colorado.

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