Ten years ago, Cheryl Sher's wine shop specialized in another of her favorite indulgences.
When Sher began managing her husband's family chocolate shop in 1999, the store was making sweet treats from recipes used in their former restaurant. She eventually decided to add wine, and renamed the store Sher Bliss.
"Chocolate and wine are so similar - where you're dependent on the climate, the soil, the rainfall for a certain taste," Sher said. "And then they pair very nicely. I think we were one of the first in the country to pair chocolate and wine."
Now, the Easton-area shop is known for the ultimate chocolate-wine combination: chocolate-covered wine bottles.
Sher knows something about putting her two favorite treats together.
"For tastings and special events, we used to do just typical appetizers that paired, or strictly chocolates," Sher said. "We stepped it up and started combining the chocolate in the food, just to make it a little more different, sweet and savory."
How did you learn about wine?
I was just a very enthusiastic consumer, and I just started reading and learning. Like, I took Italy a region at a time, to know what grapes grow where. And when you're tasting and reading, you find out what you like and what you don't.
Do women make up most of your customers?
It's funny; women are the predominant purchasers of the dipped bottles, although they hint to men that they'd like to have one themselves. But I really would say it's pretty equal, generally.
You make an effort to carry female-produced wines. Is that because you're a female business owner yourself?
That, and I think it just interests me. Everybody has busy lives, and you hear about a woman in Italy who was an architect by trade and became a winemaker and has children. I think it just interests me - what women are doing.Cheryl's Suggestions
Carol Shelton Wild Thing Old Vine Zinfandel (2005)
Region: Mendocino, California
Tasting notes: Jammy, with a smooth vanilla oak body and long finish
Pair with: Dark chocolate; a black-bean burger with dark chocolate shavings
Why Cheryl likes it: "Shelton's called 'the zin queen.' She didn't want to make anything that anyone could compare to an old-world style, so she does zin, which is not a grape that they have in Europe, and just makes them to the style that's best suited to the soil and the climate they come from."
Spann Vineyards Chardonnay-Viognier (2006)
Region: Sonoma County, California
Tasting notes: Apricot and peach flavors, with crisp acidity and only light oakiness
Pair with: Milk chocolate; portobello mushrooms stuffed with ground turkey, sun-dried tomatoes, feta and milk chocolate
Why Cheryl likes it: "All his wines are made in a French style, meaning they were meant to go with food. And viognier is an interesting Rhone varietal-it can be very perfume-y and heady, so it's a good way to introduce people to it. It's a nice, balanced wine."
Sher Bliss is located at 1394 Cherry Bottom Rd. in Gahanna and can be contacted at 614-428-9463 or SherBliss.com.