Restaurant owners shift focus to bottle shop

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  • Dave and Emily Meester outside their newest project, Woods Bay Wine. This space had formerly been their restaurant, the Gourmet Galley. They are transforming it into a place to taste and purchase wines from around the world. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 1

    A glass of wine at the new Woods Bay Wine. Owners Dave and Emily Meester will have samples and bottles of wines from around the world. They will also be doing intimate dinners that pair wines with specific meals.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

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    The bottle shop at Wood Bay Wine.

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    Dave and Emily Meester in their redesigned space in Woods Bay. For four years the couple ran the Gourmet Galley out of this building, they have transformed into a wine tasting and bottle shop called Woods Bay Wine.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • Dave and Emily Meester outside their newest project, Woods Bay Wine. This space had formerly been their restaurant, the Gourmet Galley. They are transforming it into a place to taste and purchase wines from around the world. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 1

    A glass of wine at the new Woods Bay Wine. Owners Dave and Emily Meester will have samples and bottles of wines from around the world. They will also be doing intimate dinners that pair wines with specific meals.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 2

    The bottle shop at Wood Bay Wine.

  • 3

    Dave and Emily Meester in their redesigned space in Woods Bay. For four years the couple ran the Gourmet Galley out of this building, they have transformed into a wine tasting and bottle shop called Woods Bay Wine.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

The owners of the former Gourmet Galley breakfast eatery in Woods Bay recently reopened their doors with a new focus on wine.

David and Emily Meester say Woods Bay Wine is a passion pursuit founded in their love of wine.

“To be downright honest, I’m a lot more interested in this than flipping eggs,” David said, noting the restaurant the couple ran for four years.

The space on Montana 35 includes bottles of wine from around the world, along with a healthy selection of specialty craft beers.

Next to the bottle room is a tasting room where the Meesters will sell wine by the glass or in flights. They hope customers will enjoy the space and taste different wines before deciding which bottle to purchase. The shop uses a special argon gas system to keep a bottle of wine fresh after it’s opened for a tasting.

The Meesters’ travels through the wine regions of Western Europe in recent years helped push the couple to try out this business idea, Emily said. She also said time she spent living in Austria helped form her wine knowledge.

“In college, I was the one drinking wine while my friends were drinking Busch Light,” David added.

The Meesters have retained much of the former restaurant’s kitchen space and plan on using it to cook and arrange plates of charcuterie and truffles that will also be available for purchase.

The kitchen also played an important role in the development of the wine shop, Emily said. When the space was still Gourmet Galley, they hosted several wine-pairing dinners that were well-received by customers

“People got to try the wine from Spain and the food from Spain,” David said of the popular events.

The transition from a breakfast place to a wine shop wasn’t easy, but it did come with some upsides.

“In the last few weeks, we’ve tried 350 different wines,” Emily said.

In the future, the Meesters hope to further renovate the space, potentially adding a patio that will let people enjoy their wine tastings outside.

Woods Bay Wine will be open Thursday through Monday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. The shop will likely close for about a month during the winter when the Meesters plan travel through wine country and research new wines to stock in the shop.

Wine tastings at Woods Bay Wine begin at $15 and premium wine tastings will be priced at about $30. The shop features bottles of wine from about $10 and up.

The shop also plans on bringing in importers and professional wine tasters for special events.

More information can be found at www.woodsbaywine.com, and a schedule of events can be found on their Facebook page, Woods Bay Wine.

Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or pfrissell@dailyinterlake.com.

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