Over artful boards of meats,
cheeses, fruits, and nuts,
our host for the tasting is Adam Fleischer
of Cleveland Heights’ Wine Spot. He
guides an intimate group, including
Brew at Juma manager Heather Airgood,
through five wines starting with a
Prosecco. Through explanations of the
various varietals, Adam also de-mystifies
the process of wine tasting and brings an
approachable manner that is appealing to
newcomers and well-seasoned enthusiasts.
The wine tasting events at Shaker
Wines and Brew at Juma are leading the
transformation of the Van Aken District into a signature regional destination. Rather than big box stores or chain
restaurants, local food and drink innovators are creating unique experiences for residents and visitors seeking an
experience rather than a mundane shopping trip.
This is evident the minute you walk into Shaker Wines or Brew at Juma. While both events share the theme
of tasting a variety of wines, each has its own approach that reflects the style of both the presenter and location.
Brew at Juma has long been a daytime favorite for locals seeking a more authentic coffee house experience
or healthy lunch spot. The addition of the daily happy hours, from 4 to 7 pm, and an outdoor seasonal patio have
broadened the offerings while maintaining the intimate atmosphere. The recent addition of the wine tasting
events, which are planned to take place at least once a season, fit perfectly into the comfortable and pleasantly
Authenticity certainly carries over to Shaker Wines. A local institution since its founding in Shaker Square in
1937, it has been enthusiastically owned and led by Gene Veronesi for over 35 years — leading many to comment
that he too is a local institution. Here wine tasting events are a carefully choreographed production, with
numbered glasses and a list of the wines for your tasting notes.
But the atmosphere is anything but intimidating. It’s more like walking into Cheers for the regulars who
welcome newcomers with open arms (and ample pours). As Dr. Gene begins the evening, bringing the professorial
approach you might expect from someone with two Ph.Ds, it is quickly clear that this is the most fun you’ll ever
have in class.
As the Van Aken District transforms to become more walkable and accessible to the community, both of
these events will continue to add character to an area that already had a storied history. While we may have
lost noted establishments like Gruber’s and Elsner’s Steak & Steam, Shaker Wines continues the tradition of
44 SHAKERONLINE.COM | FALL 2017
pours at a
Brew at Juma