This week’s feature is the Spiritus Wines which is the second to last piece of this wonderful We Love Hartford project.  Spiritus offers wine tastings twice per week on Thursday (4-6:30) and Saturday (1-4), fun and knowledgeable staff and a wide array of wine and liquors to choose from.  It was a pleasure to learn the history from the Owner, Gary Dunn
Hartford GirlWhy did you start Spiritus?
Gary: I purchased Spiritus Wines in early 2006 from the founder.  He and his wife had started the business in 1982, so we've been in business in downtown Hartford for more than 32 years!  In the early 1980's the wine market landscape in the area was essentially just package stores, no store was focused on artisanal, small production wine with a goal of identifying high quality, high value wines to offer customers.
This remains our mission at Spiritus today.  All of our wine selections are based on my daily tasting sessions with distributors in search of quality bottlings that deliver authentic characteristics of the grape varietal and the region in which its grown for an attractive price.  And we then personally assist every customer who comes in to the store to help them find the right bottle matching their taste preference and the occasion.

There are thousands of wines available in the marketplace.  In the U.S. we get wines from around the world.  It can be very confusing, not to mention they're not all worth you're hard-earned money!  Believe me, you don't need to see a thousand cabernets to choose from.  You're better off with 100 good ones in a range of prices.  That's the critical service that Spiritus provides.
Hartford GirlWhat is your biggest challenge with running Spiritus? 

GaryOne of the most significant on-going efforts we have is educating the general public about the value of small producers.  The U.S. wine market is dominated by big brand name, highly-marketed companies that produce millions of cases a year.  We prefer to feature small wineries, often family-owned and operated, that create wines born from their passion to produce the best possible wines from their own meticulously cared for vineyards.  And the value is superior because you're not paying for marketing campaigns or pricing based on brand positioning.  With small producers, it's all about the wine!

Fortunately, the wine culture in the U.S. has evolved significantly over the last 30 years.  The current generation of 20-somethings has embraced wine more than any previous generation.  And with the popular farm-to-table movement in food, people better understand the importance of the product source and artisanal production.  Plus, it's very exciting now with the recent explosion in numbers of craft beer brewers and small craft distillers of spirits.  The whole concept of small production by incredibly passionate folks is helping to nudge the market away from industrial products.

Hartford GirlWhy did you choose Hartford as the home for Spiritus?

GaryWhen Spiritus first opened in 1982, the Hartford area in general was under-served for boutique wine.  After purchasing the business in 2006, I pursued relocating it to a busier, more centrally-located spot in downtown to better serve our Hartford customers (and have much better curbside parking!).  But Hartford also works well for us in serving our numerous suburban customers who receive our monthly newsletter with a dozen new wine features every month.  We have also always offered free delivery service so a central location helps us reach out in all directions.
Learn more by visiting Spiritus Wines located 500 Asylum Street downtown Hartford.  And don't forget to check out the Spiritus Wines feature post on Humans of HartfordHartford Girl and the Love Hartford Instagram accounts!


07/05/2015 4:24am

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07/09/2015 10:11am

Wines! Wines! Wines! I love wines, definitely. Between red and white, I am more of a red wine drinker. I still appreciate white wines especially in the company of great friends. One time, we used to have a Friday nightout with friends with each one hosting and choosing what would be the wine for the night. We still have this only twice a month now as we raised children and some are really busy with work. You know the responsibilities of raising a family. Cheers to all wine drinkers!

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04/15/2016 12:32pm

Looking back 50 years from now, almost all wines that were available for consumption world wide were made from organic grapes. Not because it was fashionable or because people demanded organic wines, but because that was how things were done in agriculture at that time. Back then the question which wine to buy was much easier! more information will you have by visit

05/11/2016 12:28am

I'm in love with Spiritus Wines... great service there!

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Spiritus offers wine tastings twice per week which is really a cause of attraction for many of peoples. I also taste wine there and they have awesome variety of wine there.

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