Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rick Allocca and his world of wines

Rick: Spirits Unlimited Middletown's “go-to-guy” for wines


Rick Allocca, the “go-to-guy” at Spirits Unlimited Middletown, is the most unassuming person you would ever come across at any liquor store. But ask him anything you want to know about wines, you will be amazed by his depth of knowledge, his willingness to work with you to help you discover your palate, and his very charming and pleasant manners that takes the edge off your wine-shopping hassles.
Then you are left to ask yourself, how come he is so humble and unassuming?

According to Stuart Keats, Manager of Liquor Operations at Spirits Unlimited Middletown, Rick exemplifies what each member of the store is about: Helping the customers find and enjoy the best wines and spirits.

Rick’s passion for wines comes from his family table. Growing up in an Italian family in Middletown, dinner was always served with wine, as far as he remembers.

“My family is huge on wines,” he said. “Wine is as common as water in my family. My father is a big fan of the cabernet. He got me interested in wines. My grandfather too is big on wines. So for me it was a natural thing to get to know about wines.”

Looking back on his first day at the job at Spirits Unlimited Middletown, Rick shares his encounter with his first love: vintage wines!

“On my first day, I bought a case of mixed wines, a lot of them I have never heard before and within a week they were all gone,” Rick said. Trying various wines, learning about them, where they come from was a habit they kept growing on him.

“I think the reason I am so passionate about wines is because it is a natural occurring thing,” he said. “It has health benefits, can be shared with friends and family almost like music. Also, because the art of making a good wine involves so many people, from the one who plants, to the one who tends to it and then the whole process of harvesting and turning it into something special…it’s a very involved process and requires the expertise of many people to deliver a perfect product at your family table.”

As such, you can imagine Rick intends to make wine a big part of his adult life. “It’s something that I wanted to keep in my life, want to grow upon, learn more, keep around me and my family,” he said.

It has already grown on him since he started to work at Spirits Unlimited Middletown. He used to like the sweet, easy tasting wines before whereas now he is into more complex wines, Rick said.

His dream — “I would like to have my own vineyard.”

“Making your wine is leaving your mark on this world,” Rick said. “My great-grandfather used to make wine, and the tradition discontinued from my grandfather, who owned a deli store in Red Bank but did not pass the wine-making knowledge to my father. My dad wishes he had learned it. So, I would like to start a new legacy and continue that tradition that was lost from grandpa.”

“It’s personal, Rick said, “To me wine is a very personal experience.”

If you have a question about wines, please write to Rick at

About Me

This blog is designed, edited and published by Somdatta Sengupta for Circus Liquors Inc. Content is supervised by Stuart Keats, Manager of Liquor Operations for Circus Liquors Inc. Site header created by Denise Reinle. Graphics support provided by Phyllis Vivoli. Content support provided by Mike DeNiro. Store Manager for Spirits Middletown is Ray Kimble. He can be reached at (732) 957 9700. For questions, comments or more information, write to Spirits Middletown at For placing orders or any form of assistance with your fine wine, beer or other party planning requirements, call the store directly at (732) 957 9700.