Blackwell’s Wines & Spirits was established in 2004 by husband and wife team Gary and Dita Blackwell with the goal of creating an approachable and enjoyable wine buying experience. We have curated a truly special selection of wine, spirits and beer – products we know our customers are seeking, as well as those gems that have yet to be discovered by the masses. We are a store of enthusiasts that cater to enthusiasts – yes, we “geek out” on this stuff!
Whether selecting bottles for a special event, Tuesday night meat loaf or a sought after bottling – we strive to provide each customer with impeccable and personal service.
Additionally we have regularly scheduled beer and wine tastings to give our customers the opportunity to taste through our rotating inventory and discover new favorites!
The seeds for Dita’s love of wine were planted by her father, nurtured by her “year in Provence” and travels throughout Europe during college, and blossomed post-college with countless trips to wine country and wine store explorations. Shortly after meeting Gary, hobby turned into career. For more than a decade Dita and Gary have worked together, sharing their enthusiasm for all things fermented and distilled with customers.
Dita holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and a B.S. in Business Administration from Cal Poly, SLO. In her downtime, she enjoys spending time with her family, trying not to kill every plant in her garden, and volunteering at her son’s school.
While Gary hails from the land of Muscadine wine, his tastes have evolved over the years. German Rieslings and Bordeaux were his “gateway” wines, however travels and tastings over the last three decades have led him to develop special affections for Burgundy, Champagne, Tokaji, Bourbons and Armagnac. Gary’s entrepreneurial nature is a perfect fit for the continually evolving habits of the beverage industry – always on the hunt for new finds and trends to share with his customers.
Gary left a 14+ year career in finance to start his dream and open Blackwell’s Wines & Spirits. He holds an MBA from Dominican University and a B.A. in Art & Society from World College West. In his free time, Gary enjoys spending time with his family, cycling and reading.
Elizabeth Dinsmore, the newest member of our team, hails from the beautiful coast of Southern California. From an early age Liz had a knack for fine wine and craft beer. A true California classic, some of her current favorites are buttery Chardonnay, and robust and complex Cabernet Sauvignon. A graduate in Business Administration from Sonoma State University, in the heart of wine country, she was afforded ample opportunity to expand her palate during her studies. There’s nothing she enjoys more than connecting customers with new products, and having folks discover new favorites. Aside from wine, Liz enjoys sipping sour beers and agave spirits. In her free time, Liz can be found taking delight in traveling and exploring the outdoors.
Emilio’s roots in fine tonics were established in northern California, where he was born and raised. These roots then flourished during his time studying at the University of Oregon in Eugene, a place where craft beer is more of a lifestyle than a pastime. Aside from long walks on the beach, Emilio enjoys IPAs, Red Ales, Italian reds, and good whisky – all of which he believes couple perfectly with traveling and watching sports.
Stefanie's love of wine is a passion as organic to her as breathing. Having cut her teeth in the industry at numerous wineries and retailers, her experience includes roles in marketing, winemaking, hospitality and retail. However, it's winemaking that captured her heart, and retail that keeps her spirit zippy.
An award-winning winemaker, Stefanie has more than ten years of winemaking experience which includes production of her own label Virgo Cellars. As for retail, it's the daily connection with customers - putting the right bottle in the right hands, and developing long term relationships with customers and their palates - that gets her jazzed every day.
It has often been said: “To distill the perfect scotch, you must first invent the universe.” Miranda took this lesson to heart early in life, and pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Astrophysics. Approaching her passion for whisky with the attention of a physicist – resulted in her obsession with the innovation with rapidly aged spirits. Shakespeare would have written sonnets about her love-affair with craft beer, and Hunter S. Thompson would have published a tremendous tell-all about her relationship with all manner of red wine. On her days off, she can often be found with her nose in a book and an Islay malt (neat – one stone) in hand.
While Pastis would rather opt for Sauternes and Stilton, it’s kibble and water he gets. A fixture in the shop during the early years, the skateboards that would zip on occasion down the sidewalk in front of the store proved too much a temptation. Pastis now spends his afternoons sunning on the deck, while mulling over the current week’s Pastis’s Pick selection for the store.