In 1998, Andy Besch was liberated from a lifelong career as a senior marketing executive in the entertainment industry. He soon became the envy of friends and family when a severance package allowed him to follow his passions.
Over the course of his career, Andy had traveled extensively and eaten expensively. His innate ability to remember (by name and taste) every wine he sampled, along with his love of food and travel, made him the resident oenological, gastronomical and geographical expert among his circle of friends.
So when he found himself free at last, how could he turn those years of pro bono work into a lucrative venture? After a year of soul searching, and a frighteningly close brush with restaurant ownership, an opportunity to buy a neighborhood business dropped in his lap. He jumped right in. Over the course of a few months, with no retail experience whatsoever, he transformed a dumpy corner liquor store into the wine shop of his dreams.
But once behind the counter, Andy was struck by the fact that buying wine was such a difficult chore for so many people. Some struggled to make a choice, many were reluctant to take a chance on something different, and very few appeared to be having much fun. His solution? Make it easy. By showing his customers how to identify their preferences and how to communicate effectively, Andy has succeeded in converting many overwhelmed and intimidated shoppers into confident and adventuresome wine enthusiasts. West Side Wine is now a neighborhood favorite, as well as a destination stop for wine lovers everywhere.
Andy’s behind-the-counter experiences led him to co-author, along with his wife Ellen Kaye, The Wine Guy: Everything You Want to Know about Buying and Enjoying Wine from Someone Who Sells It (William Morror/HarperCollins Oct. 2005.)