“No apologies, not in paradise,” Trout said. “Your palette likes what your palette likes.”
Locals and visitors to Kemah can sample more than three dozen different wines, sparkling wines and wine smoothies at the wine bar and boutique, located at 603 Bradford Ave., Ste. B. Varieties range from stone fruit and tropical flavors to berry and citrus, as well as several specialty and sparkling types.
Regulars can join a wino club for $20 monthly, where they receive 10% off all drinks and one free bottle of wine a month picked up in-store. Other deals include 5% off six bottles of wine and 10% off, plus a free bottle, with the purchase of a dozen.
Trout gets new shipments about once every two weeks to keep up with demand. No one flavor stands out in terms of popularity because people have such a variety of tastes, he said.
“I can’t keep any of them stocked,” he said of the various flavors, which even include a tomato-flavored wine reminiscent of a Bloody Mary cocktail.
Trout, 23, bought the business from its previous owners in December 2019 and gave new life to the wine bar part of the store, extending weekend hours and revamping the outdoor space for guest use. Wine accessories and other items are available for purchase around the shop, which Trout said is located inside a protected historical building. In the future, he hopes to host LGBT nights, karaoke nights and live musicians.
With heated seating outdoors and several stools indoors, the location provides boardwalk-goers with a quieter spot to talk and have a drink. In an effort to support local restaurateurs, Trout will occasionally bring food trucks to the wine bar, and guests are encouraged to bring their own meals. He also makes his own rum cakes, which are sold at Paradise as well.
Two wine and beer samples, or one wine smoothie sample, per person are complimentary, and additional tastings cost $0.50 to $1 for beer and wine, respectively. The beer comes from Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing Company, which Trout said was chosen for its unique beverage varieties. Wine can be ordered by the glass, flight or bottle, and can be taken to-go.
Paradise could not offer sampling, but was not required to close, during COVID-19 shutdowns. Trout, who does virtually all of the work for the business himself, said the pandemic spurred change and creativity as he looked for ways to attract customers.
“This year, entrepreneurs had to learn how to pivot their businesses,” he said. “We had to get really creative... Pretty much everything that we did had to be different.”