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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    New bar offers spirited selection

    Brittan Bates
    Brittan Bates / The Daily Wildcat Psychology major, Sarah Stricker and agricultural education major, Maya Schaw, serve Chris Walker at Bear Track U Winery on University Blvd. on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. The winery is new to University this year.

    Looking for a spot to kick back, relax and enjoy some high-end wines? A new shop recently opened on University Boulevard that will satisfy those needs — Bear Track U. Although the tasting room has been open for less than a month, it has already established itself in the Tucson community and even holds events — such as singles mixers — on a regular basis.

    Rick Riddle, owner of Bear Track U, makes his wines in New Mexico and imports them here to sell in his unique tasting room.

    “People not only get to enjoy the wine,” Riddle said, “but they also learn about how the wine is made through the stories I tell.”

    The standout point of Bear Track U is that it places an emphasis on wine education. Lisette Lespron, manager at Bear Track U, said she believes one of the best parts of working there is the interaction with the customers.

    “It’s much different than a typical bar,” Lespron said, “[where] they usually just hand you your drink, and that’s the end of the conversation. Here, we know about the product, and can give you the back story on where it came from, how it is made and what is used to make it.”

    Lespron and Riddle said they are excited to begin holding wine education classes at Bear Track U in the near future, and that they are both fascinated with everything in the realm of wine.

    Though Bear Track U has much of the same demographic as regular bars, the crowd there is tamer, and groups generally sit and drink wine while chatting for longer periods.

    “We have a group of regulars who are in their 70s,” Lespron said, “but we also get students who have just turned 21 and love the tasting room.”

    When Riddle decided to move his store into Main Gate Square, it had much to do with the fact that he would get a diverse group of customers — tourists from the neighboring Tucson Marriott University Park, professors from the UA and students going out on date nights.

    “We are more boutique-ish than other tasting rooms around Tucson,” Riddle said. “We have food and wine that you can’t get anywhere else, because they are unique to my store.”

    The menu at Bear Track U includes pages of wines — specialty, whites, reds, reserve and grand reserve — but there is also a list of beers, including many local options. When asked about their own personal favorite wine, Lespron and Riddle both spoke highly of the Refosco.

    “It’s an uncommon, old Italian grape that they used to grow back in the old country,” Lespron said. “I think it’s one of the best wines we’ve made in a long time.”

    Bear Track U is located at 943 E. University Blvd., Suite 101. It is open every day of the week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.


    Follow Chelsea Cook on Twitter.

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