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Pinky & Pepe's Grape Escape, Kentlands


Lydia R
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Gaithersburg's Kentlands Square is now the home of James and Evie Rodgers' new Wine and Lager store cum wine bar: Pinky and Pepé's Grape Escape. Most startling is the variety of wines available. Pinky takes pride in ordering directly from small producers and from the “special order” desk at MoCo liquor central. Sure, there's still generally available crowd pleasing wines – but I appreciate her effort.

Local wines are well represented: Horton Vineyard [got a bottle for easier reading], Black Ankle, Loew Vineyards and Linganore Wines are all at the beginning of the wine wall.

Every Friday, the eight bottle Enomatic changes its offerings (usually 4 white/4 red). Also on Fridays, there's a wine tasting from 5p to 8p with live music.

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A photo of Pinky and the Enomatic from Sonya Burke's "Town Courier" article

There are several food options to accompay in-store sipping:

  • In-house, they offer a variety of plates: Meat (salami & crackers - $10), Cheese (variety & crackers - $12), Olives & Crackers $8, Nuts ($?) and a large Combo of everything ($?). [sorry, don't remember some prices]
  • HaKuBa Sushi will deliver to the Grape Escape ($20 minimum food order). Carry-in food from the nearby Coalfire is also welcome.

The store is dog-friendly with free, non-alcoholic doggie beverage [water bowl] service.

Pinky and Pepé's Grape Escape is located between the Giant Food Store and K-Mart:

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FWIW, I went to high school with Pinky, and stopped in last month to say hi and have a look around. They're already planning to expand the Enomatic. To my surprise, she had nothing but positive things to say about the MoCo DLC and their special-order desk, although the shelf prices do ultimately reflect the punitive economics caused by the county's distribution monopoly and policies. Nevertheless, PaPGE seems to have attracted a following among the wine drinkers in the immediate area. Pepe likes Belgian beers, but at the moment the selection is somewhat limited.

To their credit, they've been very actively scheduling tastings with interesting winemakers, which you can read about in their regular e-mail newsletter.

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Finally, at 43 years old, I'm able to enjoy red wine thanks to Pinky and Pepe's.

Maybe I'd always gotten old wine, cold wine or just too bold wine - but the ability to get a glass from the machine and sit and enjoy it - that made the difference. I;ve now begun the journey down the red road thanks to Pinky.

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A year later, they're still moving forward. Their enomatic is half-price during Happy Hour [Monday - Thursday 5p-7p] and it encourages tasting new wines and different styles. Their beer prices are now more competitive, but they've kept the wide selection.

In the best heart-warming story of the Thanksgiving Holiday, their Marine son returned from Afghanistan to surprise them during a parade. From Robert Samuels' Washington Post article:

Of those assembled, Pinky and Pepe were the only ones who didn’t know their eldest son was supposed to come home at 8:40 Saturday night. For seven months, Matthew Rodgers, a 20-year-old lance corporal in the Marines, served in Sangin, Afghanistan, helping troops avoid roadside bombs in an area that has been particularly dangerous. It was the longest he had ever been away from his Gaithersburg home, where his 17-year-old sister, Tori, helps run Pinky & Pepe’s Grape Escape. He told Tori he wanted to surprise them.

It was supposed to be a small, family prank. But Tori kicked it up a notch.

She and best friend Rachel Lipman organized a parade. It was a chance for Tori to show just a smidgen of her devotion.

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