Ridgewood wine shop owner crafts ‘user-friendly,’ affordable shopping experience

wine shop owner
Debbie Jones inside of her shop, Ellen’s Wines & Spirits. (Photo courtesy of Benvenuti Public Relations)

When one enters Ellen’s Wines & Spirits, it’s easy to feel a sense of ease that few wine shops offer. That is the atmosphere that Debbie Jones, head sommelier and owner of the Ellen Wines and Spirits, is bringing to the table with her new winery.

Located at 50-05 Metropolitan Ave., Ellen’s Wines and Spirits has been open for more than a month and has already set itself apart from other wineries.

According to Jones, it was important for her shop to be less “intimidating” compared to other establishments. Her experience shopping for wine at other places led her to that line of thinking.

“Sometimes, when you walk into a wine shop, it can be very intimidating,” Jones told QNS.”When I was choosing wines to study for my certification, it was definitely overwhelming. This is why I set up Ellen’s to be so user-friendly.”

Jones has 11 years of experience working in the fine dining industry. Still, her expertise in wine dates back to her time at the Culinary Institute of America, where she learned to turn her passion for crafting food into a full-time profession.

“During my associate’s theory, I had to take a wine class. My parents don’t drink, so my wine knowledge before this was absolute zero,” she said.

Jones took a three-week intensive wine-making course, during which she learned all about the wine industry.

“Traditionally, a wine store is organized by country and then goes into different parts of the world and that expressive country,” Jones said. “But if somebody doesn’t know that pinot noir is a very great variety that you find in Burgundy because they don’t see it on the wine label, then it can get a little intimidating.”

The store is located in a newly remodeled warehouse space with exposed wooden beams on the ceiling, white bricks and a green wall with a neon sign displaying the store’s name. 

(Photo by Elijah Hamilton)

Jones has also sorted her store by price point, with one side of the store consisting of more affordable wines ranging from $14 to $28. On the other side of the store, you will find the more expensive options.

“It’s a very large selection at very friendly prices,” Jones said. “And in those different price points, you can find white wine, rosé and red from all over the world.”

Along with the store’s prices, she also uses a color-coordinated system for the wines that emphasizes minority- and women-owned wine brands.

“Here at Ellen’s, we try to represent the underrepresented. There are very few women in the wine industry; it’s still a man’s world,” Jones said. “There are few minorities in the wine industry, so we try to support them as much as possible.”

According to Jones, the color pink represents wines owned by women; purple represents wine brands owned by minorities; blue represents kosher-owned brands; and the color orange represents organic wines.

Establishing her new winery in Ridgewood was essential to Jones when looking to expand her business.

“Ridgewood is an upcoming neighborhood,” Jones says. “We hope to bring a different and very unique brand of wine and spirit, representing the underrepresented. We also want to be affordable and very friendly to everyone.”

Residents looking to get a taste of what Ellen’s Wines and Spirits has to offer can visit the store from noon to midnight on Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

Ellen’s Wine and Spirits is also on Instagram and TikTok @ellenswinesspirits.