Nathan Hiedo is the owner of Avenue Liquor & Subs at 878 Orange Avenue. Nathan and his wine specialist Frank Marquez answered a few questions about the business and themselves.
Nathan, what is your connection to Coronado? Tell us your Coronado story.
I had another liquor store in San Diego that I operated.
When did you start Avenue Liquor at this location? Why this spot on Orange?
Avenue Liquor has been in same location on 9th and Orange since 1939.
Describe all the products and services you offer.
We have all the standard conveyance store items plus a great deli - Avenue Subs. We have the best beer, wine and spirit selection on the island. Avenue has a free beer and wine tasting on the weekends. We also deliver around Coronado.
What has been the biggest lotto win from this store?
Top Super Lotto, prize, 9 million dollars, Avenue is the only store in Coronado to give out the top prize.
When you aren't running the store, how do you spend your time?
I like to travel and camp.
What are your favorite spots around Coronado?
I love the Boathouse and walking the beach.
A few questions for Frank Marquez who likes to be referred to as Mr. Vino:
Frank, what is your connection to Coronado? Tell us your Coronado story.
I grew up in Coronado in the 50's & 60's, when Coronado had no traffic lights and was much more a sleepy Navy town. Growing up in 'nado back then was much more like being on Tom Sawyer's Island then any current locals could imagine, goofing off, ridding bikes, going to the beach and hanging out at the pool was about all locals kids did back then.
How did you get started in the "wine" business?
My father loved wine, so I was exposed to wine at an early age. I started taking wine classes at UCSD, when I was undergraduate. I went into wine professionally, when I started a wine-friendly bistro in Ashland, Oregon. After selling that business, I returned to San Diego and started working as broker for Frog's Leap Winery and Ravenswood. I then worked for a premium Italian distributor selling Italian wines and spirits to restaurants and wine shops. Through those connections, I went back into being a professional a wine buyer for the Wine Bank, the best wine shop in San Diego. Eventually, I returned to Coronado as the wine guy for Vons-Coronado and then moved to Wally's Marketplace in IB and to Avenue Liquor.
Can you share some of your favorite wines and why?
I like all sorts of wine from the cheap and cheerful to the very expensive. I love sparkling wine from budget Cavas like Cristalino to Dom Perignon. I like Pinot Noir like Bethel Heights from Oregon and Joseph Swan from the Russian River Valley. California Zinfandel is near and dear to me, D Cubed, Biale and Sausal are delicious. I like all sorts of imports from Spain and Italy. I love white wine for about $10, my current favorites are Three Pears Pinot Grigio and Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc. My favorite winery is Joseph Swan for their interesting Zinfandel and Pinot Noirs, my second fave is Silverado from the Napa Valley for their drinkable Cabs and Sauvignon Blancs.
What is a common mistake most 'wine shoppers' make?
Wine buyers get to hung up on luxury brands like Rombauer, Opus One, Santa Margarita and Silver Oak, not realizing there are much better wines for far less money. Another mistake wine buyers make is they don't realize that most California wines made under $10 because of cost and production methods taste exactly the same. If you go to a Supermarket and buy a California Chardonnay, it is going to taste the same as the California Chardonnay bottle right next to it on the shelf, just in a different label.
What about pairing wines with food - any nuggets of wisdom you can share?
It is all about red and white, sweet and spicy. White wines go well with cream sauce, soft cheeses and white meat, such as fish and poultry. Red wine goes with red sauces, red meat and hard cheeses. Pinot Noir and Champagne goes just about everything, except food that is spicy and that goes well with a sweet Riesling. That is the conventional wisdom for food and wine paring, and you can't go wrong with these "rules", but really what you want to do is compare or contrast wine with the food you're serving for example for the the Thanksgiving Turkey, a sweet and tart Riesling goes with the heavy meat just as well a spicy Zinfandel from the Napa Valley.
When you aren't being enthusiastic about wine, what do you like to do?
I like to camp around Julian with my wife and dogs. We like go to local beaches like 'nado, Mission Beach and La Jolla. I spend a lot time writing fiction and about wine. I still love the Chargers, Disneyland, the movies, classic rock and reading Scifi.
What are your favorite spots around Coronado?
The Silver Strand State Beach and the central beach Coronado. I love the Del.
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