As the 21-year-old manager of a construction site in North Carolina, Bill Philips “didn’t know squirt about wine except that red is different from white,” he said.
He still isn’t sure what made two young men, who had just started a wine distribution company, offer him a job.
“They’d probably been drinking too much of that wine they were selling,” he said, laughing.
Or maybe not. It strikes me that those fellows probably recognized a future wino when they saw one.
I use the term “wino” in an endearing way because Philips, the 6-foot-6-inch owner of Roanoke’s newest wine shop, was long ago nicknamed “Tallwino.”
For someone who ended up working in wine distribution for more than 35 years, mostly for Blue Ridge Beverage Co. in Salem, opening a bottle shop seems like a natural career progression. But it took awhile for Philips’ family to persuade him to open Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar on Brambleton Avenue in Roanoke.
“I’d thought about it and people had asked, and I just said ‘I don’t know,’ ” Philips said. “I guess I was a little bit of a chicken.”
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