By Gavin Menu
When David Churchill took a job at DePetris Wines and Liquors on Main Street in Bridgehampton, it was a different world. Churchill, a 1990 graduate of Pierson High School in Sag Harbor, was 24 years old and Bridgehampton still had that small town feel.
“Across the street was Bridgehampton National Bank, next to a video store, next to the beverage store. The burger joint was still on the corner. And there was this liquor store,” Churchill said. “On the corner there was a fish market and Noel’s Produce. You used to be able to go to the bank, get some cash, get a movie, get fish, get produce, get wine and go home.”
Today all of that is gone.
“But we are still here,” said Churchill, who earlier this year took over from his old boss, Dan DePetris, and moved his three-year old wine shop Churchill Wines & Spirits from Pantigo Road in East Hampton to his old stomping grounds in Bridgehampton.
“I came on here in 1996 to learn from the manager because he was leaving,” said Churchill, who began his wine career working under Paul Tavernier at Atlantic Wines in Amagansett. “He ended up leaving two months earlier than expected so I got thrown to the wolves, and this place was another world compared to Amagansett and Sag Harbor.”
Since he worked under DePetris for close to 15 years, Churchill is familiar with the store’s regular clientele from Bridgehampton and Sagaponack. And while much has changed on Bridgehampton’s Main Street, a lot of the faces have remained the same.
“You’re talking about generations upon generations of people who shopped the DePetris Market, which is where Sotheby’s is now,” Churchill said. “Dan was the butcher there. This store was opened in 1946 by Dan’s family.
“I think the biggest thing, and the nicest relief, was when people saw the new ownership sign, and the DePetris sign came down, everyone went ‘Here we go, another local business going down,’” Churchill continued. “They saw the name and they didn’t necessarily remember that it was me, but the number of people who came in and went ‘It’s you, that’s such good news. I’m so happy.’ Everyone was very relieved that it was me coming back to keep it going.”
Churchill has brought his own touches to the store, with a greater selection of wines and some prices adjusted in the customers’ favor. He added new lights, cleaned up the rear entry, and believes he has brought a new burst of energy to the well-established old staple.
“I have a big TV and we watch sports on the weekend, we listen to rock and roll and have some wine tastings,” he said. “This is wine and liquor. This should be fun.”
David Churchill’s Favorite Long Island Wines
Palmer Unoaked Chardonnay
“No better value in Long Island white. Crisp and clean, but the body of quality Chardonnay.”
Channing Daughters Sauvignon Blanc
“Rivals any French in the $20 and under category.”
Wolffer “Finca” Rose´
“Light and easy to drink, very well made, and the only rose´ that doesn’t run out.”
McCall Cabernet Franc
“Simply the best affordable red I personally have ever had from the island.”