Drink and be merry: Wine Made Simple celebrates

Back in 2011, Wine Made Simple owner Joyce Watson told The Dish that it was her dream to open a wine shop, and to be a "community hub for people to socialize and enjoy good wine." In April, the wine shop in the Townside Shopping Center on Ivy Road (near Shenandoah Joe and Zazus) will celebrate its second anniversary, and Watson's dream has come with a healthy dose of reality.

"Opening the shop has been such a learning experience from the perspective of being a small business owner, learning about wine and becoming part of the community," she says. "In many ways it has been what I expected, long hours, hard work and an emotional roller coaster."

Watson founded Wine Made Simple to help new and experienced wine lovers discover new wines at an affordable price. Most of the wines in the store are under $20. The wines are organized by style descriptors with wines from Virginia and around-the-world. Free tastings are held every Friday evening. Wine Made Simple also hosts classes and other events throughout the year. For instance, Wine Made Simple will be conducting the "Wine University" classes at the Taste of Monticello Wine Trail on April 13 at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion.

"The most rewarding part has been the level of support of customers who are helping me by word of mouth to market the business through their friends, colleagues and family," says Watson. "Feeling that support has been very touching."

On April 5, Watson and company plan to show some appreciation for that support by having a free wine tasting from 4pm to 8pm, plus you'll be able to enter a raffle to win a $50 gift certificate.

And while the dream may have taken a few bumps and bruises, doing what you want to do can be its own reward.

"I've had a successful business career in the past," says Watson, "but have always dreamed of having my own business, particularly a wine shop."