After owning GYST Fermentation Bar in Minneapolis since 2014, Mel Guse found herself back in her hometown of Sioux Falls to rebrand and reopen as Gist Wine Shop.
“The concept has always been in the back of my mind from my previous experience,” said the owner and sommelier. “Because the laws in Minneapolis are very different from what they are here, you can’t really serve wine and sell wine in the same space with the same walls and doors. So we did more of a wine bar.”
She continued, “The wine shop was always there. It was always an idea to have smaller grower-producers doing wines in a much more natural fashion and working with people whom I personally know in the business.”
The new 11th Street location is in the former Sioux Falls Design Center, and Guse says they carry around 200-225 wines that aren’t typically found in the area.
“Our focus [at the wine shop is] a little more on new California wines, Oregon wines, and more on this idea of natural wines,” she described. “Indigenous yeast fermentation; low-intervention wine making. Just wines that tell a story, have a personality, and have a person behind it.”
Guse and her team act as wine stewards to walk anyone through price points, what they like, and what they might not even know they’re looking for.
“Gist [and gyst are] an old derivative or English word for yeast, which hence ferments everything. It’s simple. There’s nothing added to it. It’s just what it is.” – Mel Guse
“If someone is looking for something particular like a brand that might be in a grocery store, a lot of these wines have similar flavor profiles, just made in a smaller production in a little different area.” – Mel Guse
“The goal for us is to understand what you’re looking for and try to put you in the same price point and flavor profile,” she said. “If you’re interested and not quite sure, we’re happy to open it. If you want to buy it, great, if not, we’ll sell it by the glass.”
The shop has an intimate section of tables to sit down and enjoy an option of rotating wines by the glass. Specialty retail items are also available for snacking both on site and on the go.
“There’s anything for a Spanish tapas night, nuts, or a cheese and charcuterie to grab and go,” she said. “You’re also welcome to bring in food to go with your wine.”
Gist Wine Shop will launch a wine club this month that’s customized to the client for their tastes and palates. Members fill out a questionnaire to start the process, and Guse will set up a 15-minute consultation to learn more about what the person would like to receive in the monthly subscription of three to six bottles.
“I want to get to know you. If you’re a seasonal drinker, if you want more whites and rosés in the summer to more reds and different ones around the holidays,” she said. “I can cater to learning more about that.”
Taste, Wine, and Learn
Bring a group of friends or co-workers to Gist Wine Shop for a private wine class or a guided tasting. The sommelier-led class can be tailored to interests. The groups can include up to 20 people.
“I started eating and drinking my way around San Francisco and got really into the wine scene there.” -Mel Guse on her love for wine
She also will offer sommelier services with options like ordering wine for events, specialty retail, offices, and corporate or private functions. There are also plans to have classes.
“It’s been going really well so far and we’re loving getting to know the neighborhood,” said Guse. “We’re going in phases, and we’re feeling good about it.”
For more information, visit gistwineshop.com.