Meet Mike Adams, owner of Bon Vivant Wine & Brew
When his wife, local veterinarian Kate Bouvier opened her practice on South Church Street in 1995, Mike Adams was inspired by the small building next door. “From the outside, it appears to be a small house,” explains Mike. But 22 years ago, Mike caught a vision for the space and Bon Vivant Wine & Brew came to be.
Today, the shop has an almost storybook look to it, especially during the holidays or in the spring when Mike’s green thumb is readily apparent. Its lush landscaping and “Cheers” sign above the door offer shoppers a warm welcome. The exterior sets the tone for the shopping experience. As Mike describes it, “We take a serious, but not snobbish approach to our beer & wine. We all have something to learn!”
Step inside and you’ll find “great wine, world-class beer, gift baskets, cigars, glassware, accessories and so much more.” There’s also an amazing selection of hard-to-find brews and unique wines – all managed by an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and personable staff. In fact, most of Mike’s staff has been with him for over 12 years and have developed a following of devoted customers of their own.
Mike’s sense of humor is on display as he lists his employees’ titles: Linda Moss, the Beer Goddess, Diane Milner, the Basket Queen, Guido Serafini, Master of Confusion, and Terri Morgan, Old World Wine Specialist. Mike’s own title is of course, the Wine Guy.
Mike’s customers are every bit as loyal. One in particular, Howard Mandeville, has been around since Bon Vivant opened. Mike enjoys a dedicated following from all over the region as well. His special events held each month at the shop are especially popular, often selling out.
The Beer Club is held the last Friday of the month at 7:00 p.m. and offers a tasting of the latest, great brews available locally. The Wine Guild is held the third Friday of the month at 7:00 p.m. and offers a tasting of whites and reds “paired with education.”
Special guest speakers are also brought in throughout the year, and quarterly Mike offers “Explorations Wine Tastings.” Held at local restaurants, Explorations focuses on a single varietal or region with an emphasis on education. Coming up in February is “The 3 B’s of Italy: Barolo, Barberesco & Brunello” (the restaurant will be announced at a later date). Sign up for Mike’s e-newsletter to stay informed on these special events (email him at firstname.lastname@example.org), or call 757.365.0932 to register.
Mike is passionate about his products and enjoys talking about beer and wine and educating himself and his customers. This former food broker brings his expertise and connections to Bon Vivant. “We take great pride in our selection of wines and Beer. Working with smaller and specialty sellers gives us a unique collection that you won’t find in a 7/11….or even most supermarkets. We are so lucky in this country to have so many wines and brews from all over the world. So stop in and see what’s new!”
Bon Vivant also features cheese and other specialty foods and wine accessories. Mike and his staff are happy to create one of the shop’s popular gift baskets, personalizing it to the tastes and budget of his customers. The shop stays very busy, especially during the holidays making these one-of-a-kind creations – perfect for hospitality gifts, or for someone special on your gift list.
Obviously Mike has been well ahead of the recent trending interest in local craft brews and wineries. He welcomes the interest. As he says, “Anything that gets people out of the supermarkets to explore beer and wine is good for my business.”
This Newport News native now resides in Carrollton with wife Kate, “future shop dog” Pria, and Eddie and Bibs, the kitties. He also currently serves as the chairman on the Board of Directors for the Isle of Wight-Smithfield-Windsor Chamber of Commerce.
Mike’s hard work and passion are clearly paying off. In 2011 he was awarded Isle of Wight County Department of Economic Development’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award. One wonders what his secret is to running a successful small business for over 20 years.
Maybe this is it…when asked about his dream vacation he shrugs, “Why would I need a vacation? I’m living the dream. It’s a joy to come to work.” Or perhaps his philosophy can be summed up in the popular French phrase, “La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin,” meaning “Life is too short to drink bad wine.”
Bon Vivant Wine & Brew
1504 South Church Street, Smithfield
Facebook: Bon Vivant Wine & Brew Smithfield
Monday – Thursday: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.