By Chelsea Rose Moore
People sometimes choose their careers, but other times careers choose people. For Mike Carroll, the latter was definitely the case. He began working at a wine shop after high school and soon knew it was what he wanted to do forever.
“I always tell people: If you’re going to open your own shop, make mistakes with other people’s money,” he quipped, “I learned so much by doing that.”
Carroll spent 12 years at Cheese and Bottle, an Arlington-based wine shop, where he worked his way up to manager. After dreaming of owning a wine shop for years, he knew he’d struck gold when he found the little shop on the corner of King and Loudoun in Old Town Leesburg.
In its 30 years of existence, Leesburg Vintner has become an iconic mainstay in town. “I feel lucky,” said Carroll, “I love this corner. I think it’s the best corner in Loudoun County.”
Leesburg Vintner provides perks that big box wine stores cannot offer. Looking for a quick visit? You can be in and out of the store in five minutes. Want to do a tasting, enjoy a glass, and linger for a while? You can do that, too. Want to purchase a case? Pull up to the store and Carroll will carry it to your car, plus give you a case discount. Got a special order you can’t find in a store? Give him a few days’ notice and Carroll will track it down for you.
“We do things with our customer service that you can’t get in a big box store,” he said, “It’s a relationship you build up with customers. People are very, very loyal if you take care of them.” His penchant for strong customer service and outstanding wine has been celebrated through the numerous awards his store has won including the Virginia Wine Retailer of the Year and the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Small Retailer Business of the Year.
In 2012, the wine connoisseur started his own private wine label, Carroll Vineyards with wines made by Doug Fabbioli. In addition to his own label, customers can find wine from around the world and many local wineries at Leesburg Vintner. “We taste every bottle we sell and stand behind every bottle we sell. You don’t like it, bring it back. We’ll take care of you.”
Find Leesburg Vintner at 29 South King St., Leesburg. Store hours are Tuesday – Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 – 5 p.m. To join the Leesburg Vintner email list or learn more about upcoming tastings,