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Good Libations

For Chris and Diane Riley, it’s not just about selling wine or whiskey. Riley’s Wine & Spirits serves as an extension of the couple’s passionate desire to help and entertain the Tulsa community.

Article
Michele Chiappetta
Photos
Sarah Eliza Roberts
Posted
November 28, 2019

Enjoying a glass of wine or fine liquor is a lot like enjoying a painting or music. It’s an experience that involves artistry as much as anything else. So, perhaps it’s not surprising that one of the more popular wine and spirits shops in town is owned by artists who appreciate everything that makes living in Tulsa so wonderful.

Riley’s Wine & Spirits is owned by the husband-and-wife team of Chris and Diane Riley. Chris is also a musician who has written in every style and genre of music. (You get a hint of that in the shop’s logo, which features a guitar.) Diane is a painter and mixed media artist. They’re involved in local events like Tulsa Little Jam and MisFEST.

You’ve likely seen them around town somewhere. Both have a passion for providing Tulsans with great wine and spirits, as well as making a difference in the local community. Their wine and spirits shops blend that love for art and local sensibilities for a shopping experience customers can’t help but love.

The Riley’s Event Center, located next to The Boxyard store, is appropriate for birthday parties, engagements, charity fundraisers, and corporate events. It fits 20-40 people comfortably, with an outdoor patio area as well. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)
The Riley’s Event Center, located next to The Boxyard store, is appropriate for birthday parties, engagements, charity fundraisers, and corporate events. It fits 20-40 people comfortably, with an outdoor patio area as well. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)

“I love the culture, I love the passion that goes into wineries and even a bottle of bourbon,” says Diane. “There’s an art behind creating a bottle of spirits or wine. It goes hand in hand with my artwork. Art, music, and tastings go well together.”

Riley’s Wine & Spirits started in south Tulsa, taking ownership a few years ago of what was then Warren’s, a fixture in that part of town. Last year, they expanded to a second location downtown at The Boxyard, a hip shopping center made from repurposed ocean shipping containers. Each Riley’s location has its vibe, but both offer something the Rileys care about — quality products and excellent service. Because, as they say, it’s all about the customers.

“We’ve got great clients,” says Diane.

“Both stores have different stock and clientele,” Chris says. Each location caters to the tastes of those who frequent them. “At our south store, the wines are very selective. There’s a suburban feel. Downtown is more selective of what they want, more artsy and diverse.”

At Riley's you can expect to find plenty of old favorites, of course, as well as a robust variety of the latest craft releases, hard-to-find brews, and seasonal flavors. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)
At Riley's you can expect to find plenty of old favorites, of course, as well as a robust variety of the latest craft releases, hard-to-find brews, and seasonal flavors. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)

At Riley’s, it is decidedly fun to browse the shelves and choose what you want to take home to enjoy with a meal or splash into a specialty drink. You can expect to find plenty of old favorites, of course, as well as a robust variety of the latest craft releases, hard-to-find brews, and seasonal flavors. They carry several types of Irish whiskeys, which are a popular item.

If it’s a locally made spirit you’re looking for, Riley’s is a great place to shop. “We try to carry everything local,” says Chris. That includes local spirits and beers from all the crafters in the area— “COOP Ale Works, Marshall, Cabin Boys, Prairie, so many different companies,” he says.

The love for local makers includes wines and spirits as well as beer. “I love Indian Grass; that’s a local vodka made by Oklahoma Distilling Co.,” says Diane. “I also like Downward Dog, a boxed wine that is locally made. We love to carry local products.” The Rileys say they are always expanding and growing their local selections, and looking for ways to get more involved with all the distilleries in the area.

They also offer a carefully curated variety of wines, mainly choices not carried in grocery stores. If you’ve enjoyed a particular wine at a restaurant in the area, be sure to stop in at Riley’s and ask about it. Many of those wines, they’ll carry on their shelves. And if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, ask. The Rileys are happy to make suggestions based on what you like, and they’ll walk you through some questions to help arrive at the right wine or spirit for your tastes.

“I have everything you’ll want for parties,” says Chris. They even carry ice and snacks that are easy to grab and take with you like soda, Red Bull, and other items.

Don’t neglect the shindigs that Riley’s hosts at their store. “We do tastings all the time at The Boxyard,” says Chris. “We try to have them seasonally and during the holidays.”

Their hosted events are lively and feature plenty of local flair. “We like to bring in live music to pair with tastings,” Diane says. To sign up for tastings and private events, stop by either store location, and ask to be on the email list.

You can expect to see Riley’s having a presence at many local events, parties, and fundraisers — such as the St. John’s Street Party, Guthrie Green’s annual Irish Festival, The Tasting at Woodward Park (formerly Wine and Roses). “We do a huge event with Animal Aid, a group that deals with highly abused animals,” says Diane. “I feel I have a purpose in life to help our community.”

And if you’re looking for a space to host your party, consider using Riley’s Event Center, located right next to The Boxyard store. The space, which is private and separate from the liquor store, is appropriate for birthday parties, engagements, charity fundraisers, and corporate events. It fits 20-40 people comfortably, with an outdoor patio area as well.

“I am so proud of our Riley’s Event Center,” says Diane. “I enjoy helping the community, and the event center has given us the platform to do it.”

LOCATOR
Riley’s Wine & Spirits
rileyswine.com

The Boxyard | 502 E. 3rd St., Units 14-15 | Tulsa
918-900-2241
Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

8058 S. Yale Ave. | Tulsa
918-960-3008
Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: Closed