Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits just gets better with age.
The small Setauket business owned by Rich Mora and his wife Carolyn, has served liquors to local communities for more than two-and-a-half decades. The business’s online presence also allows it to serve communities at the national level.
Rich Mora purchased the property from previous owner Robert Eikov in 1989 hoping to pursue his love of wine. Eikov and his wife Blanche ran a butcher shop out of the store for several years before they turned it into a liquor store around 1965.
Eikov used to butcher and sell meat in the main part of the building where Rich Mora sells his wine.
Eikov and his wife built the store after they got married and lived in an apartment behind the store.
“I always had a good palate. I’m good at judging wine and picking good wine [so] I wanted to be in the business,” Rich Mora said. “I decided I wanted to work for myself.”
Rich Mora was a science teacher in the area before he bought the business. He said the wine business was blossoming around the time he acquired the business.
Carolyn Mora became involved with the business after the duo met in 1999. She said she loves being involved in the business not only because she loves wine and spirits but also because she like providing her clients with good quality liquors.
While the Moras have a variety of wines from all around the world, the pair can’t purchase a large quantity of liquors like bigger stores.
“We try to be very … selective of what we purchase for the store so that people know when they come in here, they’re going to get something different,” Carolyn Mora said.
For Port Jefferson resident Damen Reschke, the variety of wines and spirits is one of the store’s best attributes, saying that the Moras’ selection beats those found in bigger liquor stores on the island.
Every Saturday between 3 and 6 p.m., residents can sample various wines at the liquor store’s weekly wine tastings. The tastings are one of Rich Mora’s several programs or events residents can attend.
Setauket residents Louis and Loretta Gray have gone to Mora’s wine tastings for the past 10 years. They said they enjoy learning where and how various wines were created and other facts they pick up at the tastings.
“It’s very personable,” Loretta Gray said. “You get to know all the individuals who represent the companies, and we like to support our local businesses.”
Elaine Learnard and her wife Ann-Marie Scheidt have purchased Mora’s wine for several years. According to Learnard, the pair typically buys wine at the tasting “because we’re being exposed to something we both don’t know about.” She added that when it comes to wine recommendations, Mora never fails to suggest something good.
In 2009, Rich Mora went the extra mile when he helped Learnard and her wife when they got married. He arranged the wines and helped store the wines to keep them cold for the summer wedding.
“The leader sets the tone. He’s a very, very nice person; therefore all the people who work for him are very nice,” Learnard said.
Despite the store’s small size, residents can choose from the more than 900 facings of liquor on display. Residents can pick up three bottles of wine for $10.99 or empty their wallets for the Moras’ most expensive bottle of liquor, priced at $14,000.
While a bigger establishment would give the Moras more room to expand their business, they are content with their small business.
“I wouldn’t mind if we stay small physically and grew big on the Internet,” Carolyn Mora said. “ I would love to see the store be known as the best little wine store in the world.”