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Combining passions

Thursday, Apr. 10 | By Hannah Dellinger
Kim Pinello loves horses and wine. She decided to leave her accounting career behind to open up the Galloping Grape in Warrenton that specializes in those two things.
Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Horses and wine are two of Kim Pinello’s passions.

She decided to leave her accounting career behind to open up a store in Warrenton that specializes in two things that she enjoys most.
The Galloping Grape, across the street from the Warrenton Horse Show Grounds, has offered wine and reasonably priced horse tack for the past eight years.

“My two favorite things are horses and wine,” said Pinello. “Virginia is such a big horse and wine country that I thought it would be perfect.”

Pinello has been riding horses since she was a child. She is a western trail rider at heart.

“I thought that the town needed something that focused on the western riders as well as the English,” said Pinello.

Western is an entirely different discipline than English and requires different tack. The western saddle is larger and has a horn for roping cattle and the bridles don't have nose bands.

While there are other tack stores in and near Fauquier County, there aren’t many that carry western tack. The only other tack shop in Warrenton is Horse Country Saddlery, which favors a completely different group of horse enthusiasts.

“Horse Country tends to cater to the fox hunters,” said Pinello. “They also have a great selection of the high-end home decors. We’re more for the affordable everyday rider like trail riders and local show riders.”

Another thing that sets the Grape apart from the competition is its used tack consignment program.

“I think that the greatest gift that the store offers is our consignments,” said Pinello. “People bring in their saddles and we’ll refurbish them, condition them, get them looking spanking new again and then offer them at a really good price. I’m the only consignment shop in Fauquier, aside from Middleburg Tack Exchange.”

For a 25 percent fee, every saddle that the Galloping Grape puts on consignment is listed on the store’s website and Facebook page, and on websites such as: virginiaequestrian.com, marylandequestrian.com, westvirginiaequestrian.com and horseclicks.com.
“We put it everywhere,” said Pinello. “It doesn’t just sit here and get dusty.”

In addition to horse supplies, the Grape has more than 800 varieties of wine from around the world and local wineries, craft beers, cigars and locally produced art. Pinello said that offering a variety of merchandise has helped to keep her business steady over the years.

“Having wine has been a great addition to the business,” she said. “When this side is slow, that side tends to take over for it and vice versa. The downturn in the economy hasn’t affected us at all. We’ve stayed pretty steady, if not had a steady growth over the last eight years.”

Bob Hummer has shopped at the Galloping Grape for seven years. He said that he enjoys stopping by for the excellent wine selection at reasonable prices.

“Kim knows the type of wines I like and she is constantly making recommendations on wines to try,” said Hummer. “I like the fact she has combined her passion for wine and horses and has developed something that caters to both.”

Mark Womble has been a customer for two years and enjoys each visit.

“Shopping at the Galloping Grape is always a fun and pleasant experience,” “If Kim doesn't have what your looking for, she'll either get it for you or tell you where you can get it.”

For more information on the Galloping Grape, visit http://www.gallopinggrape.com

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