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The Spirited Gourmet
The Spirited Gourmet is a specialty shop focused on wines and specialty foods, that also offers craft beer and spirits, along with other retail items. We pride ourselves on our exceptional products and customer service that’s second to none. You’ll find a wide selection of specialty foods, including a full-service deli with sandwiches that are simply amazing. Our lineup of imported and domestic meats and cheeses, along with a vast array of pantry items, as well as prepared foods, produce and other grocery items makes for one-stop shopping.

When it comes to wine, our philosophy is very different than most wine shops. Rather than offering name brand wines from the big conglomerates, that lack quality and are overpriced for what they are, our selection consists of carefully curated wines from small producers from all over the world. You likely haven’t heard of these wineries but, without excessive markups to cover overhead, these farmers/winemakers produce wines that are extremely well-made and reasonably priced. All this leads to a selection that drinks so much better than what you’ll pay.

If you’re into having fun, and enjoying some of the finer things in life, you’ll find shopping at The Spirited Gourmet an experience you won’t soon forget.
Chris Benoit
Chris spent the first half of his career in high tech working for start-ups and venture-backed businesses. After helping found and sell a networking company in the late 1990’s, and with the tech bubble beginning to burst, he decided to leave tech and pursue other business interests. Having worked for European companies, and having friends whose parents had come from Europe, particularly Italy, he was always enthralled by the lifestyle. Slowing things down, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying good food and wine was something he found extremely appealing. What better business to start than one that helps people enjoy life each day!

The original The Spirited Gourmet opened in 2004. Chris and his ex-wife, Elena, opened it together after spearheading an effort to bring in additional alcohol licenses to Winchester which, at that time, had just one. The Belmont store opened in 2007, becoming the first business to have a liquor license in this previously dry town. The store has successfully brought a little bit of Europe to the area with a fantastic selection, superb customer service and a relaxed atmosphere that makes shopping here a pleasure.
Elena started out as a software engineer, then went in tech sales allowing her to travel the country visiting accounts. She saw a different type of "liquor store", one that combined food, primarily cheese, spreads, charcuterie, and bread, along with wine and other alcoholic beverages. It felt more like her Italian heritage than this area’s typical "packies". The idea of opening a shop like this was very appealing, especially with travelling taking its toll while raising two young daughters. Several years after opening the Winchester location, Elena petitioned her hometown of Belmont - a dry town at the time - to create licenses.

Although she has returned to work in technology, she remains a silent partner and regularly checks in on the store.
Elena Leahy
Laura Maloney
Store Manager, Specialty Foods Buyer
Growing up in Vermont, Laura developed her passion for sustainable food systems and incredible cheese. Some of her fondest early memories are of digging for new potatoes with her father in their large backyard garden, picking raspberries for homemade pies, and cooking dinners from fresh picked produce, starting at just 5 years old. She took her life-long passion for food to Whole Foods Markets where she wore lots of hats for many years; as the local product forager, in-store educator, and then specialty food and wine manager. Laura left Whole Foods and pivoted to technology sales. While lucrative, it brought her zero joy. She yearned for a non-corporate food and wine business that would let her creativity run wild, and she found that at The Spirited Gourmet in 2013.

Laura revamped the food program and started a deli that has been hugely successful. She curates the food for the store, manages the team, as well as marketing and organizing events. She loves the Belmont community, the ability to hone her wine and food skills, and the fun environment she’s helped create. When she's not at work you can find her throwing gourmet dinner parties for her friends and family, having dance parties with her husband and 3 year old, and going on biking adventures. Her philosophy is that life is meant to be enjoyed and it's her greatest pleasure to help you discover the very best in food and wine.
John’s interest in wine began when he helped his next-door neighbor make a batch of wine in his garage as a part of a project for his 10th grade biology class. While it was some years before he could legally consume wine, John’s interest in all things gastronomic had been piqued and the desire to learn everything he could about food led him to work in culinary in both back and front-of-house positions. A chance encounter with a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino while working at an intimate, family run Italian ristorante cemented a desire to learn as much as possible about wine. From there, John went on to become beverage director at several Boston area restaurants before going to work for an importer where he helped to source fine wines for the Massachusetts market.

Now John spends his time sharing his passion for wine with the clientele at The Spirited Gourmet, where his love of the intersectionality of wine, food, and culture shines like a beam of golden light straight from the heavens above.

John Mooradian
Wine Director