Walking down Provincetown’s bustling Commercial Street is entertainment in and of itself. On any given day in the Cape Cod beach town’s busy summer season, you’re apt to see kids with dripping ice cream cones, gay and lesbian couples holding hands, and maybe even a drag queen posing for pictures and inviting you to purchase tickets to their show. Walking toward the town’s West End, the street’s ample collection of bars, restaurants, clothing stores, and art galleries thin out and transition into a quieter section of picturesque beach homes of the New England variety. It’s here that you’ll find the adorable storefront of Perry’s Fine Wine and Liquors.
Stepping into the small shop, you’ll find a curated selection of global wines intended for everything from casual sipping on the porch to a high-end bottle to bring to a friend’s fancy dinner party. Each of the wines has been carefully selected by owners (and husbands) Charlie Greener and Billy Marshall, who took over the shop in January of 2019. “Choosing the wines is the fun part of the job,” says co-owner Charlie, noting that they strive to have a story for every bottle to share with customers, often informed by their own wine travels.
As Charlie tells it, planning the store’s inventory comes down to knowing the right percentage of reds, whites, and roses, and then having a range of varietals and price points within each. “It’s like playing Tetris to fill the gaps,” said Charlie, who explained how a shortage of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc this year made things tricky as they put together their selection of whites.
Provincetown is also somewhat unique for a vacation town as its clientele changes rather significantly from week to week based on the LGBTQ+ community’s theme week. According to the owners, demand for clear spirits, rose, and crisp dry whites tends to spike during July 4th week; while during Bear Week full-bodied reds and gin sales surge.
Owners Charlie and Billy first came to Provincetown by happenstance. While participating in an around-the-world yacht race, someone suggested that the pair take the ferry to Provincetown during a stopover in Boston. That first trip in 2005 eventually led the couple to buy a condo, and then become customers of Perry’s, befriending the wine shop’s previous owners.
When the opportunity to purchase Perry’s presented itself, the couple took the plunge. “When interesting doors open, we’ve always erred on the side of walking through them,” said Charlie. After several years of working at larger corporations in the U.S. and abroad, running Perry’s presented the couple with exactly the type of personal and professional adventure they were looking to take on together.
The couple spent their first year building on Perry’s already healthy business, concentrating on the shop’s digital presence, e-commerce operations, and offering of hard-to-get products. Then, the pandemic hit. Like all small business owners, Charlie and Billy were unsure what the impact would be and had to be nimble about how to continue serving their customers. “We built an adult candy store,” explained Charlie, describing how they opened a counter at the shop’s front door where people could walk up and order wine or pick-up their online orders. This creative solution, along with deliveries fueled by the shop’s loyal customers and “COVID refugees” who decamped to the town to work remotely, sustained the business.
This summer, operations are mostly back to normal with customers and staff wearing masks indoors. And as we can attest, for anyone looking to discover a new wine (for us it was a crisp white Assyrtiko from Santorini), Perry’s is a must-visit Provincetown destination.
Perry’s is open every day from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., with reduced hours during the winter.