New Orleans Stalwart Reopens Flagship Unit
Louisiana retailer Martin Wine Cellar unveiled its flagship Baronne Street store in the Uptown section of New Orleans in December, more than nine years after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the original location, which debuted in 1946. At 14,000 square feet and with ample parking, the store overtakes Martin’s Metairie, Louisiana, location as the chain’s largest unit and features a 140-seat bistro, offering lunch and dinner daily and brunch on Sundays. “It’s a destination,” owner Cedric Martin says. “You’re not coming in just to buy wine. You’re coming in to eat and socialize.” The store’s retail side offers 1,187 wine SKUs, starting at $5.99 a 750-ml. bottle of 2013 Canyon Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon and going up to $575, with offerings like the 2011 Domaine Newman Bonnes-Mares priced at $142. The 800 spirits SKUs range from Grays Peak vodka ($10.99 a 750-ml. bottle) and Fortaleza Reposado Tequila ($53) to Martin Wine Cellar exclusives like a single barrel Angel’s Envy Bourbon ($43.99). The store’s 192 beer SKUs range from $0.85 a 12-ounce bottle of Miller High Life to $24.99 a 750-ml. bottle of Dansk Mjød Viking Blod mead from Denmark. Customers can also shop for gourmet food items, glassware and gifts, and the store offers catering and take-out, as well as a space for hosting parties and gatherings. Tastings occur regularly and classes are planned. Martin Wine Cellar’s Magazine Street location closed after the new unit opened, and its employees—many of whom worked at the original New Orleans space—now work at the Baronne Street store. Martin notes that the neighborhood is finally getting back to normal after the 2005 hurricane. “People missed the original store because it was a gathering place,” he says. “It’s good to be back where we started. It’s home.”
Wally’s Debuts Vinoteca In Los Angeles
Los Angeles–based Wally’s Wine & Spirits opened a new concept in December. Wally’s Beverly Hills—also known as Wally’s Vinoteca—is a retail store with a full bar and restaurant. The shop has 3,500 wine SKUs at all price points, from $12 a 750-ml. bottle of 2013 Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite Los Vascos Chardonnay to $28,000 for the 1947 Château Cheval Blanc. The store’s 500 spirits SKUs range from Blue Ice vodka ($18 a 750-ml. bottle) to Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Rare Cask 42.6-percent alcohol-by-volume Cognac ($30,000), and its 100 beer SKUs include Heineken lager ($1.59 a 12-ounce bottle) and Cascade Brewing Co.’s Figaro sour ale ($40 a 750-ml. bottle). At the vinoteca, guests can sit down for a full meal or cheese and charcuterie options. The wine list features 150 offerings by the glass, from Valdo Prosecco Brut ($10) to the 2008 Harlan Estate ($400), and guests can also purchase any of the store’s bottles to enjoy with their meal for a $40 corkage fee. “Our goal is to inspire people to go up a little bit in price and get real value,” Wally’s co-owner Christian Navarro says. “If we offer a $300 bottle of wine, it’s really $300, not $100.” He explains that the concept fills a gap in the food-and-wine sector, and Wally’s plans to actively pursue expansion. “It’s a vision of where we think the market is headed and what we think is going to be successful,” Navarro notes. “There’s a place in the world right now for a high-quality food and wine brand.”
D.C. Cousins Unveil Upscale Retail Shop
Gallagher & Graham—named for cousins and co-owners Tucker Gallagher and John Graham—opened in December in Washington, D.C., and seeks to offer neighborhood residents a more upscale retail outlet. “There’s a consumer out there that hasn’t typically been served,” Gallagher says. “They want great tasting wine, craft beer and micro-distilled spirits at a reasonable price.” The shop’s 100 craft beer SKUs include local favorites, such as Port City Brewing Co., and nationally distributed brands like Lagunitas ($9 to $15 a six-pack of bottles), as well as a large cider selection, with such local artisanal brands as Distillery Lane Ciderworks ($12 to $17 a 750-ml. bottle). The store has 200 spirits SKUs, including D.C.’s own Green Hat gin ($33.75 a 750-ml. bottle), while 400 wine SKUs start at $8 a 750-ml. bottle of Goats Do Roam Viognier and top out at $61.99 for Cade Cabernet Sauvignon. Mixers and some food items are also available. The shop will host twice-weekly tastings, and eventually the owners hope to expand with additional storefronts. “Given the response around here, we’d love to do more,” Gallagher says.