Total Wine Enters Missouri
Potomac, Maryland–based Total Wine & More opened its first store in Missouri in September. The chain’s 121st unit measures 25,000 square feet and is located in the St. Louis suburb of Town and Country. “It’s similar to our other stores in its outstanding selection, phenomenal store team and great prices,” says vice president of public affairs and community relations Edward Cooper. “Those three things are our hallmarks.” The store boasts 8,000 wine SKUs, 3,000 spirits SKUs and more than 2,500 beer SKUs in its Brewery District, which focuses on craft offerings. The location features the company’s proprietary wine-pairing application—available on iPads around the store—and flat-screen televisions that highlight information about beverage alcohol brands. An in-store classroom provides space for staff training, customer seminars and community group meetings. The classroom includes Wi-Fi and audio-visual equipment to enable Total Wine’s Virtual Tasting webcast events, which remotely link attendees in local stores with winemakers, brewers and distillers. “People in the classroom taste the product along with the producer, and they’re able to interact and ask questions,” Cooper explains. Total Wine is currently building two more St. Louis–area stores that are slated to open in Brentwood and Chesterfield before year-end.
Wine And Spirits Boutique Debuts In Brooklyn, New York
Retail veteran Michael Nagdimunov opened a wine and spirits boutique in Brooklyn, New York’s Williamsburg neighborhood in July. “There are new developments going up every day, and we wanted to cater to this expansion and educate people about wine,” he says. Grain & Vine offers a curated selection of 400-plus wine SKUs, from McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Chardonnay from Australia ($9 a 750-ml. bottle) to the 2012 Dominus from Napa Valley ($288). The store’s 150-plus spirits SKUs emphasize locally made products, such as Industry Standard vodka ($43 a 750-ml. bottle), Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry gin ($35) and Van Brunt Stillhouse rye whiskey ($41 a 375-ml. bottle)—all from Brooklyn. Grain & Vine offers delivery on demand throughout New York City via Postmates, a partnership that Nagdimunov says is critical to helping the small shop expand its reach. In addition to regular in-store sampling of wine and spirits, Grain & Vine plans to host in-depth seminars for a nominal fee. “When we offer tastings on these products, not only does it help with promotion, but it gets the customers excited about wine and spirits,” says manager Will Whelan. “You may never have 100-percent satisfaction with every bottle of wine that customers try, but I believe you can have 100-percent satisfaction with how you make people feel and the experience they have at your store.”
Specialty Bottle Shop Opens In Phoenix
Craig Dziadowicz and Danielle Middlebrook opened Hidden Track Bottle Shop in Phoenix, Arizona, over the summer. Tucked into the lobby of a Downtown high-rise, the boutique store features work by local artists on one wall and emphasizes specialty labels. “We offer unique wine and craft beer that you won’t find in big box outlets and grocery stores,” Middlebrook says. The store’s 320 wine SKUs start at $7.99 a 750-ml. bottle of Casal Garcia Vinho Verde and top out at $112.99 for the 2012 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon. Most wines fall into the $15-to-$25 range. Hidden Track features over 100 beer SKUs, with single bottles and cans starting at $1.49 and six-packs topping out at $14.99. Craft labels include offerings from Tempe, Arizona’s Four Peaks Brewing Co. and San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing Co. Hidden Track also sells specialty food items, such as Italian pasta, locally made sauces and Spanish chocolate, and creates custom gift baskets. The store hosts twice-weekly tastings and has a wine club for $25 a month for two premium bottles, which recently included the 2012 Head High Pinot Noir and 2012 Neyers Vineyards Chardonnay.