“Come on over right now!” said the heavily accented, loud and cheerful voice of Craig Wedge, COO, FineWinesnMore when I called to ask about their newly opened fine wine and beer boutique, writes Suneeta Sodhi Kanga who travelled halfway across Mumbai at SI’s behest to explore Fine Wine & Beer Boutique and Tasting Room, a swanky new wine store.
Tucked two lanes behind the busy main road might be considered a deterrent to most for a wine retail store but as Craig explains, the number of foot falls they receive in a day from just the regular office goers of the well known Laxmi Industrial Estate in Andheri (west ) itself is amazing.
The retail outlet (pictured, left) is a charming place with wine trivia, accessories and handwritten notes scattered around the simple but tasteful interiors. The wine cartons placed on the wooden flooring act as storage as well as a wine display offering good discounts to the patrons. The store currently has 145 wine labels and refrigerator full of 28 of the most exotic beer brands.
Fifty per cent of these brands are the company’s own imports and the rest from other importers and distributors. Apart from wine and beer you can also purchase wine accessories and ancillary products like Riedel glassware and temperature controlled wine chillers for your home.
Said Craig, “As a company we consider it our responsibility to get the wines in right condition to the consumer from the time they leave the winery. It is very easy for things to go wrong at any point in the supply chain. So it was a conscious decision to bridge the gap and directly reach out to the consumer, hence the introduction of the retail store.”
Craig is also very passionate about the “try before you buy” concept as well as wine education and awareness in general. The addition of the Tasting Room adjoining the boutique was keeping in mind a calendar full of opportunities all year long. The beautiful wooden table in the centre of the room can accommodate 15 to 18 people comfortably.
An amalgamation of all the tasting rooms that Craig has visited around the world, the feel of this one (pictured, left) is that of a friendly wine cellar. One can almost visualize good times with fellow oenophiles, post-work yuppies and social elite and wine lovers having animated conversations over the sound of clinking glasses!
A LED display converts the room into a friendly wine class room for hosting hospitality students, corporate workshops for wine and cheese tastings and a ready to use place to facilitate their wine partners to showcase their wines and visiting industry icons. This until now was limited to upscale hotels and wine friendly restaurants only.
This article appears in Sommelier India Issue 4, Aug/Sept 2014