New Store Opens In Former Berbiglia Location
Billing itself as a “full service liquor emporium,” Plaza Liquor opened in the space that formerly housed a Berbiglia Wine and Spirits store in Kansas City, Missouri, in October. General manager Justin Hardy notes that the outlet has attracted former Berbiglia customers and newcomers alike. “Our customers seem pleased with what we’ve brought to the neighborhood,” he says. Plaza focuses on boutique wines, craft beers and upscale spirits. Its 800 wine SKUs start at $5.99 a 750-ml. bottle of Beringer White Zinfandel and go up to $549.99 for the 2012 Château Margaux. The selection includes such small-production labels as Liquid Farm, Red Car, Paul Hobbs and School House. Plaza also has a section for Missouri and Kansas wine brands, such as Amigoni, Les Bourgeois, Somerset Ridge and St. James. The store’s roughly 800 spirits SKUs range from McCormick vodka ($6.99 a 750-ml. bottle) to Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Cognac ($2,999.99). A number of high-end whiskies are available, including the Jim Beam Signature Craft Series, Lock Stock & Barrel rye whiskey and a variety of Japanese single malt whiskies. Drawing on Kansas City’s many nearby craft breweries, Plaza’s 740 beer SKUs include offerings from such local favorites as Boulevard Brewing Co., Defiance Brewing Co., Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. and Mother’s Brewing Co. Beer ranges from $0.99 a single 24-ounce can of Genesee to $19.99 a 375-ml. bottle of Mikkeller Spontan Double Blueberry sour ale. The store holds beer, wine and spirits tastings weekly and also offers a selection of gourmet foods, mixers, glassware and gift baskets. Hardy notes that Plaza will add a custom corporate gifting program for the holidays. “We intend to be a business that local patrons can count on,” he says.
Wine Merchant Opens Napa Valley Shop
Former Dean & DeLuca wine director Kerrin Laz opened her own retail shop and tasting room in Yountville, California, in October. K. Laz Wine Collection offers seated customized wine tastings by appointment ($35 to $165 a person), as well as 200-plus bottles for purchase. The selection highlights small producers and includes labels from all over the world, with a large number of wines hailing from California. Laz drew on connections she made at Dean & DeLuca to direct the store’s focus and obtain allocations of such cult labels as Screaming Eagle and Dana Estate. “Relationships, whether with vintners or customers, make the business,” she says. Offerings include the 2014 Herb Lamb Two Old Dogs Sauvignon Blanc ($27 a 750-ml. bottle), the 2012 QTR Cabernet Sauvignon ($129) and the 2012 Abreu Howell Mountain red blend ($500). K. Laz Wine Collection has a robust online retail component, with shipping available via third-party services. “The website is an extension of what we’re doing in Yountville,” Laz explains. “People who aren’t visiting us at the tasting room can still get the gist as if they were here.” The company also offers gift sets and a wine club. Laz plans to add drop-in tasting hours as well.
North Carolina Gains Wine Boutique
Chatham Street Wine Market, a bottle shop and tasting bar specializing in small-production and boutique wines from around the world, opened in Cary, North Carolina, in October. Owner Doug Gambardella has managed several independent wine stores in the past and aims to create a gathering place where people can learn about and try new wines. “We want to make wine a friendly, everyday experience for people,” he says. “We’re focusing on affordable wines you can take home and drink right away.” Chatham Street offers 90-plus SKUs, from the 2013 Buenas Tempranillo ($8 a 750-ml. bottle) to Lelarge-Pugeot Brut Tradition Champagne ($50), with most labels retailing for under $25. Directly competing with the one-stop shopping convenience of grocery stores, Gambardella notes that the tasting bar lets people have fun while trying wines before purchasing. Chatham Street offers six selections by the glass ($4 to $14), and free tastings occur weekly. Gambardella also plans to host food and wine pairings, pop-up dinners and other events, and he will eventually add a selection of craft ciders as well.