On Wednesday March 2nd in the Food section of the New York Times, Eric Asimov tells us how important it is for us to cultivate a close relationship with a good wine shop in an article entitled How to Pick a Wine Store. Using his criteria we will grade ourselves.
1. Sunlight and Temperature - We've now been in our current location for just six months so we haven't experienced the summer heat yet. We understand the situation though and set the store thermostat at 67 degrees and set the layout to keep the wines away from the front glass. We installed curtains and shades to further reduce the harm of heat and light and while it's still not where we want it to be, we look forward to the challenge of summer in Georgia. Grade A
2. Inventory - Asimov makes a few contradictory statements about wine shop inventory - "Good wine shops offer a great assortment of distinctive bottles" and, comparing it to restaurant wine lists, "...a smaller more focused selection will be less intimidating." He also says good values in the $15-$25 range are desirable and that mass-market wine selections represent the "junk-food aisles of wine". I like that and I think we're okay here. Grade A
3. Service - Asimov says, "Hospitality is more than a warm greeting. Sales people should be able to anticipate questions from customers, gauge their desires, ask in-depth questions, and recommend conscientiously." With thirty'five years in the business and having been trained by the legendary Jim Sanders, "the father of the fine wine business in Atlanta", we know what we're talking about and yet daily we are confronted by the misinformation propagated by the California wine industry. Not having the most out-going personality and not wanting to offend, we still try our best to serve our customer community. Grade B
4. Direction - By this we mean directional signage in the store: shelf talkers, categories, maps, other literature. Asimov says wine sales people need to be aware of "the insecurity that comes with shopping for wine". This is an area that needs work here. Grade C
5. Point of view - In researching his subject Asimov went to several stores finding something unique or quirky in each. Having the best cheeses for fifty miles around with a fifty year old jazz soundtrack in the background, makes me think we fit right in! Grade A
If we tally up all five criteria, we average a solid B and that's not good enough! We're going to improve the signage and service or our name isn't Vine & Cheese!
Thanks for reading and stop in and give us some feedback!