Mon., 2/26, Little Rock, AR
No review of wine today but I do want to discuss wine store trends and hopefully get some feedback on likes and dislikes. As you may, or many not know, I'm on a 5-year quest to open a very unique wine store in Little Rock, Arkansas and I want to incorporate some of the ideas I've seen and read about. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted various wine store trends. Some I like and some I don't think I will try to adopt. Before I go into that I would like to recommend Saint Brendan's Irish Cream Liqueur. I've got a little tasting glass that holds about 2 ounces that I filled last night as a nightcap. I've had this, as well as Bailey's, in the past and have to say St. Brendan's is my favorite, and it is considerably cheaper than Bailey's. A great Irish Cream/Coffee drink recipe follows at the end of this post. I found it at a restaurant in Geneva, Illinois, 302 West (no longer in business), and the bartender surprisingly gave me the recipe.
Wine Store Trends I'm thinking about adopting
1. Tasting notes- My own tasting notes displayed with every bottle and a copy of said note included with every purchased bottle. Also computers placed throughout the store where customers can scan a bottle and the screen displays all sorts of info about the wine as well as tasting notes and food pairings.
2. Purchase History - Have my store's check out register record every wine purchased by customers name/store card so that a well received wine can be remembered if the customer forgets but wants to repurchase a wine.
3. Handpicked wines - A section of the store devoted to wines from small producers that are unique and not readily available. I intend on getting a wholesalers license in addition to a retail license so that I can source wine not represented in Arkansas. Believe me, there are many that aren't!
4. Weekly tastings - Probably Friday-Sat. afternoons, using real stemware and in a dedicated part of the store where comfortable chairs and coffee tables are arranged. I'll also try to have reps from the vineyards at tastings as often as possible.
5. Wine Dinners - Dinners at partner restaurants where a variety of wines/food pairings can be tried. On-the-spot ordering from attendees who want to purchase featured wines with home delivery included.
6. In-Home Tastings - I would schedule in-home tastings with a minimum 4 or 5 couples or 10 singles highlighting different wines. I would likely partner with a catering firm to offer appetizers to accompany each wine. After the nights presentation I would take and fill orders from the attendees with extra wine brought specifically for the event.
That's some of the things I'm looking at doing. Comments, suggestions would be most appreciated. The recipe I promised follows. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!
302 West Coffee Drink
Lime Juice
Grand Marnier
Saint Brendan's Irish Cream
Whipped Cream
- Pour lime juice onto a saucer. Mix equal parts cinnamon and sugar and also place onto a saucer. Taking a red wine shaped stemware, dip edges into lime juice then into the cinnamon sugar mix. Add 1 shot of Grand Marnier. Light with a long match and swirl in the glass to caramelize sugar. Be sure to carefully extinguish the flame. Add 1 1/2 shots of Irish Cream then fill to top with coffee. Top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

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