Tag Archives: Vinopolis

New Wine Shopping Experience at Vinopolis London

Ever since I heard that Majestic would be moving out from under the arches at Bank End, the warren of brick tunnels between Borough Market and the Thames, home to Vinopolis, I wondered what would be happening there.

It was quickly announced that Laithwaites, one of the key retailing brands of the MASSIVE Direct Wines, the king of direct mail wine suppliers in this country, including The Sunday Times Wine Club and countless others, was to take over the space. I wondered how they would be using the opportunity. They already had a number of shops as well as their direct mail business, but this was a big change for them.

I was not disappointed by the effort they have made to make this a pleasant and welcoming shopping experience. Check it out yourself:

Although the Majestic shop that had been there was a bit of an institution, its warehouse style presentation, that works well in its shops around the country, didn’t quite fit the end of the Vinopolis experience. Much as I enjoy shopping in Majestic stores as a wine lover, they can be rather daunting to some, and moving from the Vinopolis Tour to a roomful of thousands of wines was a bit like getting someone to watch a single episode of The F Word then expecting them to run the kitchens at one of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants.

The choice, presentation and decisions were rather overwhelming. Maybe even off-putting.

I hope Laithwaites apparent focus on the tasting table, and the space to explore around the displays, will be more welcoming for novice wine drinkers. I also hope they keep the range of wines available to taste as broad (and non-exclusive) as possible.

I didn’t have much time to look at the full range available. I did notice some well-known names from Australia, New Zealand, Spain and also a range of ‘Fine Wine’ (usually £20+ per bottle) but I wonder what regular consumers will make of the lack of the brands they are used to seeing in high street retailers for context?

In any case, let’s hope the site helps to welcome many more consumers to the enjoyment, variety and culture of wine.

The official opening is on February 19th (according to Tony Laithwaites blog) but you can already pop in today.

Disclaimer: in my professional role for wineries in Rioja, I am involved in supplying 1 wine to Laithwaites.

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Spot the wine blog – updated

How would you like to share a glass of wine with 700 potential new readers of your wine blog?

The Wine Gang have offered me the opportunity to showcase a small number of UK bloggers at their upcoming The Wine Gang Christmas Fair on November 7th, 2009 at Vinopolis. In exchange for spreading the word about their event (which I would have done gladly) and a little blog building expertise, I am being given the opportunity to bring 3-5 bloggers along to the show with me to taste the wines and showcase wine blogging to a community of wine lovers.

The Blog Spot

I have a small area in the show where we can set up our laptops with free wifi (for us, not the general public I’m afraid), power and the space to speak to wine lovers about our blogs, our views on wine and what they can learn about wine from bloggers. This is called the ‘Blog Spot

I believe that this is a great opportunity for bloggers and readers;

  • Bloggers can meet their potential target audience and find out about what interests them, what sites they read (if any), what motivates their wine buying and what wine lovers really think of wine blogging. These blogs will be exhibiting alongside some of the biggest names in UK wine retail as well as distributors, brands and generic bodies. It is an amazing opportunity to create a brand new audience for your blog content
  • Wine consumers can learn what motivates bloggers to go to the efforts of maintaining a blog, usually for no reward (except appearing at wine tastings) and what their particular passion is. It is an easy way to find some great new sources of wine information to complement their own wine buying research and maybe even new friends to share experiences with.

Want to come along and feature your blog?

1. Who is eligible?

If you are based in the UK and write a blog on any topic, but include wine regularly (but not necessarily exclusively) then you qualify. This offer is open to wine bloggers, food bloggers, travel bloggers and anyone else who likes to talk about and share their thoughts on wine.

2. What do you need to do?

Create a post on your own blog in the next 10 days (published before midnight, Tuesday 6th October, 2009) on the subject of “Buy Smarter and Drink Better Wines” (The Wine Gang strapline). Interpret this as you like! You can write in your own style, in the context of your own blog and for your audience, even produce a video or any other format content, but we want to hear what YOU think about how consumers can learn more about wine and improve their appreciation of better wines.

Most importantly, you need to link back to this post and to the new The Wine Gang Live blog so I know that you have written it (it wouldn’t hurt to leave me a comment or notify me on twitter as well, just in case).

All participating posts will be read, and The Wine Gang and I will select from these the ‘best’ entries. Unfortunately I can’t give strict criteria as I want to leave you free to interpret the brief as widely as possible, but we are looking for creativity, a good sense of how wine appreciation can be improved and of course for those ideas that can encourage more people to enjoy wine, responsibly!

I will also try to feature as many as possible of these posts on The Wine Gang Live blog at: http://thewineganglive.com

Those selected will be notified before October the 12th so you can make plans to be at the show, but please put Saturday November 7th, 2009 in your diaries now!

I hope you agree that this is a fun and exciting opportunity for wine bloggers and wine blogging, and I look forward to reading your posts.

UPDATE 06/10/2009: Today was the deadline for submissions, but I have been too busy to remind people about it. I already have a number of candidates, but I would like to spread the word a little further, so I am extending the deadline to the end of this week (ending on Sunday 11th October). Due consideration will be given to those who did get their posts up for the original deadline, of course!

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