Hundreds of wine lovers poured into downtown Redmond’s World of Wines for a grand opening weekend Nov. 21-23.
Owners Kathy Brunker and Allen Bechtel think the shop’s most tempting feature is its Enomatic wine serving system. The pressurized dispenser keeps 12 bottles “on tap” and fresh for weeks after opening, neatly pouring samples in three different sizes — half-ounce, one-ounce or two-ounce.
The advantage is that customers can sample several different varietals or brands of wine, using a $10 “taste eight” punch card that then can be redeemed toward purchase of their favorite bottle.
“People like to taste and compare before they purchase,” said Brunker. That’s not something you can do at a supermarket.
Tastings are available whenever the shop is open, Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. or Sunday from noon-5 p.m. (The shop is closed on Monday.)
“A guy from the Marriott walked in and wanted a Syrah to take back to his room. We had two on tap, he liked the first one and was very happy,” said Brunker.
Other visitors at the grand opening “said over and over how easy our location was, on Cleveland, and how they appreciated the good parking,” Bechtel added. Their busiest times are Friday evening through Sunday, precisely when the adjacent doctors’ offices aren’t open.
They also have a “Now Tasting” neon sign which beckons passers-by. “One customer came in and said, ‘I saw you while I was sitting in traffic, on the bus,’” Brunker mentioned.
World of Wines mostly offers bottles in the high $20s-$40 price range, although they do have some for $10 and some highly allocated bottles which cost hundreds. Brunker and Bechtel offer discounts and special club deals such as “wine of the month” or a new shipment every two or three months.
“This can can be a gift for yourself or others — and we are licensed for shipping,” said Bechtel.
They’re also planning a “pre-funk” club, maybe charging a small amount for wines by the glass on weeknights, as a way to unwind and become more educated about wines. Business networking events, promoting downtown partnerships, are also under consideration.
With the holiday season underway, Brunker and Bechtel anticipate selling many cases of wines under $20 per bottle. Champagne is always popular for special occasions, but Brunker is hoping to make it more accessible by introducing customers to “Grower Champagnes.” These come directly from farmers and taste as good as the name-brand Champagnes for one-third to one-half of the expected price.
A Grower Champagne Tasting event is scheduled at World of Wines from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13.
Other products at World of Wines include wine glasses and charms, bottle openers, wine totes and cheese and crackers.
“We have a knowledgeable staff, we like to talk about food and wine pairings and eventually would like to provide a recipe to go with every bottle,” said Brunker.
World of Wines is located at 16701 Cleveland St., Suite A. For information, call (425) 869-WINE or visit www.worldofwinesonline.com.