Selfridges unveils biggest ever wine shop24th May, 2013 by Gabriel Savage - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
London luxury department store Selfridges has officially launched a new bar and relocated, redesigned wine shop with more space than ever before.
Having opened two weeks ago on the store’s lower ground floor, the new Wine Shop and Harry Gordon’s Bar now enjoy a third more space than the previous ground floor site. This has allowed wine & spirits buyer Dawn Davies to add “100 new lines, with another 100 to come.”
Speaking to the drinks business, Davies, a former sommelier who has run the Selfridges wine and spirits department for the last six years, explained the decision to relocate. “The Wonder Bar and wine shop never really worked in tandem as we wanted them to because of the split level,” she outlined. “We wanted somewhere you can relax but feel part of the store.”
What’s more, Davies added: “We’re very much a gift destination so being here with the candles and homeware we seem to have fitted in very nicely.”
With the wine shop design focused natural materials, especially wood, Davies drew parallels with the rest of Selfridges’ luxury offer. “We always try to do our displays to be creative,” she summed up. “We really want to engage customers and the visual side really draws you in. I loved the last wine shop, but it was always a little bit cold.”
With the shop’s price range reaching from “£7.99 up to £18,000”, Davies outlined her mission to please “the most eclectic customer base I have ever known.” As a result, while the selection covers off more traditional wine and spirit regions, Davies noted: “We do the quirky side of things really well here.”
In addition to wines from areas such as Turkey and Virginia, on the spirits side the last year has seen Davies work with whisky writer Dave Broom to develop a new “more esoteric” range. “Whisky has been massive for us,” she told db. “We’d added whiskies from Taiwan, extended our Japanese whiskies and India’s now come on board.”
Last year Davies even commissioned a bespoke Selfridges “The Entertainer” blend from Compass Box Whisky. Featuring the signature quirky packaging design of Stranger & Stranger, the £84.99 whisky combines a “historic recipe” with the more modern twist of being matured in new French oak casks.
The shop also features a range of baijiu, which have proved popular with Selfridges’ growing Chinese customer base. What’s more, Davies claimed: “We’re the first store that’s not Chinese focused to do it.”
This trailblazing ethos is an important focus for the Selfridges wine and spirit department, as Davies noted that the store was reportedly the first in the UK to stock Coca Cola. Since then, she recalled, “we have launched Hendricks and Coole Swan” among other UK firsts.
While a number of other London wine shops already feature Enomatic machines, which allow customers to buy samples, Davies suggested “we might be the first” to introduce these machines for spirits.
For both the wine and spirit Enomatic offers, she highlighted a mission to broaden customers’ horizons in an approachable way. “I wanted it to be an educational experience as well so there’s a smoky whisky, a peaty whisky and a light whisky; an oaked Chardonnay versus an unoaked one,” she explained.
As for Harry Gordon’s Bar, named after the store’s founder Harry Gordon Selfridge, the emphasis lies on English products. “All our gins bar one are London gins,” outlined Davies, adding: “We’re the only department store with draught craft beers.”
The cocktail list continues this English theme with creations such as 1909 Smash, which incorporates Sipsmith gin, peach, mint and the department store’s very own beer, Selfridges 1909 IPA.
Meanwhile the wine offer includes an English sparkling wine and rosé by the glass, although customers can also open any bottle from the shop here, albeit with an additional on-trade mark up.
Click through to the next few pages for a tour of the new wine shop and Harry Gordon’s Bar.