UK retailer John Lewis launches wine tastings in new ‘experiential’ concept store

UK department shop chain John Lewis is trialling an ‘experience’ store in Southampton that will give customers access to advice from experts, including a bookable two-hour wine master class.

The new  “consumer-centric” department store, which opened this week, is offering the bookable two-hour wine master class in its ‘dedicated Discovery Room’, for £30, which will walk through six ‘star wines’ in the autumn/winter range, along with a complimentary bottle and the chance to talk home leftover drinks.

John Lewis’s customer experience director, Peter Cross described the new concept shop as an example of how the retailers is “reinventing the department store” to make it stand out from the competition.

“Our goal is to offer customers unrivalled access to expertise and impartial advice in a way that is uplifting and inspiring,” he said.

The new store will include a brand new farm shop and roof garden from the Partnership’s Leckford Estate, as well as the first ever Waitrose Cookery School inside a John Lewis & Partners shop, offering cooking classes.

Other events on offer include beauty and fashion gift experiences, specialist gardening talks and home consultations about garden redesign, pop-up workshops ranging from barista  and photography courses to wreath-making and modern calligraphy.

It comes shortly after John Lewis and its sister grocery operation Waitrose & Partners announced a major reshuffle of the group, with one board across both businesses, bringing the two businesses closer together.

Last month Waitrose reshuffled its BWS team, appointing a new buying manager for wine and two new buyers, following the departure of three members of its team.

Waitrose launched at-home wine masterclasses back in January 2018 as a trial following the popularity of the tastings at the Waitrose Drinks Festival the previous year, and has since expanded this to include a Gin O’Clock experience and a new £400 two-hour whisky tasting.

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