As I mentioned previously, three stores in Melrose recently acquired wine/beer licenses. One of the stores, Sweet Thoughts, is already selling wine. The other two stores have yet to open but I eager await their debut.
One of those forthcoming stores will be Beacon Hill Wine & Gourmet, which is owned by Gene and Rebecca Beraldi, the owners of Beacon Hill Wine and Spirits in Boston. Beacon Hill Wine and Gourmet will be situated at the corner of Main and Essex Streets. Rebecca generously provided me with some details of the new store, and it certainly sounds like it will be a wine and food lover's destination.
Their wine inventory will be similar to what they carry in Boston, a diverse selection from Yellow Tail to boutique wines, and even fine and rare collectibles. The owners taste all of the wines in their stock, only choosing those which they find acceptable. Rebecca stated: "Fine wine doesn't have to be expensive - it just has to be good; and that's really the angle we take when we're looking to bring in less expensive to mid range products - as well as lesser known vineyards and varietals." Beside the wine, they will stock a full selection of beers too. As their cooler will be larger than the Boston store, they will be able to carry a larger, more diverse collection of beers.
In addition, as the Melrose store will be larger, they will be able to carry a larger selection of cheese and gourmet foods. They will have artisan cheeses, cut to order, as well as retail packaged cheese, generally seeking to offer selections unavailable at local supermarkets. They will also stock: sausages/meats, dips, spreads, grill sauces, antipasti, oils/vinegars, nuts, candies and other specialty items. They will carry appetizers, a small selection of retail ready products, but after the holidays they will expand their selection to include items under their own brand. You will also find some wine glasses, linens and aprons and maybe eventually cookware and cooking accessories.
After the first of the year, they will offer an in-store wine education series. They will also hold wine tastings at least once a week, if not more frequently. They will even offer delivery service. Rebecca stated that the most important part of their store will be "customer service and consumer experience." They want to build relationships with their customers, having them return again and again.
The new store hopefully will open in about three weeks, barring any bureaucratic delays. So it could be open sometime in the beginning of October. Everything sounds very promising and I will definitely visit the new store soon after it opens and report back to my readers what I think.