Monday, August 10, 2009

Rant: Demise of a Wine Store

There are plenty of liquor stores that also sell wine, often the most commercial and popular brands. Then there are boutique wine stores, places that are willing to experiment, to take risks, and stock lesser known and low production wines. The best of these boutique wine stores stock a diverse and compelling selection of excellent wines. They spend time seeking out unique and intriguing wines which will appeal to the wine lover.

It is those boutique wine stores that get most of my support. Thus it saddens me when it seems that a boutique wine store is dying. I want to rail out against the corporate forces that seem to care more about profits than passion. Please do not sully the beauty of a boutique wine store just in the pursuit of money.

Recently, the OurGlass Wine Co. in Saugus has "merged" with the Golden Goose Market, which is located in the North End. The Golden Goose Market has assumed management of the wine store and has begun instituting numerous changes.

The Golden Goose Market is a specialty grocery store, selling a wide variety of food items, including many gourmet foods. They also sell some wine. One positive change they have brought to OurGlass is the introduction of more gourmet food items, everything from prosciutto to EVOO. As wine and food are so natural together, it is great to be able to buy food where you get your wine.

But then comes the darker side. OurGlass now sells cigarettes and alcohol nips, which I feel are unnecessary in a boutique wine store. They may belong in a liquor store but I don't think the belong to the OurGlass I knew. Plus, it appears they may also be more resistant to stocking the more artisan and boutique wines, in favor of more commercial ones. Will OurGlass become a mere liquor store? I very much hope that is not the case but I am concerned.

An important test may be their next Grand Tasting, which is scheduled for Saturday, August 29, from 3-7pm. They are supposed to have over 100+ wines available for tasting. They will also have numerous food vendors too. I have been to many of their previous Grand Tastings so it will be very interesting to see whether this one is different or not.

OurGlass Wine Co.
124 Broadway (Rt.1 N)
Saugus, MA
Phone: 781-941-8068

Golden Goose Market
179 Commercial St, # 724 (North End)
Boston, MA
Phone: (617) 367-3198

I should also note that another boutique wine store, the Grapevine Travelers in Medford has been sold and should be under new ownership by the end of the summer. What changes will happen there? I will keep my eye on that as well and report back when I know more.

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