Durham Wine Shop's Opening Drags Wine Industry Into 21st Century
Owners to focus on women shoppers, small estates, and new technologies to create a whole new wine shopping experiences
DURHAM, N.C. (www.GrapeVineTrail.com) -- After working in the wholesale and retail wine business for thirty-six years combined, Craig Heffley and Seth Gross saw the need for a new type of wine store. Their vision is now a reality with the opening of Wine Authorities at 2501 University Drive in Durham. The store focuses on showcasing small estate wines, wine education, and bringing new technologies into the shopping process.
“Women shoppers have been largely ignored by most wine retailers and they are the ones who are buying three out of four bottles of wine in this country,” says Heffley, formerly of the Fowler’s Gourmet Wine Department. “With Wine Authorities, our goal is to create a female-friendly environment without dissociating any male customers.” The atmosphere is comfortable with couches and abar, a children’s play area, and mobile wine displays to accommodate a full-sized wine education facility for their frequent evening wine education classes.
The store will carry approximately 500 different selections of wine with color-coded signs correlating to price. “Daily wines” (color coded green) are delicious and inexpensive, “weekly wines” (coded yellow) are slightly pricier and more distinctive, while “monthly wines” (in burgundy) are their more expensive bottles that still represent great value for their quality. “We find that many of our best value wines are ignored by most stores because they have no marketing and do not force their wines onto the shelves like many corporate brands. They let the wine’s quality speak for them.”
“Unfortunately, small wine producing estates have recently been lost in the big corporate shuffle,” says Gross, formerly of Il Palio and Wellspring/Whole Foods in Chapel Hill. “Wine Authorities will stock these smaller, estate grown and family-owned wines, often produced sustainably or organically.”
Wine Authorities is also committed to new technologies. Customers can track their personal purchases online via a sophisticated POS system, allowing customers to view labels and descriptions of all of the wines they have purchased then rate them, helping the store suggest other wines they might like based on these preferences. Those preferences are stored at the Wine Authorities website (www.wineauthorities.com) along with Heffley and Gross’ picks for wines available each week at the store. The website is scheduled for launch October 1st.
Wine Authorities will also feature the first Enomatic wine Serving System in the Triangle. The sleek Italian-made Enomatic dispenses wine, allowing customers to taste a wide variety of wines at various price points, all stored and preserved without deterioration. “Often consumers want to learn about and taste wines at their own pace,” explains Heffley. “At Wine Authorities, our customers can purchase pours of various sizes during all business hours to taste these wines before they purchase the bottle or case. The most important thing is to make wine fun for everyone, not bourgeois as it was in the 20th century.”
Wine Authorities is located at 2501 University Drive, between the Thai Cafe and Little Gym across the street from Nana's Restaurant and The Original Q Shack. The store will celebrate its Grand Opening, with a series of special September sales and events:
Wednesday 26th – 20% off All “Monthly Wine”(wines $20 to $49.99)
Thursday 27th – 20% off All “Weekly Wine” (wines $12 to $19.99)
Friday 28th – 20% off All “Daily Wine” (wines $11.99 and under)
Saturday 29th – Free tastings all day of wines from around the world, Artisanal Cheeses, Giacomo's Salumi from Greensboro, and Counter Culture Coffee from Durham