Saturday, July 26, 2008


So I was working at the store late last night, and I was seeing a lot of regular customers I haven’t seen in awhile (the boss has kept me locked away in the office a lot more these days), and at more than one moment, I was asked the question, “what’s new?”

A huge part of me has longed to hear those words from our customers. Gone seem the days where the customers would come in looking for the old standards – Cakebread, Rombauer, Opus One, Silver Oak. Don’t get me wrong, those are still fine wines all, but as a retailer, with a barrage of new wines every week, you hope that folks getting tired of eating “mac-n-cheese” and move on to other tastes.

So back to the question. “What’s new?” they asked.

My God, I thought to myself. Here I am up to my Adam’s apple in new Bordeaux, and for the life of me, I was drawing blanks. On average, we rotate in maybe 20 new wines a week. Obviously the slow movers tend to be “liberated” off the shelves like some cold war spy, to make room for all of these things. I try to keep the customers and staff abreast of the changes – a weekly newsletter called “The Buzz” as well as the face-to-face orientation when time permits. But sometimes, the hyperbole of this business overwhelms even me.

Why do I do it? I love it! That’s why I do it. I love that this business is in a constant state of flux, and that new wines come in like johns at a Social Club dance. “Life is change”, an old Psychology professor used to say to me, “and stagnation is Death.” In this fiercely competitive market, you’ve got to go for any and all angles you can. Our selection has become a huge marketing point to new customers. And part of that selection is the new stuff, which arrive seemingly every minute of every business day.

It keeps the juices flowing, if you will excuse the expression. It makes me think of the old movie “The Wild One,” where while all the young hellions in the town are rioting and tearing things up, someone asks Marlon Brando’s character, “what are you rebelling against?” To which he replied, “what d’ya got?”

We’ve got a lot, I would say to that. And I’d follow with it’s all GOOD.


Mike Drapkin said...


Great post and i really enjoy the blog. My friend Roy Cloud reccomened i check it out. He said you are doing some great things in Kentucky.

I feel your passion for change. For the last four years almost i have been working in wine retail and i love many of the same things you mention. One of my favorite questions from a customer is the same, "What's new?" or " What wine(s) are you excited about". After that i feel like a painter who has been handed an empty canvas overlooking the rockies.The possibilities are endless.I am new to this blogging world. Check out my site when you have a chance. Keep up the great blog. Cheers!

k2 said...


Thanks a lot! Checked you site out just now. Great stuff! I appreciate what Roy said about us. Just trying to do our part to bring more folks around to Bacchus' way of thinking. Will get a link up on the blog and our Web site today.