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New wine store in Hollywood

Imgp2421Always curious about where to find unusual wines -- better yet, unusually low-priced wines -- I make a habit of checking out new wine stores. I stopped by Vino 100, which opened Dec. 30 in the Hollywood & Highland complex boasting "100 wines for under $25." (Others are priced up to $50.) Located next to the Kodak Theatre, the store is bright and attractive with an inviting outdoor wine bar. Vino 100 is a franchise, so it has a selection of the wine gadgets, games and T-shirts we've come to expect from mass-market wine outlets. The idea is to demystify wines by offering a limited selection at affordable prices. The target audience: the tourists who flock to Hollywood Boulevard hoping to catch a glimpse of our local glamour.

The centralized purchasing that makes stocking dozens of stores across the country profitable can't reasonably be expected to provide a selection of truly exciting wines. And Vino 100's limited inventory proves the point. I've never heard of most of the wines in the store, which doesn't mean they are bad wines; more likely they are wines specifically created for specialty retailers. (Trader Joe's racks are full of these kinds of wines.)

I wrote down several of the wineries and checked them out online when I got back to the office. Most had websites that offered the same wines at close to the same prices as the Hollywood & Highland store (2003 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Merlot, $24, and 2002 Newton Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet, $54). Some, like the generically named "Mockingbird Hill," didn't seem to have a website. There were some recognizable wines, like the 2004 Clos du Val Napa Valley Cabernet for $33. But this wine, like many of the other widely available wines, is available at K & L Wine Merchants down the street for significantly less (compare at $23). And there, you don't have to pay for parking.

-- Corie Brown

Clarification: Vino 100 does not offer centralized wine purchasing to its franchisees, as the Hollywood & Highland store originally suggested. Rather, inventory is selected by individual store owners and purchased through distributors.--CB

Photo by Vino 100

(An earlier version of this posting incorrectly credited the photo to Corie Brown)

 
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From the owner of Vino100 Hollywood:
During the past few years, we worked really hard to get this family owned/operated store open. I put my heart and sole in this venture and therefore it pains me to see non-factual negative comments about my store. So, I would like to set some of them straight as well:
#1 We do not buy any of our wines from Vino100 cental location. They own the Vino 100 franchise and are not wine distributors! All of the wines we carry are chosen by us and purchased from a variety of distributors.
#2 You cannot compare us to Trader Joe's or K&L or any online merchants. Some of their wines are at lower prices but others are not. They are bigger retail outlets and occasionally they receive large volume discounts on mass produced wines, something we physically can't compete with. That is why we try to offer smaller production (and in no way "generic") wines. All of our wines are really good and we stand behind each and every bottle!
#3 Believe it or not, out target audience are locals. We have only been open for a few weeks and already have some loyal local clientel. Yes we carry wine accessories and gadgets, but so do Target, Bristol Farms and even local drug stores. I assume they don't do it for tourists.
#4 Finally, the picture in the above article was provided by me, because Ms. Brown did not have a working camera at the time she was visiting our store.
I really hope that people come and check out Vino100 store for themselves! If anyone would like to learn more about our store, or concept and our events, please visit our website at www.vino100hollywood.com
Katia Schwartz

As an owner of a Vino 100 in Virginia Beach,Virginia I would like like to set some of your "facts" straight. There is no centralized buying at Vino 100. Each store is individually owned and operated. Wine selections are made by the owners working with their local Distributors. Each store is unique to their community and reflects the tastes of that community. The wines that we carry (for the most part) are from smaller Vintners who do estate grown and bottled wines. I take pride in not carrying wines from the run of the mill commodity wineries who spend more money on advertising than they do on their wines. Is it possible that you might spend a little more for our wines then in a grocery store? yes, but with that we offer personalized service. I know most of my customers by their first names. They are greeted at the door and I have come to learn their likes and dislikes in wines. When they leave my store with a purchase I am confident that they will enjoy what they have bought. We don't cater to what I called wine NERDS. We cater to people who enjoy drinking wine,don't know alot about it and want to buy wine in a non intimidating atmosphere. Vino 100 provides that. Instead of making uninformed commentary, you would be better off investigating deeper into the concept of Vino 100.
Allen L.Kesselschmidt


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