When there are crises, there are also opportunities. Although a lot of high-street shops have closed down during the pandemic, there are new tenants who are optimistic about the market. Apparently, wine retailers are one of them, and they have been springing up around town in recent months.
Bottle Wander, located on Hollywood Road just opposite PMQ, opened in March 2021. The owner started his wine journey back in 2018 when he was lured into the wine trade by the book Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch, himself a wine merchant. What’s unique about Bottle Wander is that in addition to wine, they also sell wine-related books, from serious and educational to philosophical and entertaining tomes. What Bottle Wander aims to do is not only sell wine, but also to bring the happiness and experiences of the wine world to wine lovers.
Bottle Wander carries a small portfolio, but each winery has a story. Take champagne house Leclerc Briant, for example – its latest addition. This winery was one of the first to bottle single-vineyard champagne and was an early adopter of organic practices. It was nearly swallowed up by big champagne houses in 2012, but luckily, it was given a new lease of life by investors.
The shop is inviting, and the staff are happy to share the stories behind the wine labels. In June, they are running a Q&A competition, tastings and a workshop on German wine. Do drop by if you are a fan.
Crushed Wines, a newcomer to Sai Ying Pun, is the brainchild of Camille Glass and her girlfriends. Glass runs nearby Brut! restaurant and wine bar and champions unpretentious, sustainable and forward-thinking wines. Not surprisingly, Crushed Wines has understated decor and a friendly ambience that let the wines do the talking. The wines are all small batch and change regularly. The bottles are labelled in layman’s terms such as Easy Breezy White (crisp, fruity, fresh and light on the palate), Butter Baby White (creamy, dreamy, lemon curd, golden delights with body) and Playful Red (bright, juicy and a mountain of fun, lightness all around). If you’re not sure what you want, Leigh-Ann, one of the founders who is in charge of shop operations, will be on hand to guide you.
Both Bottle Wander and Crushed Wines share the same passion about wine and want to introduce high-quality, unique wines to Hong Kong wine lovers – where the winemakers they showcase are as passionate as the shops’ owners. If you would like to try something different from the mainstream, or even just want to talk about wine with someone who loves it as much as you do, you will enjoy these two new wine shops.
Bottle Wander: 83B Hollywood Road, Central, 2572 0028, open Tuesday–Saturday, 10:30am–7pm
Crushed Wines: 35–37 First Street, Sai Ying Pun, 5597 8774, open Tuesday–Sunday, 12–9pm (till 8pm on Sunday)
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