in london last week, i took some time to visit the wonder bar in selfridges on oxford street. i read about it in decanter magazine a few months back and ever since i have drooled all over this concept and so i had to see it for myself.
the bar is actually tucked in between their food court and wine shop and it revolves around their idea of a ''wine juke box'' which is actually the ''wine serving system'' developped by a company called enomatic.
for a price, you buy a ''wine card'' which is a smart card that you can replenish with funds as much as you like. you then approach the ''juke box'' which is a long row of bottles placed inside the serving system, insert your card, select your wine and the size of the poor, put your glass under the spout and ''voilà'', you can help yourself to a very wide range of wines and they change the selection on a regular basis.
the dispenser offers 3 sizes of pour: a sip, 1/2 glass, and a full glass. it's temperature controled and, thanks to a system of pipes and nitrogen, it keeps the wine fresh for weeks and weeks.
this is an absolutely fantastic way to go about and discover wine. you can taste before you buy and in this way discover without fear that you will end up with some ''piquette'' that will scortch your palate at every sip.
i was told by the waiter that happy hours are absolutely packed with the london smart set who come there to taste and try and get pissed on good stuff so that they can wake up the next morning without the headaches and start the whole process again night after night.
i was also told that they put a chateau petrus 1976 of which they sold so many they had to stop to keep some bottles for their regular well heeled patrons. people were just curious to taste the legendary wine even if it set them back 32 pounds a sip...
and this is what keeps me awake at night!! this system will totally democratize the wine world and finally make accessible the kinds of wines that some people can not afford a whole bottle or who simply can't drink a whole one because they are not part of some wine group, or that their spouse/friends do not drink.
this system could start a revolution: finally away with vinegar by the glass that they serve us all over hong kong (and most of the world!).
i tell you, this machine will revolutionise the way wine is sold and any serious wine shop which really cares about promoting wine and worth its grain of salt will jump on this. what better way to encourage people to discover new wines and trade up? no i do not have a vested interest into enomatic other than hoping to see more and more such system installed so that i can finally enjoy wines by the glass.
i am seriously looking into it for hong kong and i have a super great concept in mind, anyone interested to invest in my project?