Arrange to Build Interest
Excerpt from The Art & Science of Wine Retail
...your arrangement can take many different forms. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
I once experimented with the display of a few Middle Eastern wines, including a white Xynisteri from Cyprus, Bargylus from Syria (an amazing wine) and the venerable Chateau Musar from Lebanon. For the first two months I simply placed a few bottles of the Xynisteri in the miscellaneous white varietal section, and the two red wines from Syria and Lebanon in the red blend section, which also included wines from California, Australia, South America, the Languedoc and Bordeaux — an overcrowded section, really. For the next two months, I separated and highlighted them within their respective sections in order to bring them a little attention, but within a framework in which customers were familiar. For the final two months, I gave them their own section — Middle Eastern wines.
When given a section of their own, not a single bottle sold aside from a bottle of Chateau Musar, and it was to a customer who came in specifically asking for it. But when highlighted and semi-separated within their respective sections (miscellaneous whites and red blends) they sold well — just under a case for the three combined wines. Not bad for “unknown” wines in a 60 day period.
This experiment simply reaffirmed for me the belief that customers are willing to try different wines, as long as they have some sort of reference. This axiom should be an element of any wine shop’s strategy when it comes to the arrangement of its wines throughout the store.
One final word when it comes to arranging your wines: what works for one wine shop might not work well for another. Always take your local market into consideration. Mediterranean wines, for example, might do well to have their own department in a large city.