Blogger's Law states that the amount of blogging increases in inverse relation to the amount of work available and vice versa, so the fact that I haven't done a post in 6 months is not because I didn't want to, or because there was nothing going on, it is simply a result of being too busy.
First the usual manic Christmas season was made even more busy by the complication of trying to agree legal terms and obtain finance for a move to new premises planned for January/February. January and February was more legal wrangling until we finally signed the lease and got to work on the new premises and we finally got to open on April 1st (no, I'm not joking).
The new place is around the corner from our old place, but is on the main street, is four times bigger and on three levels. My initial idea was to have a wine shop, art gallery and book shop, all in the same premises. It is increasingly difficult for small shops - whether it is wine shops or any other type of specialised retailer - to make an impact and stay in the consciousness of the public and, crucially, get them to spend with you again and again. There are so many offerings out there, from online to large shopping centres with everything in between all trying to convince the customer to spend their money with them rather than with someone else. So, my idea was to have a few different, but complementary offerings all under the one roof to create a retail experience that was greater than the sum of its parts. It was also three things that I like and am interested in -art, books and wine. The other thing they have in common, of course, is that they are all notoriously hard to make a living from.
Nonetheless, I approached the owner of this great premises, undoubtedly one of the best in Dalkey, with my romantic notion and, rather than dismiss it out of hand, he suggested we go look at the building and have a chat. When we saw it again in the cold light of day, we decided to ditch the bookshop idea and keep all of downstairs to ourselves as a wine shop and wine bar and put the art gallery upstairs.
We had tested the wines by the glass idea in our old shop for the last 2 years and it worked well except that we didn't have the space to do it properly, but we felt confident enough in the concept to make the investment to move to a premises four times as big and that was going to need a considerable amount of money spent in order to get it to the standard we wanted.
So, we set about planning layouts, décor, furniture, kitchens, equipment and spending money to beat the band. The results of a couple of months of frantic work are below, we hope you like it.
So, what are we? We are a wine shop still, first and foremost, with a wine bar attached and an art gallery upstairs.
We want to have a great wine shop with a range of wines to suit all tastes and budget with the core of the range made up with the wines we import directly from small, quality minded producers. We have 3 members of staff with the WSET Diploma under our belts so we know what we are talking about and have the expertise to guide you on whatever wine journey you wish to take.
We serve great wines by the glass in proper Riedel glassware and in a comfortable environment and a nice atmosphere. We serve light food - cheese boards, cold meats etc to accompany the wines as well as soup and sandwiches at lunchtime and great coffee all day long.
You can choose any bottle off the shelf and enjoy it in the wine bar for corkage of only €7.
The gallery is curated by Siobhan Bastable who is a real art expert and is very well-connected in the art world. The work is an eclectic mix of well-known artists from near and far and is constantly changing. We also use this space for private tastings and corporate events.
We think we have created something special and hope you can join us soon at 26, Castle St., Dalkey.