2007-09-19

Coolvines: A Stylish Competent Wine Source in Westfield

When I walked through Westfield this evening looking for something to eat, to my very pleasant surprise I realized that Coolvines (on Elm Street, former location of Planet Smoothie) has finally openend. Their web site still says that they will be opening in August and there is currently not much information there, but I'm sure that will change pretty soon.

I blogged about CoolVines before and at one point I stated that they would open end of July. Ok, I was wrong. It is now two months later. And I'm sure it was not their plan to dragg this out. If you invest serious money into building a store, every day you are not open to generate revenue cuts into your profits. So you are very interested in opening as soon as possible. The fact that our bureaucracy makes things difficult for business owners and delays store openings significantly, should make us think and act. It doesn't have to be that way.

As reported before, CoolVines is not planning to be just another wine store. They actually do have an interesting concept that I'm quite excited about. It is not about selection, they are not trying to offer all of the mainstream brands you can get in every liquor store in town. I would estimate they have "only" about 200 to 250 different bottles. That is not a lot compared to other stores. They focus on unusual wines that are a good value at their respective price points. They have bottles in the $10 space as well as up to $50 and beyond and they claim they have them specifically selected to represent something special at the given price.

I was quite impressed with the wines they picked. There were only a few that I had tasted before or where I at least knew the producer. And there is a huge selection outside of the typical Chardonnay, SB, Merlot, CS range, which makes this a very interesting place. For me, wine is all about exploring new tastes, new varietals and new wine makers and CoolVines is a great opportunity to do just this.

Not only is the selection very enticing to me, their staff is also very competent. I briefly chatted with owner Mark Censits and later spent some time talking to head sommelier Arnaud Devolder. He was not only very knowledge about wine but also quite fun to talk to. He has tasted all the wines on offer at CoolVines. So - no surprise - after I briefly explained to him what I liked (and what not) he developed a very good understanding of my taste and preferrence and recommended quite a few interesting bottles.

As I had walked into Westfield, I only got two bottles, one of them a Kerner from Alto Adige which I look forward to enjoying with my wife on the weekend. But I'm sure I will be back, in particular for the tastings they will have on a regular basis twice a week.

They are open till 10:00 pm, so they are also a good source for your BYOB bottle when visiting a place in Westfield's restaurant row. They even do have a special section for wine to match certain Westfield eateries.

Signing Off - The Westfield Blogger

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

CoolVines is amazing!

Anonymous said...

I stopped in to CoolVines last week and found them to be very eager to help me select wines. Not "pushy to sell" eager, just eager to make my experience a positive one.

My wife commented about the pre-selected bottles that match some of the menu items at the different restaurants in town and wondered why we didn't think of it first!

A great place to stop on tasting nite as they have something for everyone. The Yangarra Shiraz was wonderful.

Rajiv said...

CoolVines just opened another branch in Princeton.

http://questionsoftaste.blogspot.com/2008/08/new-kid-on-block.html