Monday, December 3, 2007

The Wall of Wines

Here in California, we are fortunate enough to have the convenience of purchasing wine and liquor at the local grocer along with doing our regular shopping. I lived in Colorado for several years and was not only disappointed that grocers cannot sell wine, but you cannot even buy wine or liquor (or cars) on Sundays at all! Sacre bleu!! A travesty...but like everything else, you adapt and plan appropriately. I digress...back to my point...the wall of wines at the wine store or grocer...

So, here I am at the local Vons store, and I needed to buy a wine on the fly for certain dish that night. Off to the wine isle. Now keep in mind, Vons is one of the largest retailers of wine in the country and they do a pretty good job of stocking, displaying, and carrying some decent brands at very good prices. They've even done a good job of remodeling some stores here that really focus on wine sales and kiosk displays. At least, as much as you can do without a wine expert at the ready. But here's the rub; as I turned down the 'wine isle', I was met with a true wall of wines from one end of the store to the other. I mean, a real wall top to bottom, front to back, and the deep view isle like something you'd see out of a Alfred Hitchcock movie (Veritgo comes to mind).

I stepped back and thought, "Wow, how does the average consumer make a choice here? Where to even start?" With no help anywhere in sight, I began to think of a better way along with trying to get in to the mind of the consumer and their view of this dilemma. Uh oh, sometimes I hate my entrepreneurial I'm really in trouble...ugh!

So, here I am, frozen, staring at this wall of wines, looking up and down, right and left, in front of me and behind, thinking, staring, watching, wondering what's next. Then, it occurred to me that most people that go to the grocery store and buying, what else, (eureka!) food. Hmmm, food, wine, convenience, price, all in one place. There's got to be an opportunity here somewhere.

Here's my pitch. When I win the lottery and money is no longer a concern, (clutching my tickets right now...7,16,18,29,46 & 6), I want to present all these grocers with food & wine pairing kiosks to sit right in the middle of the wall of wines. I want to take all of my internet wine experience and bundle it all together to create the perfect virtual wine helper...let's call him 'Johnny' (i.e. Johnny on the spot). With these kiosks, you'd be able to type in "tuna caserole" and get a list of wine options right next to you to buy that will go with that dish. Type in "Merlot" and see dishes you can create to go with your favorite wine. Or, you can type in a variety of requests that involve wine, liquor, food or entertaining and get volumes of info and suggestions along with carefully selected partners to assist in the process. You could also make 'Johnny' available from home so that people could leisurely spend time and/or print out materials to carry while they shop. Point is, you've got a very captive audience and the possibilities are endless.

On second thought, maybe if I present these grocers this idea now, it WILL be like winning the lottery, only better odds. Now if I just had the ultra deep pockets to execute this myself in the first place...chicken or the egg? All right, everyone hold hands and let's pray for the following - 7, 16, 18, 29, 46 & 6.

Until the next sip...swirl ya' later!

Chief Wino


Craig said...

hey james,

hope you don't mind, but i'm pitching your kiosk idea to a few internet billionaires tomorrow. if it flies, i'll be sure to get you a bottle or two of the excelent 2005 Merry Edwards' Flax Vineyards..

Elliot Essman said...

I live in Connecticut, a state which does not allow wine sales in groceries. Perhaps that's better, since I am funneled to package stores that must be more selective. When I have a question, there is always some one to help me.

But the kiosk is a good idea.