Independent wine merchant Bottle Apostle in Victoria Park is to open a second site in North London. Larger than its East London older sibling, the new site in Crouch End, set to open at the end of March, will stock over 500 wines. As reported on thedrinksbusiness.com, the range will be very similar to the original shop, but will feature 50 more reds and 50 more whites. In keeping with Bottle Apostle's try before you buy philosophy, it will also offer 16 wines by the sip from two Enomatics.
“Our other site has four Enomatics, but we’re going to do things a bit differently here, and change the wines on offer almost every day,” owner Andrew Eakin said. “We looked at sites in Primrose Hill, but decided on Crouch End because it’s got a village feel to it. There are other wine shops in the area, but that doesn’t scare us,” Eakin added.
Food will play an important role at the new store – Eakin plans to host two wine-themed supper clubs a week for up to 20 people. “I’ve ordered a huge kitchen, which will live at the back of the shop. We’re already in talks with Nuno Mendez of Viajante and chef collective The Young Turks, who are keen to host supper clubs,” Eakin said.
The shop, which will also stock a range of rare spirits and specialist beers, will be run by Bottle Apostle Victoria Park manager Christopher Sherwood, who is currently is recruiting a new team. Despite finding it hard to find staff for the new venture, Eakin is optimistic about the current state of wine on the UK high street.
“We have the most loyal customers in the world and our sales are up 30% on last year. People are sick of buying bad supermarket wine, but they don’t want to feel looked down on at snooty wine merchants. We’re all about making wine buying simple and fun,” he said. Eakin plans to open a further four sites and turn Bottle Apostle into a small chain, insisting his third site will “definitely” be in West London.