Remember back when wine was simple? Neither do I. But every time I walk by an Unwins
, I get the idea that such a prehistoric era actually existed. Frozen in time by sheer obstinacy, this chain of 381 stores founded in 1843, appears to have been renovated in the 1920’s and then succeeded in not evolving. Its Hopperesque
appeal is not unlike the Snack Bar up the road where HOT MEALS
is considered an excellent marketing slogan. You can almost imagine men in hats snapping out orders for bottles of claret, sherry and "White French" from the shop’s spare selection.
Is it a surprise then that Unwins is in serious trouble
? (“I am big! It's the pictures that got small.” - Greta Garbo)
I walked by one of their stores in Petersfield last weekend and the shelves were nearly bare. Apparently, they’re in a cash crunch and are closing down several of the underperforming stores. On a brighter note for the company, their spiffy new Phillips Newman
stores appear to be taking clues from the very successful Best Cellars
in the States. I was also able to find a decent 2004 M. Chapoutier Rasteau
in stock at my local Unwins in Fulham.
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