I visited Hedonism Wines for the first time today. You can see a report, mostly pictorial, on my visit here. Some thoughts:
- It is an amazing retail space. Beautifully planned and perfectly executed. It’s a bit like a museum of wine, where a wine lover can gain a good deal of pleasure from just wandering around and looking at all the amazing bottles.
- But I can see why some object. There’s a focus on the rich and famous of the wine world, which isn’t always in strict correlation with what’s interesting and worthwhile in the wine world. And I don’t much care for prestige wines.
- However, there are interesting, well chosen wines here. I didn’t search extensively, but I came across a really good Portuguese selection, and the South African whites were brilliantly chosen, with current knowledge and not just a reliance on old classics.
- Yes there is a Sine Qua Non room. But while I don’t like the wine style, I admire the packaging and brand cohesion here. The room is remarkable.
- There’s also a Penfolds room. Grange is an ‘icon’, but it’s not the most interesting, compelling Aussie wine out there. The marketing, though, is spot on. The wine is good enough. We just have to look on and gasp at the prices Penfolds are getting for this wine.
- Yes, this is a retail outlet that is irrelevant to most wine drinkers. But isn’t it GREAT that wine has this sort of bling factor. Wine is pappable. It’s ‘A’ list celebrity. How cool is that?
- I think that Hedonism Wines is great for wine overall. Of course, I don’t think many of the celebrity wines are worth the money, and that you can have much more fun elsewhere. But many people buying celebrity bottles aren’t looking for value for money. Quite the opposite. If a wine is affordable, it loses some appeal. We shouldn’t despise this shallowness of the marketplace; rather, we should be positive, and think of the benefits for wine overall that comes from people willing to drop $$$$ on a bottle of wine brings.
- Overall, the profile of wine is raised by retail outlets such as Hedonism Wines, and this is a good thing.