• Vanguard Wines

Shaking Up the F&B Industry: Vine & Branch

Ally Hanna | Owner | Lexington, Kentucky

Ally Hanna, Owner of Vine & Branch

When Did You Open Vine & Branch?

December 20, 2020. I worked for over 10 years in wine retail and had been thinking about going out on my own for a couple years. During the pandemic, I spent a lot more time managing aspects of my former employer’s business and learned so much. My capabilities gave me the push I needed to pursue this dream.

Vine & Branch Combines So Many Wonderful Things.

Yes, wine is the foundation and inspiration of the shop, but we also sell plants and offer experiences. For example, we host free tastings on Friday and have an ongoing partnership with a yoga studio. Education is my passion and I enjoy finding ways for customers to learn more about wine in fun, approachable ways.

You're In A Hip Part Of Town.

We are located in the Southland Corridor of Lexington, which is a unique point where different districts converge. There’s a large Millennial demographic, and it has become a popular destination for independently owned shops and boutiques.

Tell Us More About The Space.

I usually carry over 200 SKUs of wine and prefer those from small and family-owned producers. Interestingly, the pandemic led me to create an open, spacious and airy environment that allows people to spread out and take in everything we have to offer. It’s also less underwhelming for those who have wandered aisles at big box retailers.

What Is Your Philosophy When It Comes To Wine?

I am very clear about wanting this to be an unpretentious experience that is easy and accessible for everyone. I display handwritten notes on each bottle with recommendations and information. I have a mix of customers who look to me for suggestions and others who are “wine geeks.”

How Would You Describe Lexington's Wine Scene?

There’s definitely a movement toward sustainable and bio-dynamic wines. Small, local restaurants are offering great wine—and keeping it natural or even organic. Big stores can be overwhelming, so people benefit from coming into smaller shops because they can learn more. We take the time to share information.

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Styles?

Rosé is huge with customers here, and I sell sparkling year-round. I gravitate towards unique carbonic wines and light, chillable reds like Giunta Malbec Nouveau out of New Zealand.

What's Ahead For Vine And Branch Market?

Plans for a wine club and delivery are underway.

What Brought You To Vanguard?

I was exposed to the quality of Vanguard Wines’ book while I worked at Corner Wine. I knew that when I opened my shop, I would continue the relationship because they have so many wines you can’t find elsewhere.

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