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SHAKING UP THE F&B INDUSTRY: WINE + MARKET

Renée Saunier Brewer, CS, CSW | Proprietor of Wine + Market | Lexington, Kentucky

Tell us about your wine shop — what do you sell, and what are you known for? We are a boutique shop located in Lexington’s historic downtown. We offer a carefully curated selection of small-to-medium producers from across the globe. We also serve up Kentucky’s finest craft bourbons, cheese and charcuterie, and locally-roasted coffee. It’s a favorite lunch spot for locals, and our menu changes by the season. What is your background? I’m a Lexington native, with a degree in agricultural economics and French at the University of Kentucky. I also studied international wine marketing and management in Paris before traveling to the world’s leading and emerging wine markets; this included working a harvest in Napa under Helen Turley. Following stints in wine marketing and at boutique wine distributor Bacchus Wine & Spirits, I purchased Wine + Market in 2011. What are you doing to drive business and stay in front of customers? From the beginning of this pandemic, Wine + Market was deemed an essential business — fortunate to remain open and hold onto all staff. Like all businesses, we’ve adjusted and streamlined our approach to include:

  • Minimizing dine-in service and shifting our focus to selling food-to-go; because of this, we’ve managed to stay busy.

  • Events have been a cornerstone of our business model. To minimize the spread of the virus, we:

  1. Moved towards more virtual events. Zoom has become an important addition. Vanguard Wines, in fact, participated in our first virtual wine tasting alongside Sean Minor Wines, presenting three varietals through a relaxed and conversational format. Well-received by customers and a valuable learning experience for the Wine + Market team, these Zoom tastings have become a staple.

  2. To make the tasting experience accessible to more customers, we are expanding our offerings. Locals now have two options: continue to purchase bottles or order by-the-glass pours for curbside pickup. Because small pours were a business driver pre-COVID, we now offer 5-ounce wines in glass containers, sealed and labeled to be ABC compliant.

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