Garden centres have changed a lot over the past decade or so. Many are more like rural shopping centres, and it’s no surprise that wine is part of the consumer offer.
Reserve Wines is the latest independent to expand in this way, but there are many others who have already spotted the opportunity to sell Beaujolais alongside the bedding plants. These merchants have none of the headaches with parking and rent reviews that afflict their high-street counterparts. Many find that the cross-pollination that occurs with neighbouring traders is another benefit.
Operating as a wine merchant within a garden centre, or as part of a farm shop complex, has obvious drawbacks to do with seasonality. Your shop is also much more likely to be further away from centres of population, and drop-in trade. But from a cost perspective, the case is a compelling one.
It’s a theme we explore in more detail in the current edition of The Wine Merchant, the last one of 2014 and the biggest issue we’ve published to date. Thanks to everyone for their ongoing support.