Third branch for Le Vignoble

Le Vignoble is set to open its third and biggest branch in the coming weeks as part of a regeneration project in the heart of Bristol.

Owner Yannick Loué has had his sights set on the city for some time and his latest move, to the high-profile Finzels Reach development, looks tailor-made for Le Vignoble’s hybrid model.

“We have one or two hurdles but we are hoping to open in six weeks, maximum,” said Loué when The Wine Merchant spoke to him at the beginning of October.

The waterside location encompasses a range of residential properties as well as retail and office spaces.

Le Vignoble will take its place among an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes and shops on the ground floor of the Fermentation Buildings.

“It’s exciting,” said Loué. “I love the property – it used to be a brewery and it’s got a lot of history behind it. It’s perfect for us and I’m looking forward to it.” But he admitted the move is “a massive gamble”.

At 223 square metres, the branch will be more than double the size of the Plymouth or Bath sites and will offer 64 wines from Enomatics. Ten new staff will be recruited, with some moving from other stores.

Finzels Reach has gradually bedded in and already hosts a popular weekly street food market. Left Handed Giant has a brewery and brewpub on the site and there are a number of independent cafes and restaurants including a vegetarian wood-fired pizza offering provided by Mission Pizza.

Channel 4 and English Heritage also have a presence on the development. “The vendors have been very picky – they wanted independent people as well so it’s going to be a nice mix,” said Loué.

The 6-acre site will include 737 homes and a 168-bed hotel as well as 375,000 square feet of office space. Its developer describes it as “one of the largest and most significant mixed-use regeneration projects in the south west”.

Bristol boasts a broad range of independent drinks specialists, including Corks of Bristol, Clifton Cellars, Davis Bell McCraith, Grape & Grind, Aimee’s Wine House, Weber & Trings and Little Tipple.

Most specialise in retail, though Corks has a branch called Corks at Cargo at Wapping Wharf where wines can be enjoyed by the glass on the premises.

The first branch of Le Vignoble opened at Royal William Yard in Plymouth in 2012 and a second venue appeared in Bath in the spring of 2018.

In an interview with The Wine Merchant in early 2015, Loué said he ultimately wanted five branches in the south west of England.

This story appears in the October edition of The Wine Merchant.