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Independent wine merchant Le Vignoble boosts business with extension of wine lounge

Published:  13 April, 2015

Plymouth independent wine retailer Le Vignoble is set to boost its focus on its wine lounge with the addition of a new 'after-dinner' area that will offer customers premium artisan spirits.

Owner Yannick Loué, who won last year's Harpers Award for Best Top Merchant of the Year, said the build would increase the size of the lounge by around 50%, and will house four 4 x bottle Enomatic machines to showcase premium artisan spirits.

"We wanted to expand the lounge area to create more of an after-dinner feel and showcase premium Whisky, Vodka, Armagnac and Cognac for around £5 a shot," Loué said. "I want people to understand and enjoy the spirits."

The new 5,000 sq ft room is being created from a meeting room that was previously occupied by the offices next door. Loué says build will be relatively straight forward, with the extended lounge due to open in the summer.

It will also provide extra space for corporate events and tastings, and means the shop will not have to shut when events are being held, he said.

"At the moment with the winemaking events, if we have a big class, we have to close the shop, but with the extension, we won't, so it will maximise our sales," Louésaid. "The extension will change the synergy of the business."

Last year saw the addition of a 1,000 sq ft patio area at the shop, which is set in a Grade I-listed former Royal Naval victualling building and surrounded by cafes and galleries with views across Plymouth Sound and the marina.

The shop opened in 2012 but Loué is already looking to open a second retail site in the South West over the next year. Depending on the location of the new shop, the split between the three sides of the business - retailing, wine lounge and events - can be adapted, with retail potentially accounting for around 25% of the business and a greater emphasis put on its lounge and education business.

For the full story, see this month's issue of Harpers.