Monday, November 20, 2006

The Future of Wine Tasting

Welcome to the ultimate wine store for gadget-mavens, wine-swilling techies and boys who love toys. It's also pretty great if you are a wine lover who subscribes to the try-before-you-buy theory. Even if you have little interest in wine, 7th Street Wine Company is so cool, it could turn you into an amateur sommelier.

The best comparison is to a grown-up video arcade where you plunk down some cash that gets loaded onto a debit card by the cashier who hands you a glass and leaves you to run wild from machine to machine. However, instead of chances to earn a high score on Golden Tee, your little card buys you tastes from the store's selection of 1100 different wines. At any given time, about 100 bottles are "on tap." The sleek, futuristic enomatic wine dispensing machines are imported from Italy and calibrated to mete out a perfect tasting pour.

A taste of a priced bottle will be in the $1 to $3 range, while others, like a Canadian ice wine, will run you about $9 for a frosty swig. Mike and I tend to stick to the lower end of the price range and compare France to California or Riesling to Gewurztraminer. We usually load about $25 onto our debit card, and taste enough different wines to leave us feeling very content. If we did happen to be in the market for a special bottle, we might not mind spending $10 or so on a taste before we spend considerably more to bring it home with us.

The picture above shows Mike inserting our debit card into one of the enomatics that holds all the white wine selections in a temperature-controlled environment. I have to admit that we actually purchase almost all of our wine at our other favorite wine shop in Fort Lauderdale because they have phenomenal prices, a knowledgable staff and a great selection. Mike gets such a kick out of the enomatics at 7th Street however, that we keep coming back for the novelty, as well as the sleek atmosphere of this beautifully designed space.

7th Street has frequent free tastings, often hosted by one of their distributors. There are usually more than a few couples on dates or groups of friends enjoying the casual ambience, complete with jazzy mood music and low, blue-tinted lighting.

I do not think there are many set-ups like this yet in the United States, but it is bound to catch on quickly. Hopefully not too quickly, though. It's nice to be ahead of the curve down here in sunny Fort Lauderdale for a change.

7th Street Wine Company
701 S. Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316


Maureen said...

Hi Julie,

My ex lives in Ft. Lauderdale and told me about this place. He is not a wine person at all, but really enjoyed it. Looks like it is a great place for wine-loving women to get gadget-loving guys out for some fun.
I wish we had one in AZ!

Anonymous said...

My parents would love this place, they're all into wine tastings and such. Thanks so much for posting about it!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Julie said...

Thanks for your comments. I can't imagine how much money the owners put into this shop, so I wonder if people can afford to open similar ones elsewhere...

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