Retail Wine Shop Assignment – Hsuan Meng

As I planned to pay a visit at a wine retail shop that was listed on the suggested page on Monday night, I did not expect the snowstorm would alter my decision. Unfortunately, I was left with no choice but to change my plan and visited a wine retail shop in my neighborhood. I visited Union St. Wine & and Spirits located on 38-19 Union St. Flushing, NY 11354 and called ahead to make sure that I could speak to a representative of the shop to ask about several questions based upon wines.


When I arrived to the store, I was really surprised that how come I have never realized this shop takes just about a minute walk from my workplace. I live at a neighborhood where a majority of people are Asian, so it was not strange to see this wine store not only carries different varieties of wine but also Asian liquors such as soju, rice wine, and Japanese sake. Therefore, the first thing I learned from what I observed was the location and the community of where a wine & liquor shop is opened at can have a direct influence on the selections and sales of alcohol that are provided.


Foreign Liquors and Wines

I was honored that the manager of the store was so kind to use his lunch break to take my questions and to explore the shop with me. Michael, who is the most experienced wine retailer at this shop, answered several of my questions while explaining to me what their customers loved the most from their suggestions. As I asked Michael about my previous observation he agreed with me. “Most of our customers are either Korean or Chinese, and sometimes they come in to ask if we carry soju or sake.” Michael said. Then I asked which selection is the most popular, red/white wine, or other foreign liquors. Michael thought about it for a second and told me that there’s no answer to that, because out of 100%, 50% of their customers come in for soju and sake, and the other 50% have more interests on wine and champagne.

SIMI, Merlot, 2014

As I walked down the aisle, I found out that they categorize the wines by popularity, grape variety, company and country. For example, as I asked which wine would you suggest to your customers when they tell you it’s for a gift, or it’s for themselves he answered that if it’s for drinking at home, he’d recommend Simi, Merlot, 2014, or Robert Mondavi, Merlot, 2013. And if it is for a gift, he’d recommend Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, also by Robert Mondavi. These choices were all on the same shelf, and it is at the very front of the store, so once a customer comes in, he or she could easily see what selection is trending.

Robert Mondavi, Merlot, 2013

Robert Mondavi, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013

As I listened to Michael’s explanation, I got curious with his recommendations. I don’t visit a wine shop unless there is an occasion, and I always stick to Simi, Merlot, 2013. So I asked him “Why Simi? Why Merlot, because when I first encountered wine I was introduced to Simi, Merlot as well. Is there a reason why Simi, Merlot is one of your top recommendations?” Michael replied to me that Merlot has less tannin and a smoother finish on the tongue, so for most people it is much more accepted compare to Cabernet Sauvignon.” Furthermore, Michael also states “if customers are willing to pay at a much higher price, such at 20$-40$, I would recommend Robert Mondavi, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015, from Napa Valley.” Michael mentioned that Napa Valley produces some of the finest wines in the country.

After our discussion with wine, Michael had to get back to work, so I thanked him for take the time to give the opportunity to learn about wine with him. It was unfortunate that I also have to leave for work, so I asked for his permission to take some pictures of the store for presentation. Red and white wines were differentiated by storing red to the left and white to the right. Other categories of wines were put together, too.

Red and White

Red wines

In conclusion, I did not get a chance to choose a wine for myself, but I’ll definitely go back to Union St. Wine &Spirits to purchase a wine. This wine shop may not have the most complete wine varieties but definitely a place I’d recommend to my friends that live within our neighborhood or even friends that live in Queens. It has been a great experience for me because I’ve never gone so deep into wine industry and the knowledge behind the science of making wine until this point of life.  I guess after today’s visit, I’ll never stop studying wine.

7 thoughts on “Retail Wine Shop Assignment – Hsuan Meng

  1. That;s great that you met with such an accommodating employee such as Michael it seems you gained a lot of information from this shop although it wasn’t the one you intended on visiting!

  2. Hey Leah, I enjoyed reading your Retail Wine Analysis. You seemed to have obtained a lot of information from the retailer. It was very interesting to read.

  3. You and I had a similar dilemma, Leah. When I first visited my store we were there to pick up some spirits for a baby shower so, I was kinda rushed when I asked my questions a month ago. I didn’t have time to take pictures and such. I just went with saying that would be the easy part of this assignment. Little did we know the weather had different plans for us both.

  4. I live in queens and rarely go around flushing to think would purchase wine. I’m glad you had a great experience and was able to be helped out by a very knowledgeable employee

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