Annisa Benasseur – Heights Chateau

I visited Heights Chateau on Atlantic Avenue.

 

Firstly, the shop itself is quaint. Upon entry, it does seem a bit overwhelming, but as you peruse the aisles, you’ll quickly realize there is an order in which these many bottles are arranged. The first thing you run into when you enter the doors is the checkout counter. I thought to myself “it would probably be impossible to steal from here” but I later found out that isn’t the case. The manager of 20 plus years whom I spoke with (whose name I forgot the moment I left) mentioned that, the store experiences shrinkage on spirits- specifically Grey Goose and Hennessy.

The first thing you see when you enter.

A view of the entire store.

The checkout counter was a bit dusty and cluttered by display cases of wines and some paper goods. I was told that the store doesn’t carry too many supplemental supplies to be paired with a bottle of wine simply because of lack of storage and wasting capital. Staff members have extensive wine knowledge and are able to solicit pairing suggestions to clients. There was,n however, a wicker basket full of wine openers on the checkout counter.

 

This was very interesting to see that this alternative is offered

The manager and I walked through the aisles with him pointing out to me the wines are separated by region and variety (red, white, rose). The organization of the store made sense, however, the signage was outdated and unappealing. The idea behind the paper signs are functional and great for reeling customers in and allowing them to locate wine by region of their choice. The signage is due for replacement as it is flimsy and faded. There were also paper flyers announcing the dates and times in which their distributors would be conducting tastings.

 

Some of the sparkling wines were refrigerated.

The boxed wines weren’t on the same wall units as the bottled. They were in their own smaller section near the spirits.

Heights Chateau doesn’t always offer discounts, but this is an example of what the savings would be.

While in the aisles, the manager was sure to tell me one thing I would not find is the supply of Romanee Conti (a red wine hailing from Burgundy). This wine is priced at $3000 per bottle and is kept downstairs in the basement for security purposes. Customers did have access to wines from countries including USA, France, Austria, Israel, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and more. Customers are able to find Kosher, boxed, sparkling wine, and more.

Heights Chateau has more female patrons than male. According to the shop keepers, women mostly purchase Rose and White.

Nice to put a face to the name after learning about it.

Red wines of Italy

My takeaway from the interview and walk through experience: Wine is all about perspective and is truly subjective. A $15 bottle of wine may do for me what a $3000 bottle of wine may do for someone else. This is not to say that every wine from every region will taste similarly, it’s all about preference. The appearance of this particular location doesn’t hinder any sales, as the store has an abundance of regulars. Additionally, the store manages to attracts clients in other ways like free delivery within the 5 boroughs, promotional bags (an employee chosen recommendation bag of wine bottles and a free reusable tote) and a wine of the month club. Though this may not be the case for other wine retailers, Heights Chateau’s sales and retention is not visibly influenced or affected by the ambient conditions.

 

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