Total Wine & More is by no means a new company, but they are very new to the Austin, Texas scene. The company was founded in 1991 by brothers David and Robert Trone, and now has over 100 stores nationally in 15 states. The selection includes more than 8,000 individual labels of wine, 3,000 spirits, and 2,500 beers. This particular story concerns the private preview party at the new superstore located at 5601 Brodie Lane, Suite 800, in Sunset Valley, Texas on May 20th. The store’s grand opening is Thursday, May 21st, 2015. Texas Wine Lover attended the gala and here is the lowdown.
When we pulled in the shopping center, the parking lot was full in front of the store; apparently we weren’t alone in attending this selective gala. When you walk in, it is immediately clear this brand is very different from the competitors. The layout of the wines, and the vast selection are key indicators of a totally different scene. There are a few things I noticed that really sets Total Wine apart. The wines are categorized alphabetically, which changes your entire strategy in bottle selection. Normally, the inexpensive wines are on the bottom shelf, while the world-class wines are on the top shelf. No sir, not here. The bottles are arranged not by price and status, but by letter. Also, the way the different sections are labeled really helps the novice wine drinker select wines based more on style and type, vs. being based on just region or grape variety. There is a section in the back of the store dedicated to education, as they will be teaching classes on a variety of subjects.
I will say the Texas wine section is much larger than you will find in most liquor stores in Texas, but I am still looking forward to seeing that section explode in size over the next few years! Hint, Total Wine, hint. Here I am babbling on about the wine selection, but of course there is a lot more going on inside the building than just wine.
The beer and spirits selection is stellar, and there is plenty of local stuff on the shelves, as Total Wine prides themselves on not only showcasing local companies, but also giving back to the community. On that note, for the first three weekends of being open, 10% of sales will be donated to the community. Here is the donation schedule; May 21st-23rd, donations will be going to the Long Center for the Performing Arts. May 28th-30th, donations will go to the Hill Country Conservancy, and June 4th-6th, donations will go to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. How is that for settling in as part of the community?
The soiree itself was very casual and laid back, the store staffed by passionate people who seem well educated on their products. The event was catered by Stiles Switch BBQ and brew, which is located on 6610 N Lamar Blvd in Austin, and I must admit the food was very good. There were several singers from the Austin Opera, who also decided to put on a little stunt of their own and attempt to break a crystal glass with their voices. See our exclusive video for this interesting show.
There was a speech given by owner David Trone, and the ribbon cutting was done by Rose Cardona, who is the mayor of Sunset Valley. We even ran into Winemaker Sergio Cuadra from Fall Creek Vineyards, representing our wonderful Texas Wine Industry at a tasting table.
Next time you are in the south Austin area you owe it to yourself to stop in for a visit. Just be careful as you could easily spend a fortune in just one visit, based on the vast selection of product on the shelves.