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Bicoastal Retailer Verve Wine Focuses On The High End

January 3, 2020

Verve Wine co-founder Dustin Wilson started working in restaurants at age 15 and was mentored by the likes of Bobby Stuckey at Frasca in Boulder, Colorado and Rajat Parr at RN74 in San Francisco. He earned his Master Sommelier credentials—very publicly—in the first Somm documentary in 2013, and then became wine director at Eleven Madison Park in New York. Soon, restaurant guests began recognizing him from the films. Without meaning to do so, Wilson had become famous.

Then he met Derrick Mize, co-founder of a shop called New York Vintners, and they began to envision a new kind of store. “We talked about the retail landscape, creating an attractive space with great wines, a satisfying experience for guests, and e-commerce,” Wilson says. “I noticed the younger generation getting into wine, and realized the power of that segment. I saw room for something interesting and different in the retail space.”

Wilson and Mize first launched Verve Wine in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood and online in December 2016, and the partners opened a second location in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood in July 2018. A team of 16 people runs the entire operation.

The Tribeca location measures 1,300 square feet and has 1,300 SKUs (1,250 wines and 50 spirits), while the Pacific Heights store comes in at 1,000 square feet and stocks 900 SKUs (875 wines and 25 spirits). Both units have off-site storage. The spaces look contemporary, yet feel welcoming rather than stark. Market Watch has the full story.—Angel Antin

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