63 Pall Mall: the exciting new wine shop from Berry Bros & Rudd

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On Friday I went to the press tasting of high-end London retailer Berry Bros & Rudd, and it proved to be a great chance to check out their new retail outlet at 63 Pall Mall.

Previously, Berry Bros had a small retail space at 3 St James’ Street, which has been in operation since 1698. This historic space was a little intimidating. Dudes in sharp suits were waiting to speak with private clients about their reserves – usually Claret with a bit of Burgundy, Champagne and Port. Ask them about new regional France or new world wines and you’d get a panicked look. Rather off piste. Now, No 3 is closed for renovation, and there’s a magnificent new retail space round the corner, which connects with the various cellars of BBR by a labyrinthine mix of stairs and corridors.

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The suits have gone to be replaced by aprons. I was really impressed by the new space, which gives this superb, well chosen range of wines the sort of retail presence they deserve.

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The range is strong. I particularly like the Champagne selection. Classics, plus lots of growers.

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Then there’s a good selection of wine on tasting on the enomatic machines, which I love.

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And there’s really good point-of-sale information on shelf, giving you plenty of detail about prospective purchases.

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Negatives? Can’t think of many. Maybe the lack of some of the more quirky natural wines. Slightly high margins, but I totally forgive this because I’d rather pay more for a well chosen selection, from a nice retail space with good customer service, than save a few pounds here and there for a warehouse environment where it’s quite possible to blow cash on bad bottles. Ultimately, the reason people come to a place like this is because of the fundamental integrity of the operation: this is a high quality selection, chosen on merit. It’s the art of shopkeeping: a relationship of trust between retailer and customer. This is a great addition to the London wine scene.

It’s also over the road from 67 Pall Mall. Another London wine hub. Stroke of genius.

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