SHOPPING for wine (and throwing a dinner party) just got a little bit easier, thanks to Winedrop.
Winedrop is the retail concept of AWC Philippines, a wine importing company well-known in the hotel circuit. Due to the pause in the industry during the pandemic, they opened a retail arm, Winedrop, with two branches: in Greenhills and Makati.
Jean Philippe Guillot, Managing Director of AWC Philippines, makes clear that it is neither a bar, nor a restaurant, insisting on calling it a “wine shop ++.” The Greenhills branch opened in 2021, while the Chino Roces Ext. branch opened earlier this year.
We met with Mr. Guillot during the opening of the 2022 Wine Fair by the Marketplace at the Shangri-La Plaza on Oct. 12, which showcased wines to be had at discounted prices, and a chance to win a trip for two to the Chateau Beauregard Winery in Bordeaux, France. The Wine Fair ended on Oct. 16.
When we said that dinner parties have become easier with Winedrop, it’s because they showcase cold cuts and pizza at the store to be paired with the wines, but also selections from chef Cyrille Soenen’s CiҪou; or else from currently the country’s best chef, Chele Gonzalez (at least according to the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant’s list, which ranked his Gallery by Chele No. 69 out of 100). These, Mr. Guillot said, could be plated for you while you pick up a matching wine.
The wines are also grouped more easily: instead of classifying them by country or price, they are grouped according to their taste and weight: whether one would like it light and fruity, mellow, or intense. “We don’t ask you: ‘white or red?’ You want it light, medium-bodied, or heavy?”
The store showcases 650 brands from all over the world. “We didn’t classify the wine by country, because when they start to drink wine, they don’t know what New Zealand tastes like, or what France tastes like.”
He added, “All of our wines are from family-owned wineries. We buy directly from them.” The wines at the store cost between P600 to P100,000.
Another thing that makes it special is the way the wine has been brought here: through temperature-controlled shipping and storing facilities. “If you don’t do it, it’s two months in a port in a container. You have up to 90° Celsius. Wine will change,” he pointed out.
“What you taste in France, it tastes the same here,” he said. “My mission and my job is to make sure that it tastes the same.”
We sampled the Bread and Butter Sauvignon Blanc 2020, which had well-rounded citrus notes and was dry and juicy, like a green apple. A 2018 Lapis Luna Chardonnay 2018 had notes of toffee in its scent, reflecting in the taste as a subtle hint of caramel.
“You know what’s a good bottle of wine? An empty bottle,” said Mr. Guillot, as he poured more.
Winedrop is located at 2/F One Kennedy Place in Greenhills, San Juan, and G&A Bldg., Chino Roces Ext., Makati. One can also buy from their website at https://winedrop.life/. — Joseph L. Garcia