It is only apropos that when a mobile phone retail mogul can’t find the wine he wants to buy, in this case a Roda Cirsion cult Rioja, that he would create his own wine store! This is exactly what Russian entrepreneur Yevgeny Chichvarkin did, opening his very own temple to Bacchus a year ago in London’s tony Mayfair district, the aptly named Hedonism Wines, that carries about 3500 labels.
I had read about Hedonism in the UK’s Decanter Magazine, and sought it out during my recent trip to London. Having had a past life in retailing myself, I was blown away by the merchandising presentation of this unique space.
A custom chandelier, comprised of 125 Riedel glasses, greets you as you gaze at the extensive collection of champagne that is skillfully displayed with risers to maximize the size of the large format bottles.
Hedonism Wines provides a visual and sensual experience for anyone into wine and showcases wines that are not easily found in other retailers around London. Specifically, the California Sine Qua Non wines of Manfred Krankl, are paid an homage in a separate cave that houses a huge collection, complete with surreal “hand sculptures” that jut from the walls and hold a myriad of Sine Qua Non offerings. Yevgeny loves big and bold wines, hence his large (for the UK) collection of wines from California.
Also on the lower level is an impressive display of large format bottles of collectable wines from around the world. They are not displayed in the traditional fashion, however. Each is turned on its side, providing a powerful visual of large bottles laid horizontally, from end to end, instead of vertically, when you only see the wrapped cork of each bottle.
Other main events in this spectacle of wine include special rooms, dedicated exclusively to Mouton Rothschild, DRC, Petrus and Screaming Eagle as well as the cave of Penfolds…and a vertical of Mouton Rothschild (1945-2004) for sale for a mere £131,540 ($205,000).
Hedonism Wines is the holder of the #5 (of 12) Penfolds Ampoule, each a handcrafted “objet d’art” that is filled with the 2004 Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon, priced at £120,000 ($187,000). “5” is a lucky number in Russia. If you purchase this gem, the winemaker will fly to you from Australia to open the ampoule.
If this is not enough for you, check out the 88 bottle collection of Château d’Yquem:
After you have absorbed this visual pageant of the world’s greatest wines, it’s time to head over to the community table, grab a blanket (the cellar is cold, as it should be!) and taste some wine from the Enomatic machine while enjoying lunch or a snack that you can bring in with you…all while listening to some great tunes on vinyl! I did, and enjoyed every minute of my visit and tour (thanks, Clayton!) of Hedonism Wines. And, I needed a place for lunch the following day. Where do you think I went?
3-7 Davies St.W1K 3LD,
Until next time…à votre santé!