A long, long time ago, in a Bordeaux bistro called La Tupina, Ryan Quinn and Alastair Pope hatched a truly cunning plan. It was their first ever buying trip to France and they were going to need a pretty good plan if they were ever going to get on top of the credit card bill. They may have been staying in the worst hotel in Bordeaux but that doesn't mean it was cheap. And the price of La Tupina's legendary Côte de Boeuf is not to be taken lightly, nor is the amount of Ch Branaire Ducru required to accommodate that much beef.
But like all good plans, theirs was simple: take a good thing and make it better.
For more than 25 years now, wine-loving customers have enjoyed dropping in to Wine Direct (and our other stores now known as Wine Runners) for some quality browsing and some good advice. And invariably those same customers would walk out with armfuls of very tasty wine. We make no apologies. They will have walked out with the kind of wine that can’t be bought at a supermarket or a chain liquor store (boo, hiss, argh!). Our business is built on selling what we call Real Wine. Everybody knows, if you really want the good stuff, you have to go looking for it. That applies to us just as much as it does to you the wine-loving customer.
Ok, so now we had a plan. What we needed next was to find more great wine but we also needed to find more great customers. Especially wine-adventurous, confident customers. So over the last few years we've increased our wine selection dramatically in an attempt to seduce more customers into our kind of wine. And no-one can say we haven't tried; we've imported so much weird and wonderful wine into New Zealand that, if we haven't found something that floats your boat by now, then, chances are we never will.
But we're not about to stop now. We can't help ourselves. Whenever we find really great wines, we just have to import them. Because that's what happens when you discover something really great, isn't it? You want to share it with others.
That first ever buying trip to France wasn’t all Steak Frites you know, we also discovered some of the finest wine producers we’ve ever come across, like Francois Chidaine, Domaine Grand Veneur, Bouvet–Ladubay and Charles de Fere: all absolutely sensational wine producers that we are immensely proud to have introduced to New Zealand.
We used to have to drag people off the street to get them to shop with us but these days it's all a bit more civilised. We keep in touch with our thirsty customers by email, website, phone and regular wine tastings and events. And we love the chance for a chat and a catch up with customers who pop in to any of our three Auckland stores. Things have come a long way since we moved out of our beloved, if modest, shop on St Marks Rd in Newmarket. It was an unlikely spot, tucked away underneath a motorway overbridge but man, we got through a lot of wine there. In more ways than one.
Today we can boast what is probably NZ's largest selection of imported wine. From the fabulous and rare, right down to those essential gluggable, everyday cheapies. The Wine Direct idea is still basically the same as it was back when it all began: to many people, imported wine often seems complicated, even intimidating, but it doesn't have to be that way. All you need is a quality wine merchant and some good advice. And that's exactly what we strive for every day. We strive to be the most accessible, relevant and interesting wine company in New Zealand.