I discovered the San Francisco Wine Center in August 2010 when a friend of mine decided to move his wine from Vinfolio to San Francisco Wine Center after some frustration with the Vinfolio system; we did a field trip to Vinfolio to pick up his wine and then dropped it off at the San Francisco Wine Center. As we headed over, my friend said to me, “You’re going to be shocked what a different model this is from what you just saw at Vinfolio; it’s night and day.”
He was right; instead of a state-of-the-art warehousing system where your cellar ends up stored in boxes in different parts of the building (making it quite labor intensive for them if you want to pull a few bottles of wine as they might be stored in a handful of different locations around the warehouse), I discovered an intimate warehouse full of individual storage lockers. My friend was frustrated that he had to plan ahead to pull his wine at Vinfolio and liked that at the San Francisco Wine Center, he could swing by at the drop of a hat and access his wine, allowing him to grab a bottle on the way to a dinner party. Interestingly, we have a few of clients who live in other states who are less interested in this convenience factor and are more interested in using us to securely age their wines; they visit a few times a year to grab bottles or we ship them their wine when they are ready to crack open a few bottles.
Perhaps it’s because of the way it was presented to me that I shared my friend’s bias – the idea of my wine ending up scattered around a warehouse slightly scared me. Rationally, I knew that the system was solid and the bar code on my wine would keep it from getting lost; however, the control freak in me who spent so much money building my cellar didn’t want other people touching my wine. If I wasn’t going to store it at home, I would want it to be locked up so only I could touch it.
That’s what is so brilliant about the model Brian has at the SF Wine Center, in my personal opinion. Your wine is not accessible to anyone but you (unless you give Brian the key to your locker so that he can mail you bottles at your summer home or put your latest wine club shipment into it if have it set up to ship directly to us) and it’s safer than keeping it at your home (unless your home wine cellar or wine refrigerator comes equipped with the same kind of extremely sensitive security system that we have installed at the wine center).
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a dozen storage members so far and am excited to meet many more of our collectors at our holiday party on Thursday, December 9 from 6 – 9 p.m.