Wine World Warehouse: The Largest Wine Shop in the Northwest

By John ~ December 3rd, 2010.

If there is a more excited guy in Seattle today than Lenny Rede, he must literally be flying. Rede, the Operations Manager of the new Wine World Warehouse just off of I-5 at NE 45th Street in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, could hardly contain himself as he gave us a tour of their new wine superstore during the “friends and media” grand opening event Wednesday evening. Yesterday was the public grand opening of the business billed as “The Largest Wine Shop in the Northwest”; open 7 days a week from 11am-9pm.

“Our focus is to cover the value market of $20 and under, while giving the customer Nordstrom-quality customer service.” –Lenny Rede, Operations Manager

The front half of the store is devoted to Northwest wines, mostly from Washington. The other half of the store stocks wines from around the world, categorized by region. There are two thirty-foot long wine tasting bars in the center of the store where they plan to have free wine tastings every evening. There is also a window-lined 5,000 square foot catering area and event space along one side of the store.

Rede is “Mr. Inside” and Sommelier and Founder David LeClaire is “Mr. Outside” in this business, funded by 13 investors, many of them hands-on participants. “We just signed the lease on this old Office Max location in early October, so it’s been a race to get it renovated, licenses secured, and the store stocked and opened before the big rush of the holiday buying season,” said Rede.

According to Rede, Phase 1 is to get the bricks and mortar store staffed and up and running. Within months, he hopes to have twice as many different items for sale as they have today, including wine, beer, cheese, wine accessories, and gift items. Phase 2 includes a Reserve Cellar for special tastings, winemaker dinners, and the sale of cult wines, as well as a demo kitchen in which to hold classes on wine pairings, etc. Phase 3 is to get an online store up and running to compliment the bricks and mortar business.

Don’t let “Warehouse” in the store name fool you. While they plan to offer over 8,000 wines, many for under $20, in the 23,000 square foot store, the atmosphere is comfortable and modern with cushy leather chairs in a lounge area and flat screen TV’s above the tasting bars.

“Think Barnes & Noble rather than Costco.” –Lenny Rede, Operations Manager

When asked about their business model and their chances for success in this economy, Rede said, “At our price point, we need to move 70 cases of wine a day to make this work.” Can they do it? Only time will tell. They have a great location that quite frankly looks a little sparse right now, and they’ve had some startup operational glitches; but if you can turn enthusiasm into sales, Wine World Warehouse will be a huge success.

Filed under: General Wine Information, Washington State Wine, Wine Shops

Reader's Comments

  1. Brian White | December 3rd, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Sounds like a place I need to visit when I head up to Seattle next time!

    70 cases is a lot of throughput for a new concept I would think, but I really hope it succeeds!

    I really like that they focus on the value market, and I suspect they will of course be high quality value wines!

  2. Jenny | December 3rd, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Hmm now I want to visit Seattle. We are trying to decide what items to have in our future tasting room so good to see this

  3. Caleb Foster | December 3rd, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Yeah David and Lenny! Hit it guys! – if anyone can do this right you can…Looking forward to the reserve room and the great riesling isle…

  4. Robin Consani | December 3rd, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Great work, Lenny! Good to see you back with the public. I will definitely stop by next time in Seattle, just to hear your laugh

  5. Glenn Coogan | December 3rd, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Looking forward to visiting your new store soon. Sounds like a perfect concept, and hopefully the timing is right. Best Wishes

  6. John | December 3rd, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks to all of you for your comments. I think we are all rooting for them to succeed.

  7. Singapore online wine shopping | December 16th, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Really great to know about that and i am impressed with it. I think there are lots of wine shops in this world and because this is one of the most demanding thing in the world. Millions of people like it. Anyways keep it up and keep continue with your valuable thoughts!