My guess is that at some point everyone has had the experience of buying a bottle of wine and having no idea what the hell they’re doing. For some, this happened many years ago the first time that they had to pick up a bottle for a party (long before they became hardened wine snobs), and for others this was just last week on the way to a family outing. Either way, there’s a universality to the ‘I don’t know anything / just buy based on price / I’m feeling oddly intimidated’ feeling that can come from being a novice in a wine store. Moore Brothers does their best to solve this issue.
Now here’s the thing. Wine is one of those sectors that for whatever reason seems always to be tied to an air of arrogance. Independent of price or the friendly and approachable nature of the staff at a wine store, the fact that there is so much to know (coupled with wine still ultimately being about personal taste) can make for an overall feeling of intimidation when walking in to purchase a bottle. It’s a unique category because we can actually question the validity of our own opinions. I think I like this wine. Do I? Do I just not know better? That’s all tangential. The point is that Moore Brothers attempts to make this process a bit less daunting.
Everything about Moore Brothers is atypical for a wine store. The spot itself is in an office complex and has minimal signage (I blow by it all the time). The inside of the shop is perfectly temperature controlled and simply has five-foot-tall racks of wine set up in aisles. On the whole, it’s not a huge place, and the most surprising part for a new visitor is that they likely won’t carry a single bottle that you know. There’s no default Mondavi or Santa Margarita to grab when you get overwhelmed or pressed for time. Everything in the store has been hand-selected by Moore Brothers and essentially comes with their stamp of approval; they’ve built their business firmly on their own reputation. These guys do a ton of research, visit everywhere, and have settled in on a few key distributors whose wines they trust.
What’s great about this place is that they have a really clear approach to wine. They’re not price pigs (in that they love selling you a great, affordable bottle), and they know an incredible amount about all things wine. At times they may grill you about what you’ll be eating with your wine, and at times you may want to tell them that you have no idea yet, but their thorough nature often proves to be a real asset. You can have a conversation about great pizza wine, great wine to pair with fish, or the best bottle for a special occasion. While they will give you their own recommendations, they do a really nice job of trying to hone in on what it is that you like and then selecting a bottle (or bottles) that matches your tastes. If you have no idea, or just want to poke around, they’re great at pointing you toward a nice cross-section that can help you find your own favorites.
What we really love about Moore Brothers is that they’ve taken something that was previously for people ‘in the know’ and made it accessible to a larger base. I don’t necessarily need to read Wine Spectator or know who the hell Robert Parker is to go in, but if I do, they’re equally well equipped to help me out. I really like that they have an access point for all people.
So what’s the Onething you ask? As a broad stroke I’d say it’s that they’re known as the experts and they’ve found a way to share their expert status with everyone, not just wine-lovers, but the more I think about it, the more I think that it goes a bit further than that for Moore Brothers. By defining themselves as the experts (and doing countless things to support that claim, including speaking at the aforementioned Tria Fermenation School), Moore Brothers is able to do something completely unique for the wine industry: they’re able to convince me that there isn’t a bad bottle of wine in their store. Because I know that they’re crazy about wine and meticulous about the wines that they carry, I know that I can’t walk out of the store with something that isn’t a good bottle. Clearly there are degrees and I may not always personally love what I get, but I don’t have to ever worry about what I just purchased being an overpriced piece of crap. Moore Brothers has taken expert status and trust to a new level and created an environment where a consumer can actually shut off their brain and let these guys point you in the right direction.
If removed from Moore Brothers, this does serve as a good example of what the idea of shifting a paradigm is all about (something that everyone loves to say that their product or service does). By changing some of the rules, from the setup of your space, to your product line, to how you interact with customers, you can essentially begin to change the way that people think about your industry. The result, in addition to the increased loyalty to you, is that they begin to look at the others in your industry as inferior. Why would I go to the local wine huckster when I can go to Moore Brothers?]]></p>