This page is dedicated to informing friends and neighbors (and future friends, hopefully!) about our plans to open a second location at 4601 Dryades Street in the Dryades neighborhood Uptown. Here's what's happening now:
We have reached out to the neighbors to discuss our plans and address their questions and concerns. The city requires us to host at least one community meeting prior to application for conditional use. Ours is scheduled for:
Tuesday, September 3 at 5:30 PM
4618 Dryades Street
^ This location is on the same block as our proposed spot, across the street. It is a building that is currently under renovation, but it is ADA accessible and climate controlled. Beverages and some chairs will be provided. (It's a big empty space, but we'll make it comfortable.)
While only one community meeting is required by the city, we plan to host a few more. Why? Well, the first reason is civic responsibility. Even if the city didn't require us to hold a meeting, we'd hold several, anyway. We believe that residents should have a say in the use of the commercial areas near their homes. We really have no interest in opening a store where it isn't wanted.
And the second reason for more meetings? Well, a tricky part of our plan is that it will require a text amendment. See, Wine Shops aren't yet legal Uptown. Nor anywhere else, for that matter, except on the St. Claude Corridor between Elysian Fields and Press St. (that's because of us). The legalization of wine shops will have to take place slowly, over time, zoning district by zoning district. We are hoping that HU-B1 will be the second zoning district in the city where Wine Shops are allowed (conditional use). To get Wine Shops legalized in HU-B1, which encompasses a whole lot of Uptown commercial real estate, we'll need to educate and gain the support of the entire Uptown community. Over time, we hope that this use will be expanded to other zoning districts, because wine shops are really, really great.
What's a Wine Shop?
So glad you asked.
A wine shop is a truly wonderful place where you can browse a selection of fine wines from around the world. Knowledgeable people are on-hand to explain the inventory, answer all your questions, and hopefully, inspire new questions. Wine shop staff will get to know you and your preferences, and can make amazing wine & food recommendations that will improve the quality of your meals, gatherings, and life. Wine shops are the best places to learn about wine. They are great places to try wine. Wine shops hold regular wine tastings, and have a selection of offerings for sale by-the-glass at a very neighborhood-friendly price (much lower than wine bars and restaurants). Wine shops are happy places. They have artisanal cheeses, cured meats, chocolate, tinned seafood and other gourmet foods, condiments and pantry items from all over the world. Wine shops are welcoming community spaces with chairs and tables and plenty of books. They are ideal spots for community meetings, board games, foreign language conversation groups, hobby circles, business meetings, friend dates and romantic dates. Families with kids and babies are welcome. Wine shops should provide a safe, inclusive, family-friendly environment for shopping, sipping, working, meeting, and other relatively quiet activities.
OK, but legally, What's a Wine Shop?
The CZO (City Zoning Ordinance) has a definition for "Wine Bar/Wine Shop" that was created in 2012. This definition is okay, but we're proposing some changes to it. For one, we want to change the name to "Wine Shop," because a wine shop is NOT a wine bar, and the word "bar" has no business being in the title. A wine shop is primarily a retail store, although it does allow for some on-site wine consumption. This is necessary because the buying and selling of wine is a confusing business. Often, the label doesn't provide the consumer with enough information. The staff needs to help, but the language of wine is murky and highly subjective. A certain translation needs to occur, and this type of communication is facilitated when customers and staff regularly taste wine together.
On-site wine consumption also helps to make wine shops a viable option for small gatherings, whether they be meetings between friends, coworkers, hobbyists, or community organizers. A little bit of sipping on-premise (but not too much) provides a sort of connective tissue that weaves communities together. For centuries, people have been gathering, speaking, negotiating, agreeing, disagreeing, and connecting over glasses of wine. This is the torch we carry into the modern world.
Our text amendment proposal would redefine the Wine Shop as such:
Wine Shop. An establishment whose principal business is the retail sale of wine made from grapes, and where the sales of wine made from grapes (for on or off-premise consumption) produces seventy-five (75) percent or more of the gross revenue for said establishment, where seventy-five (75) percent of the shelving and display of retail merchandise consists of wine made from grapes, but where distilled spirits may also be sold for off-premise consumption, where fifty (50) percent or more of the usable space of the establishment is used to display products for retail sale, where on-premise consumption of wine made from grapes (sales of wines by-the-glass, and free wine tastings) is permitted, where the sales of wine for on-premise consumption does not exceed 10% of the overall gross revenue for said establishment, where distilled spirits are not offered for on-premise consumption, where neither live entertainment nor gambling are provided, where package liquor products are not advertised outside nor off the premises nor in any place visible from the exterior of the premises, and where smoking is prohibited in all indoor areas.
Okay, so you see that, right? No liquor can be served on-premise. On-premise wine sales must be limited to 10% or less of gross revenue. A wine shop is not a bar.
Once a conditional use is approved for a wine shop, it could never be converted into a liquor store or a bar without neighborhood consent.
This is important! Under the current CZO, a wine shop operator would be required to apply for a permit to operate a package liquor store, and then also apply for a permit to operate a bar. This is lousy, because a true Wine Shop is neither a package liquor store, nor a bar. Another big problem with the current system is that if a wine shop (supported by the community) were to go out of business for some reason, the site could be converted to a liquor store (selling lotto and cigarettes), or a bar, without community involvement, legally. Our text amendment would prevent this.
We know that wine shops can be a positive addition to healthy, walkable communities. However, bars and liquor stores are not always wanted in residential areas. That's why the creation of the Wine Shop designation is so important: it provides for a welcome amenity and a cultural asset, while protecting residents.
New Orleans prides itself on its food culture and Caribbean-European vibe. The legalization of Wine Shops will enhance the culinary and cultural traditions of our great city.
Tuesday, Sept 3rd, 5:30 PM
Currently there are no other meetings scheduled. Please check back for updates.