Lettuce Entertain You to launch online wine store
The host of Check, Please! and the Director of Wine & Spirits for Lettuce Entertain You (LEYE) has another project up her sleeve. With the launch later this year of Lettuce Wine Cellars, Alpana Singh will expand from selecting wines for restaurants to choosing bottles for those who prefer to drink in the comfort of their livings rooms (or BYOBs, if you insist). Lettuce Wine Cellars, an online wine store with selections by the Master Sommelier, brings Singh back to her beginnings in the wine business. "My roots are actually in retail. My first job in the wine business was working at a little retail store in Carmel [California]," Singh recalls. She stayed in retail before moving to Chicago to direct the wine program at Everest, and the idea of adding a retail arm to Lettuce has been with her ever since. With the success of the very small retail component at Foodlife ("It's amazing"; Singh says, "Out of that little area, we actually sell sixty to sometimes a hundred bottles of wine a week."), the company began plans to launch a wine store—a virtual one.
"Let's face it: Wine is heavy," Singh explains. "You gotta lug it home, you gotta carry it, etcetera. When we were thinking about where to put this place, number one question is, well: Where are they gonna park the cars so we can put the wine in the trunk? And we thought, wow, wouldn't it be great to have it sent directly to their doors! And so that's where the online component came in." The wines will all be selected by Singh, with Lettuce's emphasis on approachability at the forefront. "Wine is so confusing!," Singh exclaims, "I mean, I go into the retail store and I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, what do I pick?' And if I'm experiencing that, I can only imagine what our guests are experiencing sometimes. And so this is an opportunity for me to go out there, taste the wines, and figure out, wow, that's really good!"
Lettuce Wine Cellars is slated to launch in summer or fall. You can follow along with Singh's selections at LettuceWineCellars.com.