May 19, 2023
As part of a major expansion plan, private members’ wine club 67 Pall Mall is to open a site in the heart of the city of Bordeaux in time for en primeur 2025, the drinks business can exclusively reveal.
Speaking to db this morning, Grant Ashton, founder and CEO of 67 Pall Mall, said it was logical for the wine club to extend its model to the “centre of the world of wine”, citing not only the city’s high number of resident wine professionals, but also dearth of places in Bordeaux where one can sample mature fine wine from the region’s top châteaux.
“Economically, Burgundy is the flavour of the month, but historically, Bordeaux is the centre of the world of wine, and the reality is that there is not actually that much Bordeaux in Bordeaux,” he told db.
Qualifying the latter part of this statement, he said that the restaurants in and around the city of Bordeaux don’t tend to stock a broad range of mature fine wines for their customers because it would be too expensive to do so.
As a result, a wine collector or trade professional would be more likely to be able to sample fine, mature Bordeaux in places such as London, Singapore or Hong Kong, rather than the city of Bordeaux.
As for people working in the wine industry in the region of Bordeaux, Ashton believes the 67 Pall Mall concept – a wine club for professionals and collectors – would serve as a convenient as well as upmarket place for them to sample and share their wines.
With a who’s who of Bordeaux châteaux backing the project, Ashton told db that the people behind the great estates of the region wanted a place “to show off their product beautifully in the middle of town – because that is where virtually everyone lives.”
“If you are up in Saint-Estèphe, it takes you 1.5 hours to get back to Bordeaux, and I sense from a bunch of châteaux that they want a place in the centre of Bordeaux where they can show their wines – even though they do have amazing tasting rooms in the Medoc,” he said.
Such confidence in the concept has led Ashton, with support from local and international investors, to put in as much as €10 million into developing the site, which is located just 200m from the city’s Grand-Théâtre, in Bordeaux’s Triangle d’Or.
But 67 Pall Mall Bordeaux won’t just be a private members’ club and will feature a wine bar for the public on the ground floor, which, he said, will offer “the most amazing Bordeaux-led wine list”, for the 6-7 million tourists that visit Bordeaux every year.
Indeed, while the city of Bordeaux’s population (250,000) is quite small for a club such as 67 Pall Mall, which presently has outlets in London and Singapore, Ashton stressed that the potential for success for the 67 Pall Mall Bordeaux was high, not just based on the possibility to serve tourists – “who, ultimately, go to Bordeaux for the wine” – but also due to the 60,000 people he estimates work in the region’s wine sector.
He said that it was his belief that the wine trade would welcome a central place in Bordeaux to serve and sample fine wine, just as they would in another, even smaller French city – Beaune – where 67 Pall Mall also have a site, which is due to open in 2025 too.
As for Ashton’s other club, which opened in late 2021 in Verbier in Switzerland, that draws on large influx of visitors to the resort town during the ski season.
Notably, Ashton told db that the sites in Beaune and Bordeaux were the next steps in a planned overseas expansion for 67 Pall Mall that would see the group open a further five wine clubs, with Hong Kong coming next, followed by Melbourne, then Sydney, Tokyo and Shanghai over the next seven years.
Ashton himself is now “centred out of Singapore,” and “reverse commuting back to London”, where 67 Pall Mall’s HQ is based, as well as his family – who he said he plans to move to Singapore next year.
Commenting on his decision to move to the Far East, he said, “I see a lot of opportunity in Asia.”
The Drinks Business: 67 Pall Mall to open wine club in Bordeaux as part of a major expansion plan
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