It still says “WineStyles” on the sign above the door, but the space on New Broad Street in the center of Baldwin Park has re-launched as Vintages, an independent wine bar and shop. The store dropped its affiliation with the Iowa-based wine bar chain at the end of last year.
There’s a new owner, but manager Robby Burroughs is staying on as wine-guy-in-chief. He plans to transition the space into a serious wine establishment that reflects Orlando wine consumers’ evolving tastes and growing sophistication.
At one time, WineStyles had multiple locations in Florida, but by the end of last year, Baldwin Park was the last one standing. The format caters largely to wine novices. Each franchise has a relatively small selection, and the wines are organized by character – crisp, silky, rich, smooth, etc. It was perfect for Central Florida a decade ago, but with the recent explosion in food and wine culture, Burroughs says consumers are now demanding a larger selection of more sophisticated wines.
He says Vintages will meet that demand with an expanded and more varied inventory, as well as a slightly more upscale look. He’ll bring in traditional wine racks that accommodate more bottles than the cubby-hole shelving left over from WineStyles. He also plans to add lounge seating to complement the existing high-tops.
A few things will stay the same. Vintages will continue to offer a wine club; and it’s still hosting Saturday afternoon tastings from 4-6pm (free for club members, $5 for everyone else).
As for events, Burroughs is focusing on entertainment for now – trivia and game nights, live music on Friday evenings, etc. But he plans to start offering wine-centered events and tastings soon.
Baldwin Park certainly deserves a serious wine bar. The neighborhood is already a mini-Mecca for food with Jason Chin’s Osprey Tavern and Seito Sushi leading the way. The Nest is doing wonderfully creative things with craft cocktails too.
Vintages has the potential to fill a void in the area and to make an important contribution to Central Florida’s growing and evolving wine scene.
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