Russian entrepreneur opens hedonistic wine superstore

A shop billing itself as “the best wine retailer in the world” has been opened in London’s West End by the founder of Russia’s largest mobile phone retailer.

Hedonism Wines covers 700sq m over two floors in upmarket Mayfair and lists some 4,500 wines and 1,500 spirits.

It has been set up by Yevgeny Chichvarkin, founder of Yevroset, the Russian equivalent of Carphone Warehouse, which he sold in 2008 before moving to London.

Hedonism chief executive Tatiana Fokina, whose background is in luxury retailing, said: “He has a passion for retail and for wine and decided to combine the two.

“He looked around London and felt there wasn’t a wine shop that could really be called the best in range and with levels of customer service that live up to the standards of luxury retail.”

The shop is employing 15 sales people, chosen from 250 interviewees, many of them ex-sommeliers from leading restaurants and some from high-end wine retail backgrounds, including Harrods and Majestic.

Fokina said: “We were trying to find people who had a vast knowledge of wine to be able to talk to customers, which is important when you have such a big range, but also to be able to give high levels of concierge-type service.”

Former Harrods wine buyer Alistair Viner is handling wine buying, with Toby Cutler – formerly a business development manager with supplier Eaux de Vie and manager for Wimbledon Wine Cellar – as spirits buyer.

Fokina said the store, which includes a children’s play area and a temperature and humidity-controlled environment, had been two years in the planning.

“There are a lot of collectible and iconic wines,” she added. “We’ve got the largest collection of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and lots of premier cru Bordeaux, but we also have wines starting at £12 and 600 products below £30.

“Not everyone wants or can afford an 1811 Château d’Yquem but hopefully we have something for everyone.”

The store claims to be the first to have Enomatic’s Flute tasting machines for Champagne, and has 40 still wines in Enomatics.

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