The first rule of wine club: Talk about wine club.
Word is getting around, which brings a smile to Kyle Fuller’s face. The owner of Divine Wine & Craft kicked off a wine club last year to determine Abbeville residents’ interest level.
The answer is satisfying. Nearly 40 people attended the December event, he said. The crowd for January’s event was smaller, a fact Fuller attributed to the colder winter weather.
So far, one of the most popular wines is pinot grigio, he said. The business sells more of it than any other wine. Fuller said he’s not sure why, but it is an easy-drinking wine, neither super strong nor super sweet.
Another favorite is a Belles Eaux, a French pinot noir. It’s smooth, not too earthy. Fuller said it’s probably his No. 1 selling red wine.
“I enjoy wine too, but I’m still learning,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn about it.” It’s important to taste, to learn what you like, and then go on.
Fuller started the wine operation in August and located it in his primary business, Divine Your Space. At the time, he sold more white wines and roses. One of the things Fuller said he’s learned is tastes seem to be seasonal. He is now selling more reds than whites.
“I think people associate red being heavier or more warming. They’re usually served as room temperature,” Fuller said.
The wine club presents wines the business doesn’t usually stock. For a $50 membership, people can pick up four bottles of wine. Fuller said people can sign up by the 22nd of each month and then visit Divine Your Space the first Friday of the next month from 4-7 p.m. to pick up the month’s selections.
Complimentary wine pours are available for members, who also get a free reusable wine pick-up bag.
February’s event will be the fourth meeting. “We’re calling it our ‘Friday Night Flight Night,’” he said.
Most members of the wine club are women, from 35-54 years old, he said. Most people buy wine to drink, but some use the wine in recipes. It’s still a family event. Fuller said December’s event featured a bonfire and S’mores were available for children. Events also have featured music.
“I want people to give new wines a chance and try something different,” he said. “I personally enjoy little wine and beer stops, going to another town and finding something unusual.”
“I want people to feel this is a spot where they can get something different from anything else in a 15-20-mile radius,” Fuller said.
The kernel for the wine club sprouted from Fuller’s work on wine walks sponsored by the Downtown Merchants Association. He said he got feedback on various wines from the events.
His plans include offering a beer garden for St. Patrick’s Day, he said, along with perhaps developing a beer subscription service.
Other downtown businesses are involved in the endeavor. Fuller said he is talking with the owners of Our Daily Bread bakery to offer foods at events. Indigenous Underground offers wines with its meals. If people enjoy the wine, they can walk across the street to buy a bottle.
Fuller also is talking with a local barbecue food truck vendor to offer meals at events starting in March. He also is talking to a slushy wine vendor; he may offer them in spring. “They’re good; I’ve tried them.”
Fuller said he hopes to evolve, such as providing cards to learn customers’ likes and developing subscriptions of varying lengths, and marketing the club as a gift option.
Divine Wine & Crafts also offers workshops where people can enjoy beer or wines while learning.
“I’m still in the process of learning,” he said. “I mainly want people to come in and check it out.”