WESTLAKE VILLAGE/ THOUSAND OAKS WINE WARS?

Rumor has it that the Duke of Bourbon will be moving their considerable retail establishment to the Westlake Village/Thousand Oaks area in the near future. If that is so, they will join Wade’s Wines, the largest independent retailer in the area, along with Bev-Mo and the behemoth Total Wines and Spirits and Costco, which are already here. This is in addition to dozens of smaller retailers, grocery stores with large wine departments, and several new tasting rooms and custom crush operations.

I guess the question is, how much wine can one area consume? While Westlake Village is home to many wealthy wine consumers, bringing another mega-retailer to the area may well mean that some thinning out will result.

Total Wine and Spirits carries about 9,000 wines, and Wade’s recently expanded to carry about that same number, plus they added to their bar/tasting room. Bev-Mo offers several thousand wines and their famous 5 cents sale, which, due to the competition, is happening nearly every month. Costco in Westlake Village has a huge wine inventory for a Costco, but definitely not the selection of the other large shops.

It remains to be seen what kind of operation the Duke will bring to the area, but I assume that they will be in the same ballpark as the bigger retailers noted above. It will be interesting to see how all of this evolves. For a while, anyway, it should be very good for consumers, as the big boys will fight for market share with discounts. Wine lovers will likely be attracted from other areas to shop, taste, and explore what should be an amazing selection of wines and wine-related items.

There is also news on the wine bar and tasting room fronts here. The WineYard recently closed (one of my favorite places), citing package store competition from Total Wines and Spirits and wine bar completion from Bellavino and The Stonehaus as primary factors. The Stonehaus, a recent addition on the Westlake Village Inn property has been packed on two recent visits. The combination of indoor and outdoor seating and the very pleasant surroundings (including a small vineyard), make for a very nice experience.

On the tasting room front, two new tasting rooms have opened in the area – Alma Sol, sharing space with Sunland Wines in Thousand Oaks (see previous post about our visit there), and Altabella Custom Crush in Westlake Village. These join the Cuvee Terrace and J. Hamilton Wines in Westlake Village. There are apparently some others coming soon, adding to the wine-centric focus in this area of late. And all of this within a few miles of the emerging wine AOC’s in Malibu and the many tasting rooms there.

So consider Westlake Village/Thousand Oaks a new wine destination in California. Meanwhile, we will see how all of this shakes out..

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