No Sour Grapes for Wine Industry

Tastings Wine Bar Launches National Franchise Expansion to "Bottle Up" Greater Share of $30 Billion U.S. Retail Wine Sales

October 10, 2008 // Franchising.com // St. Petersburg, FL – For once, the biggest news in the juicy wine industry is not coming from California – but from Florida. Tastings – a wine experience, the St. Petersburg, Florida-based wine bar and retail wine shop, is out to capture an even greater share of the nation's $30 billion retail wine sales by spearheading franchise expansion plans that call for 200 new locations in the next three years.

Featuring a friendly atmosphere, non-intimidating wine education and more than 100 varieties of wine, Tastings has proved that although many industries are suffering, wine sales are increasing each year, making the United States the largest retail wine market in the world.

"Great wine and a fun, friendly atmosphere in which to enjoy it should be available to all consumers – not just those that consider themselves 'wine connoisseurs," said Penny Maso, President of Tastings. "Tastings has removed the elitist perception from the wine industry, and has focused instead on the most innovative technology, the best selection of wines from around the world, and a stylish, customer-focused atmosphere where everybody has a great time."

When creating the Tastings business model, Maso utilized innovative wine sampling technology but took it one step further by creating a wine bar and atmosphere that was enjoyable and welcoming to all wine drinkers – from the average, social wine drinker to the most knowledgeable and dedicated wine connoisseur.

"We believe Tastings is more than just a wine bar – we're a wine sharing experience. We make sure that everyone who walks through our doors is enjoying, savoring, sampling, relaxing and delighting in the wine and the atmosphere we provide," said Maso.

The sampling experience begins when guests purchase pre-paid electronic cards that allow them to access the self-serve technology and purchase the wines by the taste, the half glass or a full glass. Once consumers find their favorite selections, full bottles are available for purchase.

In addition to wine, Tastings' guests can enjoy a variety of food and wine pairings from artisan cheeses and charcuterie to an innovative tapas-style menu. By using state of the art technology and high-quality ingredients an exceptional food experience can be enjoyed by Tastings' customers making Tastings more than just a wine bar. Tastings also offers a selection of hand crafted beers from around the world and select locations also offer boutique hand crafted Spirits. Customers can also browse works by International Artist Leanne Laine, and shop the retail offerings. Tastings locations are ideal venues for special events such as corporate events, private parties, winemaker visits, and other community-driven celebrations.

Currently, Tastings has six franchise locations in St. Petersburg, FL; Decatur, Ga.; Sarasota, FL; Grapevine, TX; Ft, Meyers, FL and Mystic, Conn. and will soon open its newest franchise locations in Orlando, Florida and Indianapolis, Indiana. Meanwhile, the booming wine bar and retail shop is seeking additional qualified franchise owners to open new Tastings locations in strategic markets throughout the country.

"With the ability to sample more great wines than any of our competitors, and serve wines at their perfect state and temperature, Tastings is the clear choice for consumers – and entrepreneurs," said Maso. "The Tastings franchise opportunity is a low inventory, low labor investment that offers franchise partners multiple revenue streams in a fun and fast-growing industry. Tastings delivers a concept and franchise opportunity that is going to bring the enjoyment of wine to the masses, and bring a fulfilling and profitable business opportunity to its franchise owners."

About Tastings

Founded in 2005, Tastings is a wine bar and retail wine shop that encourages guests to enjoy and sample more than 100 different varieties of wine in a friendly, stylish and non-intimidating atmosphere. Founded by two couples that are wine enthusiasts, friends and neighbors, Tastings features the most innovative wine-sampling technology and a customer-focused environment conducive to the most enjoyable wine experience. Franchising since August 2006, Tastings currently has six locations in operation and projections to reach 200 franchised stores by 2011. For additional franchise opportunity information, please visit www.awineexperience.com

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