Heathrow has been back in the fine wine business since 2010 with its Wine Collection Rare & Vintage shops, which travellers will find in Terminals 5
. Although not particularly large, these two shop-in-shops sell a great range of red wines, around 60% of them French and obviously geared to the Asian market.
Prices are not as stratospheric as at Paris CDG and travellers shouldn’t feel afraid to quiz the excellent staff about red wines from other famous European regions such as Rioja and Barolo, which are priced in the £20-100 price bracket. The Wine Collection shops make a point of selling some quirky wines from small family-owned companies, which are well worth discovering.
Where all three of the shops mentioned above fall down from a consumer’s perspective is in not having a website up and running to show travellers what they have in stock before they get to the airport. Asia’s largest travel-retailer DFS, whose fine wine shops at Singapore Changi airport are regularly praised for their selection, falls foul in the same way. In this day and age, an online presence for any retailer is mandatory in our book.
Dubai airport’s fine wine retailer Le Clos gets it right in this regard. The company’s well designed website (www.leclosnet.com) gives the low down on all the wines it stocks, including not only pricing details, but handy tasting notes, and even brief bios of the shop’s multi-lingual team of customer advisors. Importantly, the site allows travellers the chance to order online, and pick up their purchase on their return to Dubai without ever having to visit their store in Terminal 3.
airport’s liquor retailer Sky Connection also gets high marks for its consumer website, www.freeduty.com.hk
. All the great claret producing appellations of Bordeaux such as Pauillac, Saint Julien, Saint Émilion and Pomerol are here along with a sprinkling of New World wines. The retailer has a popular wine club for Hong Kong residents, and locals can order their wines and get them delivered to anywhere on the island.
Of course, not every has or wants to spend hundreds of pounds on a bottle of wine. Some holidaymakers just want to buy a reasonably priced bottle of local wine at the airport to remind them of their stay. Any list of airport retailers in wine-producing countries that excel at showcasing their national wines has to include SYD Tax & Duty Free at Sydney airport
(http://www.syddutyfree.com/category/wine-and-champagne/red-wine) somewhere near the top.