Just two months after its closing stunned the community, Water to Wine is making a comeback.
Owner Steve Lynn said he has received a temporary liquor license from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, allowing him to reopen the popular wine shop inside , the wine bar and restaurant he owns with Stephanie Huddleston.
The new shop's home will be in the gallery, where Morso also hosts its art exhibits. So customers shouldn’t expect to see a conventional wine store when they walk into the room.
Lynn is reopening Water to Wine under a new business approach – one that works in coordination with Morso and won’t require him to pay for and carry a full-blown wine inventory up front.
“It’s a more intimate seller sort of approach than it is--here’s my row after row of wine,” said Lynn. “I still have access to all of the wines that we had before. I’m just not going to physically own all of them.”
It was the cash challenges of maintaining an extensive wine inventory in combination with changing regulations and competition that brought on in January.
What Lynn proposes for the new store is a combination on-site/on-demand method of selling wine to customers. The store will carry a limited selection of wines on the premises, but customers who want others will be able to order them.
They will also be able to order wines featured at tasting events and Morso-catered winemaker dinners.
The new business approach offers a better way to manage inventory without requiring square footage or hundreds of thousands of dollars of upfront capital, said Lynn. It also allows him to meet a need that Water to Wine customers have said they want.
“After we closed, we heard from lots of customers that said they wanted us to do something,” said Lynn. “I like the concept we developed. I think it will work.”
Water to Wine’s popular wine clubs and its “Good for You” loyalty program will be part of the new store along with its tasting and dinner events.
Other than a couple of “processing things,” Lynn said the necessary permitting and logistics for the new Water to Wine have been completed. Nevertheless, he declined to give an opening date.
“I’m going to do it when I’m ready,” he said.
No doubt, Gig Harbor wine lovers will be hoping that Lynn will be ready soon.