A NEW COMMUNITY HANGOUT OFFERS EVERYTHING FROM BOTTLES TO BEATS
Buy a bottle. Bring a friend. A new wine and spirits store is reinventing the BYOB hangout concept. The Vine, Spirits & Wine, at 5887 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, invites the community to bring friends and not only purchase premium spirits, but also to sit back and enjoy them there—together.
The Vine opened in February in the Empire Shopping Center—centrally located to Brentwood, Antioch, and Oakley. The concept is unique. As owner, Waley Ahmed explains, “We saw a need for a premium bottle store that was welcoming to anyone, anytime. We didn’t want to be the typical liquor corner store or resemble a corporate-owned retailer. We are a family-owned, mom-and-pop that looks fancy, but probably has the cheapest prices in town. We’re aesthetically pleasing, yet comfortable and inviting.”
At The Vine, Waley and his staff educate customers on their highly curated collection of the best wine, beer, spirits, and liquor and then invite them to enjoy in their lounge area, bar top, mini bar areas, or near the stage.
On the weekends, the cocktail bar opens, and they host events such as wine, distillery, celebrity alcohol, or craft beer tastings, as well as club nights with live music. They bring in Tri-County vineyards to partner for local wine tasting, and they often invite local food trucks and other small businesses to participate. Recently, The Vine hosted Bottomless Mimosa Day with a local pastry chef who brought in baked goods. These events are open to the public and are always community-focused, showcasing local vineyards, artists, vendors, and makers. For a calendar of what is happening next, visit thevineca.com.
And of course, they also rent the space out for private events and offer bartending services.
“We love supporting the community and see that as a primary focus,” Waley said. “We keep everything we can local and want to rally behind other small businesses in the region.”
“In trying to describe the business model, it’s like Bevmo meets a farmers’ market with a local bar vibe.”
WHAT’S FOR SALE
The Vine carefully selects the wine they stock; most are from Byron, Monterey, Sonoma, the Russian River area, and Napa. They also sell curated spirits like tequilas and bourbons that you cannot find anywhere else. Regarding liquor, they carry all the staples to guarantee you can purchase whatever bottle you need.
“We have the best of all types of wine and spirits, and we price them without a markup,” Waley said. “We are most always less expensive than the big retail stores, and that’s intentional. For the more common brands we stock, we research competitors and always strive to beat their prices. It goes back to our vision to be community-centric with a comfortable quality.”
In trying to describe the business model, it’s like BevMo meets a farmers’ market with a local bar vibe.
In addition, The Vine is also a premium smoke shop, offering all tobacco and vaping products for day-to-day needs.
“We like to tell the stories here,” Waley explained. “We curate our selections on quality, taste, and background of the spirit.” For example, he always stocks tequila brand Mijenta because it is woman-owned, and 80% of the employees are also female.
“We also focus on education,” Waley added. “People travel to Napa to learn about wines. We wanted to do that here. Even beyond wine tasting, we strive to educate the customer on the many differences between brands of liquor and spirits.”
THE VINE RECORDS
In the back of the space, Waley operates a family-owned recording studio: The Vine Records. He works with the biggest artists in the Bay Area, many of whom come from the East Bay. He has an engineer, videographer, and producer on staff, and is excited to offer a full-service recording experience from production to promotion and management. Artists can rent the space to record their music, then host an album release party in the front of the store and minibar area.
Waley has always been into music, producing beats for nearly ten years. “With The Vine Records, I wanted to offer a full-service, A-Z recording studio in NorCal. Many musicians have to travel to SoCal with its entertainment focus. We needed the same quality studio and services here in our community.”
In addition to drinks and music, The Vine is committed to supporting local artists. Currently, local tattoo artist Lil D is painting an indoor mural. It will showcase the store’s focus on the local community, bringing in visual imagery of Brentwood, Oakley, and Antioch.
The Vine, Spirits & Wine is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. You can follow them on Instagram at thevineca.
Q & A WITH WALEY
What’s your favorite liquor right now? “I’d have to say DeLeon Premium, which is a tequila by celebrity P Diddy. Most celebrities just take an already produced liquor and brand it as theirs. This one is completely unique. It’s super smooth, much like Don Julio but not overplayed or basic. The quality is great with fewer after-effects the next day. I also really like Mijenta Tequila.”
What question do customers ask you the most? “They are often curious about what wine to choose. I always explain that ‘top tier’ doesn’t always mean expensive. Some local vineyards—Sonoma, Monterey, and Santa Barbara—produce the highest quality wines with hand-selected grapes that are free from all the fluff.”
What wines do you recommend most often? “I really like Silk & Spice. It’s actually imported from Portugal and is only $13. But it is a great, red blend that is fruity, ripe, juicy, and the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. Also, if someone is looking for a dessert wine, I point them to Three Layer Cake.”
Is there a local brand you strongly believe in? “Definitely. We have two extraordinary Black women entrepreneurs right here in Antioch who bottle wonderful wines. Black Excellence and The Pour Up wines were started from the ground-up by women in their 20s—a lot of hustle behind them. I also love Mezcal by Dos Gabachos. One of the founders was a rapper in his early days and is also from Antioch. The spirit is complex and very unique.”
Photo By German Siu