Crown Wine Cellars: Beijing version to open tomorrow

By Jim Boyce

Crown Wine Cellar in Hong Kong is a
wee bit fancier than the Beijing digs 

The “grand opening” of the Crown Wine Cellar in Beijing is slated for tomorrow (April 10) at the new Crown Worldwide storage and logistics center outside the Fifth Ring Road. I toured the venue a few weeks ago with Palette Wines’ John Gai and Stefan Fleischer.

The project aims to mirror the success of Crown Wine Cellar in Hong Kong. The finishing touches were still being made and the team was a bit light on details, but here are some things I learned or observed:

– The cellar is four meters below ground and includes white walls, two long curving bars, and a second level that needs to be raised a bit to keep people below from bashing their heads on it. The storage area is in back. If photos of the cellar in Hong Kong are any indication, the Beijing establishment is quite a bit more downscale.

– Bottles will be stored in Crown Worldwide packaging, with bar codes used for tracking purposes. The capacity is apparently 50,000 bottles, though I only saw space for about 10,000 bottles. Each bay looks as though it could hold a few cases, but is designed to hold six bottles in the special packaging.

– Room access is to be limited to two staff and temperature and humidity is, obviously to be monitored and maintained.

– The target market is individual wine collectors and investors. We learned that the 15000-square-meter general storage area could be modified for use by wine distribution companies.

– Crown is capable of providing temperature-controlled delivery via its own or contracted vehicles.

The prices for storage was still not set, but here are some prices from Crown Wine Cellars in Hong Kong.
Gold Membership” is HKD688 per month and includes cellaring of up to 48 bottles, while “Platinum Membership” is HKD860 per month and covers 60 bottles. Both include membership into the club and require a one-time joining fee of HKD12888 and minimum one-year signup.

Corporate Membership” is HKD860 per card holder, with a maximum of 10, and one-time joining fee of HKD28000 and minimum one-year signup.

Storage of additional bottles starts at HKD1 and there is a HKD3 charge per bottle for “registration and handling/in/out.”

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