Blacksburg Wine Lab is so named because it will be designed to be a place that encourages clients to “experiment” with new wines; the “lab” also has a connotation of a place to learn and discover, a fitting theme for a university town. We plan a wine “salon” of sorts in the historical sense: that as a regular social gathering of eminent people (especially scholars, intellectuals, writers, artists). Blacksburg Wine Lab will be such a setting for people in Blacksburg: a refined environment for professionals and community members to meet, learn, share, and interact over wine. A unique feature of this establishment is its educational mission: not only will it feature wines from lesser-known regions of the world, but it will host regular wine lessons, lectures, special guests, and special events: a true community center with wine as a common denominator.
What Makes Us Different?
Unlike traditional bars (even other wine bars) and retail wine shops, we plan to have a diverse selection of products available on a regular basis. Typically, other wine bar menus and wine stores are predictable, offering typically a California Chardonnay, a light Pinot Grigio from Italy, a Malbec from Argentina, a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon, a fruity light wine, a true Champagne, and an alternative cheaper fizzy wine from somewhere else. This standard approach is taken by retail establishments so they can offer a little something for everyone that comes in and therefore pleases the greatest number of people, makes them comfortable by offering a variety of the most popular wines that they can recognize by name/style, and thus increases sales; in other words, their wine selections are a mile wide and an inch deep.
Blacksburg Wine Lab aims to turn convention on its head, and do the exact opposite. While we aim to serve many of the most recognizable basics that customers are familiar with, we plan to also be serving 12 to 15 wines every month from a lesser-known wine region of the world (e.g. Sardinia, Loire Valley, Greece, Georgia, China), with every new month focusing on a new region, and educating the clientele about these wines along the way. While the focus will be on a single region’s wines, we will also plan on serving a great diversity of wines from that region, meaning that there will be a variety of red wines, white wines, rosé wines, and sparkling and dessert wines from that region, of differing qualities and costs.
The approach is monolithic only in its focus on a unique region every month; the diversity of products offered will appeal to all tastes and preferences. Our selection will aim to be an inch wide and a mile deep on a rotating basis and we believe this will have the effect of keeping customers engaged, intrigued, and enlightened about the newest and exciting undiscovered wines of the world. This monthly rotation of wine focus has the added benefit of essentially making the menu brand new every month, and the bar itself a constantly rejuvenated source of inspiration and culinary adventure. A new month, a whole new wine bar, keeping clients always wanting to come back for more, to discover unknown territories of wine. But the uniqueness doesn’t end there, and our educational mission is embraced at multiple scales.
The planned look for the interior of Blacksburg Wine Lab is open and airy; refined and elegant, yet relaxed and comfortable. Expose open overhead, recycled vintage barn wood, concrete counter tops and flooring combine to illicit a industrial/post-industrial decor. Art displayed on the walls will focus on the theme of science, technology, experimentation, and laboratories, and we are working with a master glass blower/artist to create decorative pieces utilizing antique lab equipment and glass, thus melding art and science together into a space that elicits fascination and curiosity. The Wine Lab includes both a front and back patio space, providing the possibility of additional seating. The front patio will be surrounded by tasteful fencing and planters allowing for a peaceful scenery. The back porch is already partially covered, partially open-air, sunken “private garden” that produces an organic space/secret oasis feel in this back-patio area. Our aim is to utilize local businesses and experts as much as possible to truly create a community space that has been built by the community.
$5 High Five
Donate five to us, and we give you a digital hi-five right back, along with our undying gratitude for your support! Also allows you to follow along with the Kickstarter and automatically subscribes you to our Wine Lab list serve of activities and education for life! What better use of a fiver? (unlimited)
$23 Sticker Duo
A most amazing dyad of adhesive emblems! One sticker of the newly established Wine Lab logo + One sticker of the eminently iconic Plaid Avenger head! (unlimited)
$29 Coaster Set
A stellar set of Blacksburg Wine Lab cork coasters! Save your furniture from nefarious wine ring stains with this set of 4 stylish stain-stopping discs! (unlimited)
$47 Plaid Pint Glass
Become one of the few, the proud, the plaid owners of the most sought after pint glasses in modern drinking history! This donation level scores you a rare Plaid Avenger pint glass, brought out of retirement for this single production, one-time run…and in new and improved blue plaid! (unlimited)
$59 Wine Lab Glass Set
Drink in stemless style! A pair of (2) Blacksburg Wine Lab stemless wine glasses will be yours for this donation level, arriving just in time for all your summertime swirling and sniffing delights! (unlimited)
$61 Wine Lab Pocket T-shirt
Slurp your Chardonnay in fashion style! Blacksburg Wine Lab logo pocket T-shirt. (unlimited)
$79 Wine Lab “Bacchus Backer” Ringer T-shirt
Want to be even more Wine Lab fashionably special? Jump up to this donation level to sport this limited run “Bacchus Backer” Blacksburg Wine Lab white T-shirt with maroon ringer neck and sleeves, logo on front and large art on back, designates your special 79 dollar savoir-faire status as an original supporter of the Wine Lab cause. Let everyone know the exclusive role you played in our launch! (Limit: 101)
$113 Wine Lab Decanter
One of a kind Blacksburg Wine Lab erlenmeyer flask/decanter! This Boyer-designed pouring device is literally not available anywhere else in the world…because he just invented it for the fundraising event! This special flash measures in standard science units, and is cross-referenced for wine bottle volumes! You can use it to decant, serve, and savor as your guests are wowed by the wonders of wine measurements! (unlimited)
$151 Drink This Now! Book
Personally autographed and inscribed Drink This Now! book by some dude named Boyer. (Put in the notes what you would like written.) Bonus: +1 Blacksburg Wine Lab logo sticker +1 iconic Plaid Avenger head sticker. What better gift to give to the aspiring hipster wine drinker? (limit: 50)
$211 Plaid Party Set
Bump it up another plaid notch to the full plaid party set for you beer/cider sippers! New blue Plaid Avenger party pint set includes: 4 glasses, 4 Blacksburg Wine Lab coasters, and 4 Plaid Avenger head stickers! Plaid party on! (unlimited)
$269 Wine Lab Swirling Swag Set
Bump up your wine swirling swag up the the next level with the Blacksburg Wine Lab party set: 4 stemless glasses + 4 Blacksburg Wine Lab coasters + 4 Wine Lab stickers + Wine Lab Flask/Decanter! (unlimited)
Physical sponsor items; Equipment sponsorship; limited
$701 Etched in wood donor plaque
Your name engraved into reclaimed plank of 100-year old barn wood that will adorn the grand sweeping 50ft long main wall in Wine Lab. Some planks will go directly under the bar area as well, if you prefer. The planks vary in sizes, and your name goes on a bigger plank the more you donate, and your name gets bigger too! $701 Planks start at 6foot long x 6 inch high piece, and increasing up to $1400 for a 12foot x 12inch plank). (Limit: 50)
$1009 Secret Garden Sponsor Plaque
For the avid plant lovers: your name on the Secret Garden Sponsor Plaque. Our outdoor patio area will be converted into Blacksburg hippest urban horticulture haven, with your help! A bronze personalized donor plaque with all donors will adorn the central pillar, and you can also pick a specific large outdoor plant to personally sponsor and have your name planted on! Ha! Pun intended! (Limit of 10)
$4919 Personalized Bar Stool Donor Plaque
Your own personal piece of Blacksburg! We can’t guarantee that your stool will always be available for you when you arrive a Wine Lab, but you will ALWAYS have the bragging rights to that perch since your name (and graduation class, and a pithy saying from you) will be proudly displayed on the back of it for all to see! Need say no more! (limit: 10)
Metaphysical items: experiences/events/education
$181 Reserved Special Table
Date night special! Have a reserved and fully decked out table waiting for you and 1 other guest, anytime! Fresh flowers, a fake candle, and some culinary treats will await you upon arrival, and you also control the house music while you are there! How romantic, or even bro-mantic: the guest is up to you, but we do the rest. Please allow 2 hours advanced notice on busy nights. Valid for 12 months after opening day. (limit: 30)
$233 Podcast Sponsor
Want to see your name in lights and hear the melodious sound of your own name pipped across a podcast? Then this donation level is for you! We will be producing educational wine podcasts on a regular basis at Blacksburg Wine Lab, and your $233 throw-down will earn you (or your business!) a shout out at the beginning and the end of the podcast itself…but you also get to pick the topic of the talk! Any alcoholic beverage or region or terroir-themed topic is par for the course: you select it, we podcast about it, and everyone knows it all happened because of you! Podcast party on! (limit: 25)
$509 VIP tickets to our grand opening!
Party in style with us on our exclusive closed-to-the-public opening night! Be one of the first to quench your curiously thirst! A good time will most assuredly be had by all! (limit: 100)
$619 Table-side Special Attention
A sommelier tasting for you and 3 friends. The general manager will take you through a tour of the wines from the featured region of the month, while Professor Boyer will talk about the terroir, and both will answer any/all questions your group has during the sampling flight. (limit: 15)
$1217 Exclusive Education Seminar
You and 9 friends will be treated to a full educational lecture series on the special wine region of the month, and walked through the entire tasting flight of those wines…made even more special since you yourself picked the region in play! That’s right! You pick the specific region we will feature for an entire month and we do the homework and the teaching! Must plan the party at least 3 months in advance to give us time to research, order, and acquire the wines. (limit: 10)
$1531 Secret Garden Party
How about an afternoon in the Secret Wine Garden outdoor patio area exclusive for you and up to 15 friends on any Sunday-Thursday. The perfect place to host an event, a meeting, a party, or even a small wedding (preacher not provided)! An exclusive special smattering of snacks will be provided for you an your special crew! (limit of 5)
$3533 Exclusive Education Seminar HOUSE CALL
The Doctor is in! You pick the wine/style/region/beverage/topic of interest for a private party of 20 at your place (within 4 hours of Blacksburg, or you must arrange Wine Lab staff travel), and Professor Boyer and crew will help plan the entire bash from food to wine selections, then show up at the house party to give a talk or two…or just to help facilitate a good time, which is one of his specialties! Requires at least a 3 month heads up to facilitate planning and purchases. (limit: 10)
$5557 Blacksburg Wine Lab Lab Coat; Lifetime VIP Status
Custom logo, custom fitted, custom name-embroidered lab coat that gains you lifetime VIP membership to Blacksburg Wine Lab. Lifetime first-access offering of every special tasting event, wine/food pairing dinners, and wine maker lectures. Exclusive free access backstage pass to any super crazy special event speakers we acquire (e.g. Gary Vaynerchuk, Martin Sheen, President Obama…why not shoot for the moon?) for the lifetime of Wine Lab. And a special kick-off party just for the group of lifetime high-rollers.
Your Lab Coat is also your membership to be a part of our food & beverage team: Haven’t you always wanted to help shape the beverage and food menu at your favorite spot? The lab coat grants you that opportunity! Attend unique distributor tastings and cast a vote for final decisions on which products we select for the coming months. Very exclusive opportunity, and you will be on the list serve that gets invited to these regularly. Also includes the Plaid Party Set, the Swirling Swag Set, the Drink This Now! book, both t-shirts, and, well, what the hell, FREE PARKING as well! (Non-transferrable, although we are open to the Lab Coat being passed down to future generations via a legally verified will) (limit: 20)
Risks and challenges
Challenge include obtaining ABC licensing, permits and rights to operate a wine bar in a timely fashion. Since we are opening this wine bar in the town of Blacksburg, the success of the endeavor also relies in some part upon the continued growth of the town and a strong economy overall. However, Blacksburg is currently an expanding college town that shows no signs of slowing down, and we feel confident that even an economic downturn will not significantly impact Wine Lab.
Another challenge we may face is finding employees who have a vast wine knowledge and the skills to transmit that knowledge successfully to all customers, while providing the highest levels of service.
Though we may face many risks and challenges in this endeavor, we know that our continued commitment and outright tenacity will propel us to our goal of a successful wine bar.
- (30 days)