For oenophiles who appreciate convenience, a few Sacramento restaurants—including Grange, Morton’s and L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen—offer personal wine lockers where regular customers can stash their favorite vintages.
“It’s a special little niche that people don’t even realize is out there,” says L Wine Lounge owner Marcus Marquez. Wine lockers are part of a loyalty program to enhance the drinking experience and show appreciation for regulars, explains Marquez. “This way, we get to know our guests better. It makes them feel at home.” At L Wine Lounge, locker users are permitted to store wines from their personal collection, as well as bottles from the restaurant’s retail store. “They like the fact that they don’t have to travel with the wine,” notes Marquez, “especially if they live in the suburbs and are coming into the city for dinner.”
Convenient? Yes. But like most of life’s luxuries, this one ain’t free. Fees at L Wine Lounge start at $250 annually for a 12-bottle locker and go up to $750 a year for a locker that can accommodate five to six cases of wine. Purchases from the retail store can be applied toward the cost of the locker.
“It’s surprising how quickly they fill up,” says Marquez, whose locker program has about 40 members and will expand to storing spirits starting in October. “Sometimes we have to remind people that their locker is full and it’s time to take some bottles home.”