Words: Vicki Ravlich-Horan | Photography: Ashlee DeCaires
For 23 years and 11 months Primo Vino sat on the corner of Victoria and Liverpool streets. In nearly a quarter of a century a lot has changed in New Zealand and the wine industry including “the demise of the fine wine store” says owner Henry Jacobs.
Henry, who discovered a passion for wine while at teacher’s college in the 70s, is philosophical about the rise of supermarket trade in wine and believes it’s not all bad for the industry. Wine, for instance, used to be drunk at occasions and now it’s part of our everyday lives.
More readily available and drunk more, wine is not necessarily something we all know a lot about. Henry hates the word connoisseur, preferring enthusiast, and Primo Vino is a place both enthusiasts and the novice can come to learn and try something new. “I didn’t get a figure like this from reading the labels,” says Henry, laughing.
Specialising in great value wines irrespective of the price point has been the key to Primo Vino’s success and their loyal following. Henry also prides himself on being ahead of the trends, getting in great wines before they win accolades.
Their new store on Tristram Street (opposite Founders Theatre) is in a growing part of Hamilton central with a number of apartments popping up. The dynamic neighbourhood and the plentiful supply of carparks has quickly proved the move a good one.
While the current store is smaller than the last, clever use of space has meant there is still room for expansion. Henry proudly points out that all the fixtures and fittings in the new space, except the fancy new sign and logo, have been recycled or repurposed. Old wooden wine boxes now sit in niches which once displayed blinds, and the wrought iron work iconic in the old store frontage has been given a new lease of life.
With regular wine tastings, their wine club, the selection of spirits and funky beers or just the changing array of wines on offer, there is always a reason to pop into Primo Vino and now you have one more.
Open Monday to Friday 10 to 6, Saturday 10 to 4
222 Tristram Street, Hamilton