- The aptly named Cadillac Wines opened in 2012, and is located on the Frank Kent Cadillac dealership showroom floor.
- Although small, the wine store is one of the nation's top sellers of some popular wine brands.
- Cadillac Wines hosts wine-tasting and wine-pairing events.
FORT WORTH, Texas — How would you celebrate the purchase of a brand-new Cadillac? If you were buying at Frank Kent Cadillac, you could step into the dealership's wine shop, Cadillac Wines, to buy a bottle of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne and a pair of Riedel flutes to go with it.
"Most people just want to get in and out of a car dealership as soon as possible," says Will Churchill, Frank Kent Cadillac dealer principal and great-grandson of company founder Frank Kent. "When people see the wine store, many think this is a place they might like to stick around."
Cadillac Wines opened in 2012, when Frank Kent remodeled its showroom. The shop is located on the sales floor between the showroom and service lounge. Customers having repair work done in the Frank Kent Cadillac service department can stop in for a glass of wine, although no more than 5 ounces will be served to anyone during a visit. The dealership occasionally gives bottles of wine to customers buying cars, and if there's ever a problem between dealership and buyer, wine sometimes goes along with the issue's resolution.
The dealership is well aware of the dangers of drinking and driving and keeps those activities separate.
The boutique wine store takes up less than 250 square feet but keeps about 1,600 bottles in stock. And despite its small footprint, Cadillac Wines has become one of the nation's top sellers of both the Quintessa and Opus One wine brands, just behind such Las Vegas hotels as the Wynn and Bellagio, according to the store. Cadillac Wines sells about 2,400 bottles of wine per month.
The wine store also holds monthly events, including a recent wine-pairing hosted by Larry Stone, a master sommelier. An event planned for late October will feature winemaker Scott Palazzo. These catered events are generally limited to 70 participants, and according to Church, it is rare that an event doesn't sell out.
Churchill, who is (of course) a wine aficionado, estimates that only 30 percent of the guests who attend wine-store events are also dealership customers. The tastings are a great introduction to the dealership for people who may never have otherwise considered stopping in.
Likewise, Churchill says, car customers are usually quite surprised when they see the wine store on the sales floor.
"This is just another way we can try to deliver something special to our customers," he says. "At the end of the day, a car is a commodity and you can buy a car anywhere. We want to set ourselves apart."
Edmunds says: Raise a glass to a dealership that knows how to distinguish itself in the highly competitive luxury-car market.