The south end of Dunbar has recently gained a bit of a Main Street feel with New District wine shop having moved into the neighbourhood.
New District opened in May 2016 and is a full service liquor store with a difference – 98% of the wines they sell are not available in government liquor stores. Their goal is to shine the spotlight on small and medium sized wineries that may otherwise not be carried in larger stores due to the volume they would need to produce.
If you have gone on an Okanagan wine tour and returned home hoping to find that gem you tasted and fell in love with, you may very well find it at New District, and if you don’t, they will try their best to special order it (by the case is best!). The shop also carries wines from around the world that you won’t commonly find elsewhere.
“Every wine has a story behind it, and we are great storytellers at New District.” Isaac Hampson-Thorpe
Here you will also find beer – both larger brand names and craft beer – and craft spirits. New District carries products from 20 different B.C. distilleries such as G&W Distilling, Long Table, Odd Society, Shelter Point and Victoria Spirits.
The interior of the store is beautiful and takes advantage of the shop’s high ceilings. Wine and spirits are displayed on tall custom shelves, industrial glass pendant lights hang from the ceiling, and rich coloured wood flooring conjures thoughts of wine barrels.
Tables are elegantly displayed with specials and themed selections to help make your search for the perfect bottle even easier, however you will never feel at a loss as New District is staffed with wine experts who are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about wine. All of the staff are certified wine educators, but also have other talents: one is a pastry chef, another is certified sommelier, two are bartenders, and a number are former wine store managers; they can help direct you to the perfect bottle.
Store manager Isaac Hampson-Thorpe got an early start in the business. Family ties in B.C.’s wine country (Naramata) allowed him to spend time in the region and once he started working in a winery he never turned back. He has worked on both the retail side and as an agent and is currently enrolled at Sonoma State University, perfecting his industry acumen in the Wine Business Management program.
Like all of New District’s staff, Hampson-Thorpe is passionate about wine. He says, “New District is big on educating people, and simplifying the enjoyment of wine.”
One of the company’s secret weapons is DJ Kearney, New District’s director of wine. Multi-talented, she is a certified sommelier, wine educator, wine writer, judge, presenter and classically trained chef.
Kearney comments, “We are a strong team at New District. Isaac and I collaborate on the wine buying and merchandising. Our sales team are vastly experienced and dedicated to providing supreme customer service and a great shopping experience.“
“We are much more than the physical store however, with an online e-commerce store so customers can opt to shop from home or work.” DJ Kearney
Their beautiful website offers curated wine selections, giving customers a mix of B.C.’s best, compiled by Kearney. New District does the legwork for you, to expertly hone in on the world of wine. A weekly email newsletter keeps customers informed of what’s new in store.
Not only can you order online, New District will also deliver to your home year round (including the holiday season – and that strikes one errand off your busy to-do list). Orders of $200 or more qualify for free delivery.
Having experienced a busy Thanksgiving, the New District staff is excited about the upcoming festive season. For the wine connoisseur on your gift-giving list, or to stock up for a busy month of entertaining and parties, New District’s advent calendar showcases 25 different wines and will be available in November.
The word is quickly spreading that New District is the new wine store in Dunbar. Hampson-Thorpe mentions, “Many locals are connecting with the store. Others are coming from across the city.”
The official grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, November 19 and promises to be a fun-filled event with wine tastings and an opportunity to meet the New District team. If you miss the opening you can always drop by for weekly beer tastings (Fridays) and wine tastings (Sundays), hosted by Assistant Manager Martin Farrell.
Hampson-Thorpe concludes, “Dunbar is a community that enjoys wine and spirits. It’s an exciting time for us. It’s a great neighbourhood and we are really happy to be here.”
5650 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6N 1W7