Grapes – The Wine Bar. Interview with Adrian Jipa

Grapes – The Wine Bar. Interview with Adrian Jipa

Grapes – The Wine Bar is one of the wine bars located in the center of Bucharest, but not exactly in the Old Center, but near Piața Unirii and Carol Park. It is an airy wine bar, with generous space (interior + terrace in summer), which has remained in my heart since the first visit a few years ago.

I spoke with Adrian Jipa, the owner of the wine bar, and from the interview below please get to know Grapes.

Carmina: Hi Adrian. Thank you for taking the time to talk about Grapes - The Wine Bar, a chic and spacious winebar located near Carol Park in Bucharest. First, please tell me a little about yourself and your background in the world of wine.

Hello Carmina and thank you very much for the invitation. I'm Adrian Jipa, I've been working in the hospitality industry since 2006, I'm the winner of the Marian Bugan Trophy - Best Maître D'Hotel 2009 and winner of the National Competition - Best Sommelier in Romania 2016.

International competitions:
  • European Young Sommelier Cup - UK 2016
  • Balkan Sommelier Challenge - Serbia 2018
  • ASI Best Sommelier Europe & Africa - Cyprus 2021
  • ASI Best Sommelier of the world - France 2023
Carmina: How was the idea of the wine bar born, since when has it been open and where does the name "Grapes" come from?

The idea to open Grapes came sometime around 2018, when, together with Sorescu Andreea (my good friend, real estate developer and art creator) we started to develop the project and set up all the details. The name “Grapes - The wine bar” is related to the raw material from which the wines we love so much come from, but we also had in mind the differentiation from the other names existing on the market at the time and which included terms like "vin, wine, vino ” etc. At the same time, Grapes is a name that everyone understands, regardless of the language spoken, a name that is easy to remember.

Carmina: Please tell me what kind of wines wine lovers can find at Grapes. From which countries do you have wines at the location? I know that you have both wines from Romania and wines from various countries of the world. How do you choose them and what do guests who frequent Grapes prefer?

In terms of Grapes wine offering/portfolio, we currently have 350 wine labels, around 55 spirits labels, 20 cigar labels, specialty coffee and wine serving accessories (glasses, decanters, aerators). The portfolio includes wines from Romania, Rep. Moldova, Hungary, Greece, Germany, Austria, USA, Lebanon, Spain, Italy, France, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and South Africa. The selection process is quite rigorous (we take into account aspects such as: the quality level of the wine, the quality-price ratio, the commercial policy of the producer/importer) and at the same time, at a maximum interval of 6 months, we give up some labels and add new ones. In addition, our menu has included a selection of local and international cheeses and charcuterie from the beginning.

Most of the guests who have visited us have become our friends and this helps us enormously in the sales process. To be honest, I recently did an analysis of sales from the year 2022 and in the top of preferences are wines from Italy followed by wines from France, then Romania and Spain.

Carmina: I know it's a sensitive topic in the world of wine, but wine by the glass encourages informed wine consumption. I know that at Grapes you have a generous selection of wines that you serve by the glass, as well as some wine flights, where a guest can try several wines. Tell me something about these please.

From the beginning we offered guests the possibility to order wines by the glass, about 30 labels at the same time, served with the help of Coravin, part of a selection that we change once every 2 months. We also permanently list 3 variants of Wine Flights, one with wines produced in Romania from local grapes, one with international wines and a special one that includes a selection on quality levels from Valpolicella area.

Carmina: Regarding wines, Grapes regularly organizes two types of wine tastings: "Grapes Wine Tour" - tastings of wines from different countries and "Grapes Wine Tasting", tastings where one winery is invited to present its wines. From what I saw last year, you organized about 2 such tastings per month. What are your plans for this year?

Really from the beginning we followed 2 directions in terms of wine tastings, one with Romanian wines and one with international wines. For this year we want to keep the cadence of 2 tastings per month, and if in the past years we paid more attention to Romanian wines, this year the focus will be on international wines.

Carmina: I will remind here that the users of the application also have a bonus at these events: 10% discount on wine tastings if they tell you the special code that they find in the "Special Offers" section of the application when registering. Apart from wines, I know that at Grapes you also serve spirits and that from time to time you also organize events dedicated to cigars. Please tell me some things about these too, maybe some of the wine lovers who downloaded the app are interested in these too.

That's right, in the past years we also organized evenings dedicated to drinks other than wine (the most recent was a tasting of single malts where we invited David Lind - Loch Lomond Brand Ambassador) usually on which we want to keep and I would also like to mention a third direction or a third plan that we want to develop this year, namely the leaf cigarettes/cigars, in support of which, during the summer, when the weather permits, we will organize thematic evenings.

Carmina: Adrian, thank you very much for your time and information. I'm glad that app users now have the opportunity to learn a few more things about Grapes and I hope they'll follow your events that will be published both in the app and on your Facebook page and also come and spend an evening with friends over a drink of wine and outside the events you organize. If you want to add something to what was said above, please leave your message below.

I would also like to thank Carmina for the opportunity to extensively present the activity of Grapes - The wine bar, I wish you success with the Winesday App and I hope to collaborate on as many projects as possible from here on.

Grapes – The Wine Bar: Bulevardul Mărășești 2B , Bucharest, Romania

Carmina Nițescu & Winesday App

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