The Great Hill: Flag store in Dealu Mare, Marcel Vulpoi interview

The Great Hill: Flag store in Dealu Mare, Marcel Vulpoi interview

When the passion for wine becomes a business, beautiful things come out. This is what happened in the case of Marcel Vulpoi, a wine lover who chose to invest in the Gramofon Wine winery in Dealu Mare and in a wine bar situated in Bucharest - The Great Hill - that takes the story of wine further.

The Great Hill is a cozy wine bar that opened a few years ago in Cotroceni area. When you first walk in here you feel like you're in an art gallery. In addition to the wines, you will be able to enjoy the atmosphere of an art gallery because the entire space is carefully arranged with numerous paintings and the atmosphere here is special.

I was curious to learn more about The Great Hill, wine bar located on Louis Pasteur street no. 6 in a house that also has a charming garden, ready to host all kinds of events. I spoke with Marcel Vulpoi about the concept of The Great Hill and I invite you to read the interview below to discover more.

Carmina Nițescu: Hi Marcel. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for Winesday App followers. To begin with, please tell me the story of The Great Hill wine bar: how did you come up with the idea, how did things take shape, where does the name come from?

Marcel Vulpoi:
A pleasure, Carmina! As you know, in 2018 I became a Gramofon Wine shareholder, believing in the potential of Romanian wine. I have, what I consider, a great advantage, namely that I do not come from the wine industry but from among wine consumers. In this context, I asked myself what a wine consumer would appreciate, and that's how the idea of a wine bar came about. I then asked myself the question of what wines to have at our winebar and, naturally I would say, I went to the area I represent, namely Dealu Mare and I proposed to the producers in this area to be partners in what I like to call the Dealului Mare Flag Store. Regarding the name, it is a relative and slightly funny translation of the Dealu Mare region - The Great Hill.

Carmina: What wines can we find at your place? Of course we find the ones from Gramofon Wine, being your winery, but apart from these I know you have a generous portfolio. And in addition to wines, I know you also have some gourmet products. Please tell me a little about what wines and delicacies guests find at The Great Hill.

As I said above, the wines present at The Great Hill are exclusively produced in Dealu Mare. The most important wines of our area can be tasted in a place where art and wine come together. At our location you can admire the works of some of the best contemporary painters. Even a foreign tourist left a very flattering comment saying that "In Romania the wine bars are better than museums". As for the pairing component (because, obviously, a glass of wine, a bottle or two also goes with some food) we chose to have only cold cuts on the menu, chosen from a selection of over 400 products that we tasted.

Carmina: I know it's a sensitive subject in the wine world, but wine by the glass encourages informed wine consumption and subsequently bottle consumption. Those who taste a wine now and like it, will seek it out next time and share it with their loved ones. I know you serve many wines by the glass at The Great Hill, and even have a few series of wine flights as well as standardized tasting packages so that anyone who comes to The Great Hill can have a tasting experience. Please tell me more about these tasting packages.

The Great Hill does not aim to sell wine but experiences and discoveries. The most popular product at our winebar are the so-called wine-flights, of three or five wines. Basically, our customers sit in front of the wine fridges and can taste three or five wines for less than a bottle of wine in the supermarket. By the way, my fellow waiters at the location recommend customers to choose wines they haven't tried before precisely to find the joy of discovery. Our wine-flights are of white, rosé, red or mixed wines and the accompanying dishes are otherwise recommended so as to make a good pairing with the respective wine-flight.

Carmina: The Great Hill is located in a beautiful house on St. Louis Pasteur in the Cotroceni neighborhood that has a generous space both inside and outside. What's more, when you first step into The Great Hill you can't help but notice the paintings and interior design. Personally, I think that this is a big differentiator of The Great Hill compared to other wine bars in Bucharest. Please tell me more about the space.

It took us about four months to find this location and the first thing we learned about it was that parties were organized here during the interwar period because the mistress of a former mayor of Bucharest stayed in this villa. As for paintings, many times when someone walks into for the first time at The Great Hill they say a little ashamed "I'm not very good at paintings" and we reply "It's just like wine" - I don't think there is anyone in this world who can say he knows wine or art. You always have something to learn or discover no matter how prolific you think you are in that field. (not to say connoisseur🙂)

The Great Hill works like a wine bar, but I know that you can organize all kinds of private events. What kind of events can be organized at your place indoors/outdoors and approximately how many people can attend them?

: To be honest, the intention was for The Great Hill to be a closed circuit wine bar, but seeing what kind of people come and how happy they are to discover a new winery, a new wine or a painting, the thinking changed. The same with the events: we would never have thought of hosting civil weddings, weddings or corporate presentations followed by wine tastings, but here it is and it still happens. Although we have a small capacity (40 people inside and 40 on the terrace) we have some of the most diverse events, events accessed by people and companies who want to discover and feel good in a suitable setting.

Carmina: At Gramofon Wine you have several well-established events every year: Vine Flowering in June, Gramofon Jazz & More in July, Agurida Party in August and Must Party in autumn. Do you organize themed events at The Great Hill? I've seen some over time at your place, but not necessarily annual/periodic.

You missed the event on Romania's National Day - December 1 - Celebrating Romania @ Gramofon Wine which this year has its second edition. We also had themed evenings at The Great Hill dedicated to the Black Festival, various wine launches, etc. but to be honest with you the venue is full every night so it's almost impossible for us to block a day for a particular event. We have people who book a romantic evening, birthday or company party a month, two in advance...

Marcel, thank you very much for your answers and I wish you a full autumn!
Thank you for your questions and I invite you to discover the new wines of the Dealu Mare wineries at The Great Hill.

Carmina Nițescu & Winesday App

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