Motor City Merlot

Staff Writer
In Detroit, wine vending goes mobile.
Motor City Merlot

Good news seems to come out of Detroit about as often as the Lions have a winning season. But it appears as though Detroit is finally picking itself up with a do-it-yourself sentiment that's driven the launch of several local business and restaurants. And now there's another welcome addition to Motor City life: The Detroit Wine Truck.

Launched about six weeks ago by local entrepreneur Putnam Weekley, 41, the Detroit Wine Truck offers sampler packs of two to six bottles of wine, delivered free anywhere in town. Weekley posts new offers on his blog, and changes his selections every week or two.

The packs cost about $50, yet are competitive with regular retail prices, says Weekley. "You can put wines together in ways that add up to more than the sum of the parts," he explains. The aim is to provide great-tasting wines, but also an educational experience with different varieties and producers — just like a wine club. Weekley also puts together custom orders upon request.

The most popular wine so far, he says, is the Les Heretiques Vin de Pays ($11), and Weekley says the majority of his customers have purchased wine more than once. He only sees the business growing as he stays in tune with local tastes, which big chain stores — should they ever return to Detroit — can't manage. "There are things possible in Detroit because the competitive environment is so empty," says Weekley. "The best way to understand what people want is to live here and be on the ground." Sort of like a local wine shop that comes to you.

If you know of another cool wine service or company, tell us about it below.