May 23, 2023 – Published in Design & Decor Spring-Summer 2023 issue
Hansa Wines and Spirits – For an effortless and expert service under one roof
Photography Matthew Mirabelli
A lifesize, gold-coloured statue of the Striding Man, the iconic Johnnie Walker logo, greets you as you arrive at Hansa Wines and Spirits in St Paul’s Bay – a clear indication that they do not do things by half at this well-established emporium! Inside, floor-to-ceiling shelves around the spacious store display a vast selection of beverages that is practically record-breaking.
Founding Director, Franco Farrugia, and his Sales and Marketing Manager, Charlot, sat us down on the plush velvet armchairs in the middle of the store and explained what the company offers as a premium enterprise.
Hansa Wines and Spirits Limited was established in1998, and started off by supplying drinks for bars and restaurants as well as making its mark delivering a first-rate beverage service for weddings, steadily expanding the brand until 2019. That year, Franco decided to slow down and concentrate on refurbishing the store and enhancing its concept to make it what it is today.
Hansa is a one-stop shop for the widest range, the best price, and optimum service.
“I am always on the lookout for fresh ideas, especially when I go abroad,” declared Franco. “Locally, I try to stay ahead of the game. Our website was the first one here for wines and spirits – and also the first to include our wholesale prices! We update it constantly with new items and include pictures, tasting notes, pairing suggestions, regions of origin, alcohol volume, and all necessary information. It is the best way to make it easy for anyone anywhere to browse through our products.”
“The outlet itself is the largest comprehensive wines and spirits shop in Europe. If you’re having a party at home, we can supply you with all you need. Wine, gin, whiskey, rum, craft beers and ciders, soft drinks, mixers, bitters to make cocktails – we have it all! We also offer next-day delivery.”
With a team of 12 employees, Franco invested in professional staff, including Charlot himself, along with sommeliers Stojan and Charlot. The extensive quantity of bottles filling the shelves is enough to overwhelm clients who have no clue where to start. The in-house specialists share their expertise to ensure patrons make the right choice every time.
“We offer onsite wine tasting,” Charlot added, “where customers can sample from a choice of 60 wines to assist with their purchase. Our aim is not just to sell wine but also to educate. Why stick to one wine when you can taste so many different options? Some people are reluctant at first, but with the option to try before they buy, we not only gain their trust but also help them explore new labels.”
Indeed, Hansa also offers an excellent B2B service to bars, restaurants, and hotels through efficient daily deliveries and ongoing real-time professional advice from Charlot and Stojan through social media.
Additionally, Hansa hosts exclusive tasting events within the store, offering an unmatched experience for enthusiasts. A separate glass is offered for every single wine or whiskey available for tasting, with individually plated refreshments often matching the bottle’s country of origin.
“Serving the beverage in the appropriately shaped glass is crucial for the optimum tasting experience. Riedel produces an extensive range of crystal glasses for every type of wine or spirit, as well as uniquely shaped handcrafted decanters, which are all available at our shop,” claimed Charlot.
The choice of wines and spirits at Hansa is mind-blowing!
“We have around 1,700 different labels – and that’s just for the wine!” Franco stated. “The other items – spirits, wine accessories, cigars, and more – add up to over 3,000 varieties. We always focus on quality, but here, you will find bottles priced from €2 up to €10,000. We procure them from family-run wineries and local vendors, or else, we import directly.”
A glass-covered wine cellar at the back of the store is temperature- and humidity-controlled and houses the more expensive range, including Bordeauxs, aged ports from the 1950s, Barolos, and Champagnes, with at least 60 different brands for the latter. The temperature is kept at the 16-degree mark, with humidity maintained at 60-70%. This is the perfect way to store wine, along with low lighting and minimum noise disturbance.
The distinctive Johnny Walker collection lining the front shelves of the store is one of the largest in the world.
Franco has been acquiring the brand’s beautifully crafted bottles since 1996. In fact, the store displays close to 400 different bottles of this popular Scotch whisky, most of which portray visually artistic labels. Some are extremely rare and are often bought at auctions by intrepid collectors.
“I am truly following my passion,” smiled Franco. “We wish to keep educating people and to help make it easier for our customers to enjoy the journey of discovering new labels or finding a bottle they recognise from when they visited a winery or distillery abroad. I am also hoping to eventually hold events outside the store, which would definitely complete our Hansa experience – and benefit the whole road!”
Undeniably, when you think about wines and spirits, Hansa should be the first name that comes to mind!
Hansa Wines & Spirits
29, Triq Barnaba, St Paul’s Bay
+356 2158 1111