a wine story in Phuket
23 December 2017
The only wine bar in Phuket to offer bottles exclusively from the finest grape varieties in Italy, Luca Cinì subtly blends the best ingredients to make his osteria a success.
Located on Boat Avenue, the Luca Cinì brand invites its guests to enjoy a glass (or two) of Italian wines while munching on some transalpine specialties such as bruschettas or charcuterie plates. You can also choose from a selection of 140 different wines to take home. Clearly a winning formula since Luca Cinì is about to celebrate the third anniversary of his shop by expanding its range of take-away deli produce including a big range of Italian coldmeats and cheeses, pasta, olive oils, sauces, dried tomatoes and excellent breads.
Luca, the owner, is passionate about oenology and inherited a rich culinary DNA that finds its origins in dishes cooked by his grandmother and his mother, accompanied by the selections of a wine lover uncle. He tasted his first grape variety over 35 years ago. In 2002, he trained with the Italian Sommeliers Association, as well as taking courses in wine marketing in Rome. After working as a wine merchant in Italy for several years, he was asked in 2011 by one of his childhood friends to join him in Hong Kong. “Since I was very young, I had in mind that I would go to Hong Kong one day. It’s a city where you have to be tough to survive, but I always follow my instinct, so I had to give it a try,” he says.
To escape the hectic pace of the Chinese megacity, he spent a few days on vacation in Samui. Feet in the sand, he did not procrastinate long before taking the plunge and settling in Thailand. He chose Phuket: “An international airport, schools, hospitals, and potential customers all contribute to making Phuket a strategic area. I was one of the first to rent a Boat Avenue location in May 2014,” he explains.
The adventure wasn’t so simple though, because although Luca was ready to open his wine bar in May, he only got his first bottles on 24th December. “I did not know anything about the import rules in Thailand. I did not have contact with a good importer… It was not easy at first. However, between the opening on 25th December and the New Year, I sold 200,000 Baht of wine! It was the best Christmas present I could have hoped for.”
During his years in Italy and Hong Kong, he sold his wines to restaurants, hotels, and wine cellars, but Luca Cinì doesn’t wish to return to this market, which he considers much too stressful. He now prefers to spend time with his clients, most of whom are residents of the island, Thais and foreigners. “I want people to feel right at home here, and that means perfect service, with a selection of very good products and a caring staff. We are first and foremost a family,” he adds. With its rich wood interiors, the place is indeed pleasant and cozy. We particularly appreciated the small descriptive sheets, as well as the recommended dishes for each bottle. In addition to a take-away service, it is also possible to get home delivery.
Monday-Saturday from 11:00am–9:00pm