A retro red sign hangs above the new Martin Wine Cellar, tucked away behind an oak tree in the Studio Park shopping center on Lobdell Avenue. It’s the original sign from the first Martin Wine Cellar in New Orleans, which opened back in the ’60s. Until finding its new home in the Red Stick, the sign sat in a storage facility as a remnant of items removed from the original Crescent City store after it flooded during Hurricane Katrina. “It’s a little touch of New Orleans that we could bring up,” says Jim Wallace, the Baton Rouge-area manager for Martin Wine Cellar.
Despite the recent opening on Monday, July 29, this is not the first time Martin Wine Cellar has been on this side of town. The store opened its first Baton Rouge location in December 2007 in a little yellow building on the corner of Old Hammond and Jefferson highways. It then relocated to its current spot in the Perkins Palms shopping center. But Martin’s customer base in the Old Hammond area has remained strong since its departure. “People have been clamoring for us to come back,” Wallace says.
And the new location maintains many of the same trademarks as the other iterations. It’s a full-service shop, including pre- and custom-made gift baskets, special delivery services and knowledgeable staffers to offer customer assistance.
But the Lobdell store does include some unique features specifically catered to the neighborhood’s needs and interests, like an expanded selection of house wares, gifts and spirits. The bourbon selection is one of Martin’s biggest, with 16 feet of shelving stocked floor to ceiling with different bourbons. And the spirits section contains a wide variety of specialty bottles. “We really try to meet what our customers want,” Wallace says. “So if we have customers that really want something in a certain area, we’ll beef it up.”
In addition to an expanded cheese selection, the Lobdell store will also soon bring in some of Martin’s New Orleans deli classics like the chicken and tuna salads, per a special request from the location’s neighborhood. The Perkins location has featured deli items in the past, but they’re not a permanent fixture in the store.
The new location also pays special attention to some of Wallace’s and Lobdell store manager Susan Anderson’s interests. “We’re both pretty classic wine people,” Wallace says. Both love Champagne, so the new location features a top-notch Champagne selection, Wallace says, and they’re always looking to add more.
“The hope is that if you find something you really love in one store, we can make it available in another,” Wallace says.
If you’re eager to check out the new spot, head over for its Greek wine tasting on Saturday, Aug. 24. Try 20 Greek wines paired with Greek foods, 5:30-7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.
Martin Wine Cellar is at 1670 Lobdell Ave. The store is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.