Came here last night with wife as shop is opened by a friend of mine and I promised to support. They were having a champagne tasting session. We paid S$70 for 2 persons early bird price.
Place is very nicely decorated with a lovely high ceiling. It is divided into 3 parts. Retail front that is elevated, downstairs it is a chillout area with some seating area and overlooking both on one side, is the bar/cashier/food preparation area.
Our session had about 40 people and Soo Hoo was our trainer/introducer. The idea was to have a nice relaxed and unintimidating atmostphere. I think he achieved it. A few points.
1) Crowd was too young for me and wife. They seem to be all fresh or very recent graduates. A little surprising since most wine sessions I had are with an older crowd and we usually are the youngest. But then again, this format is far more informal compared to what we are used to.
2) Soo Hoo introduced very informatively the various types of sparklings including one champagne (Bollinger). He also covered production process. But you can tell the session was too touch and go and no time to go into depth.
3) The setting was relaxed and had a lot of standing around. May be it is for the targeted crowd. Personally, I prefer to have proper sit down with chairs. But the young ladies and guys seem to enjoy the standing around.
4) Price for $35 or $45 was fair but I feel maybe can charge more, say for proper food and tables. Of course, it should be with wines and not sparklings or maybe mix the 2. Can alway tie in with a restaurant like many wine distributors do.
All in all, i think the crowd enjoyed themselves but it is more a case of for me and wife wrong expectations. The champagnes were all ok but not spectactular. Anyway, we had a good time and were seeing if any of the guys tried to make a move after some drinks :) None did.... unfortunately. Otherwise it would have been fun.
Perhaps hermitage may want to consider a more indepth with fine food and smaller group session for older crowd. Price at $90-120 and have about 10-15 persons max. It usually makes for a more enjoyable session and we can network better too.
They do have a good selection for european wines for those keen! Hardly many new worlds though.