Andrew Traughber has announced that he is closing Bon Vivant Wines as of this coming Saturday, February 20, 2010, with everything being marked down effective immediately. Thankfully, Andrew has a new position all lined up, and I wish him nothing but the best.
The closing of Bon Vivant Wines is a great loss for the St. Louis area. Andrew assembled the most interesting, eclectic selection in the area, taking full advantage of the unique and small production wines that come into Illinois (due to the Chicago market), but not Missouri, such as Lopez de Heredia, and the Louis/Dressner portfolio. Whittling down potential purchases to my budgeted amount was always a painful process, mollified only by the knowledge that when I returned new treats would await.
Despite his great wine selection, I probably bought even more beer than wine from Andrew. Andrew again exhibited a command for bringing in quality beers, and for taking advantage of the gems available in Illinois but not in Missouri. As with wine, Andrew was meticulous about freshness and storage, something severely lacking among many other Southern Illinois beer retailers.
I profiled Andrew for the Riverfront Times here, and Bon Vivant won accolades as the “Best Wine Shop” 2009 from that same publication. Andrew deserved all of the praise directed towards him as he truly did things the right way, and for all the right reasons. I am saddened, deeply, to see that was not enough to allow Bon Vivant to be sustainable.