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09.21.2012

I Want My Wine Apartment

wine_Storage.jpgOne of the defining phrases of my generation will always be "I want my MTV." I did, at one point, want it. But once I got it, I quickly tired. These days I'm much more likely to be chanting "I want my sleep." But that comes with the territory of fatherhood.

But a couple of days ago I found a new obsession. I want my wine apartment.

In a brilliant move that exploits everything about the dense urban economic landscape of Tokyo, a developer recently announced the construction of an apartment building centered around a single philosophical purpose: the love of wine.

In an era where modern apartment buildings boast fitness centers or rooftop gardens, this building, thanks to architect Keiji Ashizawa
and investors/collaborators the Bordeaux Winebank Japan, boasts a 10,000 bottle-capacity cellar, an on site sommelier and catering service, and glassware rentals.

18 lucky individuals or families will get to live in this 10-story apartment building in the heart of Tokyo's Shibuya district.

Honestly, this is a great idea. Aside from some logistical issues (such as the fact that if everyone eats dinner at the same time, it might be hard to get your wine when you want it), integrating wine into the services of an apartment building makes perfect sense. The pooling of the costs for proper wine storage on site is an excellent approach to an expensive infrastructure, and the idea of in-house sommelier services is a great one. If these folks are smart, they'll also offer private shopping services to fill up each resident's private wine cellar.

Not to mention super smooth hydraulic dumbwaiter lifts built into the walls so that you can simply tap your order into the built-in touchscreen on the wall and then a few minutes later your wine can arrive in your apartment with a faint chime, even uncorked if you select that option.

OK, so perhaps I'm pushing the idea a bit towards the Jetsons, but if anyone could make something like that work it would be the Japanese. They had elevators for cars fifteen years ago. Wine shouldn't be that hard.

In the density of Tokyo, where most people live in smaller apartments and the space needed to have a substantial wine cellar simply isn't available, this is a brilliant venture, and I'm sure not the last of its kind. I predict a micro-brew condo complex within the next couple of years, followed quickly by the Shochu palace residences.

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Image of wine storage courtesy of Big Stock.

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