Shop Talk: Palo Alto wine flies off the shelves, Hudson Grace comes to T&C

Business openings, closings and more

Grocery Outlet watches Palo Alto wine fly off its shelves, while Town & Country welcomes new specialty shops Hudson Grace and diptyque.

PALO ALTO WINE MAKES A SPLASH ... Leave it to discount grocery store Grocery Outlet in Palo Alto's Alma Village to cause a stir by stocking a hard-to-find item. It's just a bottle of red wine, but its name -- "Palo Alto" -- is drawing serious attention. The product in fact has nothing to do with the city of Palo Alto, California, and everything to do with the Maule Valley region of Chile, where it is produced. Still, it's flying off the shelves of Grocery Outlet, according to store owner Tony Tenaglia. "This wasn't an intentional buy," he explained. "It was just by chance, but because of the name on the wine, we got preferred status." Tenaglia ordered a pallet (56 cases) of the wine for his store, "and now people are buying multiple bottles. We're almost out, so I just ordered another half-palette. And we're getting phone calls about it. People are asking if we can set aside a couple cases for them." Anne Drummond, who lives around the corner from Grocery Outlet, had a case of Palo Alto wine in her shopping cart. "I used to buy this wine at BevMo in Mountain View, but they stopped carrying it several years ago," she said. "They told me it was discontinued. So when I got the email this morning from Grocery Outlet, I ran over here. It's fun to have a bottle on the table when friends come over."

TWO BOUTIQUES OPEN AT T&C ... A chic, yet somewhat affordable home goods store opened this month at Palo Alto's Town & Country Village. Located on the Embarcadero Road side of the shopping center and flanked by Calafia Cafe and Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, the new Hudson Grace provides a nice change of pace from the row of restaurants. "There's really no other store like this in the area," said Monelle Totah, who owns the shop with business partner Gary McNatton. The Town & Country spot is Hudson Grace's fourth location. The store carries mostly tableware, candles and an eclectic assortment of hostess and wedding gifts. Totah described the expansion of her business as "fortunate, almost serendipitous. We opened our first store in San Francisco in 2012, we opened our second in Larkspur in 2013, then one in Santa Barbara in 2014 and now we're here in Palo Alto in 2015," she said. A possible reason for the success, she said, "is our very simple, classic designs; we have things that are meant to be used everyday. The platters, for instance, are our best sellers." The owners travel to Europe a few times a year to stock their stores. "It's a curated assortment," Totah explained. The name of the shop was derived from an unlikely source: the names of the owners' dogs. Hudson is the name of Totah's labradoodle, and Grace is the name of McNatton's cockapoo.

Town & Country's other newcomer, located in the interior of the shopping center, is diptyque, a home fragrance store that began in Paris more than 50 years ago. A walk through diptyque's front door immediately wakes up the olfactory sense. Candles are everywhere. "We wanted to offer accessible products that are easy to try in a natural and welcoming atmosphere," diptyque spokesperson Donna DiDonato said. Although diptyqye candles and perfumes can be found in some upscale, retail stores, this month's opening at T&C marks the first diptyque boutique on the Peninsula.

Heard a rumor about your favorite store or business moving out or in, down the block or across town? Daryl Savage will check it out. Email shoptalk@paweekly.com.

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