It is not that we don't have wine in Laos. Compared to Thailand wine is actually cheap here and we have quite a good selection so far. Thanks to the french community, wine is accepted here, thanks to winemakers around the world good wine is available here as well.
Today started a new aera of wine in Laos. The shop Wine 95 (named after the the years it's owner Vansom Vilivong started his wine business, an import-export company) is located right in the heart of Laos, next to the Jazzy Brick Bar and just a few meters from the Phimphone supermarket. It is a classy wine bar. The concept is new and refreshing. I am one of the kind of wine lovers who don't really care about a label. I drink wine that taste good for me. The problem: Most venues have only a small selection of wine by the glass, so you usually stick with that to avoid the risk of opening a (expensive) bottle you don't like. That's where Wine 95 comes in. First of all they have different wines every week. Seven red wines, 4 white and sometimes sparkling.
Then, for 10.000 KIP (a bit more than one Dollar), you get a tasting glass. If you like it, you can have a half glass, a full glass or a bottle. The owners daughter told me that they see the place as a venue for people who love to drink wine and having a new experience sometimes. But a wine bar isn't just good because of the wine selection. Interior is also important, and that is something the Phonesavanh family did just right. It is cosy and classy, but not too High-So. It has style, but it's not the kind of overexposed luxury you will find in Asia too many times. The design has been done by someone who had a vision about this place and just realized it. You feel comfortable and relaxed here, especially upstairs. No Smoking, what just fits well to enjoying wine. Jazz music, sometimes live performances (I heard there will be Mozart in January).
Of course it is not a cheap place, but style and taste have it's price. I rather pay more for something well done and executed than for a trendy place where the owners have no clue what they actually sell. Wine 95 is open Tuesday - Sunday (closed Mondays) from 5pm to midnight. No food, but wine and cocktails.