Art Is For Wine Lovers…

Art should be at the heart of the table. With wine. Wine & art are neither elite or mysterious. They are both there for our enjoyment & the happy social moments in our lives.

Next up a reedition in 2015 of the iconic Anthony Palliser Revolution poster

Willi’s kickstarter campaign ends on a successful note in just 12 hours.

To all who have participated is Willi’s Bottle Art 1, a tremendous thank you !
Should you still wish to support our ‘Wine for a Good Life’ project, please know that your support will now go towards the « Willi’s Bottle Art World Tour » and we are naturally truly grateful for the support.
Good day, Good Night – always with Wine enjoyment & Thank you again !

Mark

Converting the Curve – Willi’s Kickstarter success !

Hi, good morning/day/evening & thank you !!

We have made it…sometime during the Parisian night Kathy K took Willi’s Bottle Art 1 with Jonas Bergstrand over the top, between the posts making a timely conversion that would have made Sir Jonny Wilkinson – a famous rugby player – quietly satisfied. Jonny is well known for his true British understatement !

celebration selfie

celebration selfie

So very special thanks to the great team who made this fun Kick happen – Valerie Fuchs who is so much more than a ‘Communications Expert’ and who designed our campaign, having sown the seeds that led to the creation of our great little video & worked her infectious magic into the 29 day campaign tirelessly – JF & Sophie of ‘L’accent de M‘ who designed & produced the instrumental center piece video, so important in getting Willi’s Bottle Art 1 launched & of course not forgetting Marie Brugère, ‘Marie la Tweet’ who reached places that ordinary beings dare not.

Grateful thanks to Sweet little Christine who engineered the trickyness of the operation into a workable formula in the nick of time & launched us happily on our way. Thanks also to novelist Olivia Darling for her curvaceous contribution in the final stages of play. I did not believe that the beginning & the end in a Kickstarter campaign are absolutly key. I now know better.

Thanks to Jacques Dupont of the Point & to Gault Millau for teriffic mentions in the press & to everyone who generously pushed us forward with tweets & likes… Thanks to long suffering family & friends, to Marie Z & Clay for advice and encouragement as well as Andy Abramson, who is always ahead of the game ! Jem Finer of Longplayer was generous & free with his advice having just completed a successful campaign himself & Katie of Festival Formula was poised & ready to add impetus were this required. Anyone who feels forgotten please believe this is totally unintentional – I am scatty enough on a week day !

Most of all THANK YOU to all our supporters for their very special contribution that has been absolutely, completely, unforgettably, upliftingly wonderful…over 70% had never Kicked before. What a great way to begin ! Now I must be off to the printers

The Message of the Bottle World Tour will start next April at a charity event in Australia’s Barossa Valley – the Southern Hemispheres home of Syrah – Shiraz to the Ausies.

There are just over 60+ hours remaining & more than enough rewards to satisfy a small crowd of rugby supporters – So please don’t hold back ! See our campaign here

With best wishes from the whole team Willi in Paris,

Mark

Jonas Bergstrand, Willi’s & Kickstarter. Shaken not Stirred !

Swedish artist Jonas Bergstrand will sign the 2014 and 25th poster in Willi’s world famous series celebrating Art and Wine via the crowdfunding site kickstarter.com

“Wine is a magical social cement. Enjoying wine is a way to love life and one’s fellows. Wine enchants our palates, it loosens tongues, enhances ephemeral & enduring friendships and nourishes our imaginations. The celebration of wine through the arts has gone on since the beginning of time. It is an inexhaustible richness and a concentrate of heritage, offered to us all to treasure, in delicate bottles.”…. But it’s not just about le vin

We have long encouraged painters, graphic artists and designers to add their talent, inspiration and free spirit to his celebration of wine’s pleasures by contributing to an unusual series of original posters that has grown into the « Willi’s Bottle Art » Collection. Appreciated by wine lovers the World over it brings together artists such as Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Alberto Bali, Jacques de Loustal, Jean-François Octave & Peter Lippmann.
 
The latest vintage of « Willi’s Bottle Art » comes courtesy of Swedish artist Jonas Bergstrand, graduate of the Forsberg School of Design. “To me wine is culture in liquid form. What’s in the glass in front of me has taken years of careful planning and know-how to present. The process and craftsmanship that governs it makes wine intriguing, just like literature and art, ” he explains.
 
Jonas Bergstrand is the 25st artist in the series to illustrate the cosy, familiar alliance between art and wine. However, in an exciting break with tradition, “Willi’s Bottle Art”, in order to finance the production of the Bergstrand’s 2014 vintage poster, as well as to enhance the visibility of the ” Willi’s Bottle Art ” collection in its entirety, is launching an initiative in collaboration with Kickstarter.  Lovers of art and wine, professional and amateur, are invited to support this worldwide crowd-funding event.

There will be something for everyone.  Just as if you were at Willi’s Wine Bar itself on the Rue des Petits Champs in Paris.
For example, you will be able to acquire a limited edition poster on Velin paper signed by the artist (£300/ €390/ $480) or host a pop up exhibition of the “Willi’s Bottle Art” Collection associating the occasion with a wine event at their property, or their vineyard, in their local museum or even at their country club… worldwide (£3500/ €4500/ $5600). A wide range of participative options, all offering rewards, starting at just 10€ are proposed.
 
Find all the “Willi’s Bottle Art” collection williswinebar.com
 

JANCIS ROBINSON & NICK LANDER book signing duo at Willi’s

This vinferous couple will be signing copies of their just released books at

Willi’s Wine Bar

Samedi le 8 Décembre de 12H-13H

Wine Grapes «The Larousse of grape varieties» contains 1,368 distinct grape varieties currently under ‘commercial production’ in the World (& in France). Wine Grapes represents four years work, (the time it takes to get a recognisable harvest), is written by Jancis Robinson MW, Julia Harding MW, Robinson’s researcher and associate palate, with botanist and grape geneticist, José Vouillamoz.

“There is huge interest in non-standard grape varieties and we include the origins and history of each varieties, as well as interesting social stories, details of where they are grown, how much is grown and what it’s been called and what the wine tastes like now.”

The Art of the Restaurateur is a compelling look behind the scenes at some of the world’s best restaurants, and celebrates the complex art of the restaurateur. Nicholas Lander, acclaimed Financial Times restaurant critic & former restaurateur, reveals everything you ever wanted to know about the restaurant business, presenting the untold stories of the world’s best restaurateurs, from luxurious Michelin-starred restaurants, to bustling neighbourhood bistros, to stylish fast-food cafes. Every story is fascinating, entertaining, and has something to tell about the creation of a successful restaurant, it’s a must-read for anyone interested in food, and for anyone who’s ever dreamed of opening a restaurant.
Danny Meyer, NY restaurateur ‘If you are planning, or even dreaming of, opening a restaurant of your own, then this will be more use to you than any cookbook. A great read too.’

Signed copies will be available from Willi’s on the day –
Wine Grapes will be offered at 129€
The Art of the Restaurateur will be offered at 28€
The Signed duo of these books will be offered at 149€
Very limited stocks – you still can’t drink books !

On Time. 30 years late. Willi’s Extension Confirmed.

“Prendre un verre à la Mirotirie – sera bientôt possible”

Willi’s will be closing for enlargement on the 14th JULY. Soon the hole in the wall that for for 30 odd years has been Willi’s will be no more.

To those people who stood outside shaking their heads in uncomprehending bewilderment, wearing expressions that said ‘is this ReallY it ?!” I will soon be able to reply, “well no, Willi’s is , as you would imagine, huge…”

No Ball Room like Macéo, but there will be a ‘Magnum Room’, a ‘Willi Boutique’, a ‘Salon Grand Willi’ – to mention just a few of the parts involved in this project.

 

For as long as Willi’s has been in existence, I have patiently waited to take over the space currently called ‘L’Ancien Maison Jam’ which has been a ‘mirotirie’, or fittingly, glass shop next door.

Our neighbour has decided to retire. Not a minute too soon, mon ami. In fact, had he mentioned the fact before our remodeling just over two years ago, it would have been moderately helpful…

Having waited all this time I am hopeful that I will avoid the complications encountered by my friends Daniel Rose & Juan Sanchez, who became bogged down in endless complications when respectively fitting out their new restaurants.

It is never easy dealing with a whole host of movable, susceptible independent spirits & parameters, but the plan as it stands today involves work starting on the extension on June 1st, the boutiques being joined on July 14th & reopening as the new place in town on August 1st – just when everyone goes on holiday !

More photos on FB ici

Verre l’avenir & à bientôt for work in progress

Willi’s New Web Site goes live !

Be one of the first 50 people in the World to order a poster on our new web site & receive a copy of the complete Willi’s PosterCard Collection, worth 29€/ 39$US, for free !!

The launch of our latest beast offers a more integral approach than our previous efforts

  • It is in both French & English
  • It is a Gateway to Macéo Restaurant & Willi-Links, our blog
  • The Bottle Art Gallery viewing experience of is noticeably improved
  • Our Bottle Art Collection of posters may be simply & rapidly ordered online for delivery Worldwide in both € & $
  • Transport options & costs have been significantly improved

Our long awaited ‘latest release’ will be out & available very, very soon. “The Noble Rot Years”, created by the photographic genius Peter Lippmann, winner of this years Gold Award at the AOP for his Christian Louboutin series, will be one of our more dramatic images. Watch this space.

In receiving this mail, as a client previously registered on Williswinebar.US, you will now find it a necessary inconvenience to re-enter your details to activate your account on the new site, as these have not transferred from .US – soon to be discontinued. This may be done by simply signing up or when placing an order.

We trust you agree that this « Markom » creation has been worth the wait ! We are out there, trying to better that amazing « click by click » experience, never forgetting that the ultimate pleasures will always be found in your wine glass.

Wishing you a wonderful week-end from us all at Willi’s,

Mark

Splitting the Strawberry and other Great Dishes

News has been/is swamped by misfit dictators whom seem intent in remodeling themselves on myself, by tempestuous ladies called Emily & Irene as well as some of the problems one encounters when trying to get dependable room service in New York’s hotels.

Who, I ask, can compete with all that ? Clutch a glass, stay motionless & indoors. Shake your head occasionally. Perhaps invest your last €’s in reserve supply’s of wines for pure – & instant – pleasure.

I think, Summer passed, that I may have found a morsel left by a banker. Hold the back page.

It all started while reading an article in the Guardian – yes I know, but it is one of the few remaining UK newspapers with traction, substance & grip – on the closing of El Bulli. This enjoyable piece of writing ended with its author suggesting & wishing that we could all now move on, or possibly return, to the simple but noble pleasures of eating & drinking. She said something to the effect of  ‘it would be nice to have something on ones plate in restaurants again’.

Well, Paris is my starting point for that not so elusive plate of abundance, but I was pulled up short in my confident stride to the table by the restaurant critiques SnR* of the moment. With Fernand Adria safely eclipsed, there seems to be a movement underway to unearth his successor. Preferably & understandably in Paris. This ladies wishes may yet go unheeded. As I discovered, not without amusement, interest & undeniable pallet pleasure, the temptation to cross the room to serve two halfs of a ‘Mara des Bois’ strawberry can be greater than the wish to satisfy our understandably famished Guardian journalist.

This journalist will be welcome at Macéo where our new chef, Maître Park, is playing to her wishes while quietly developing new twists that are best described as ‘Culinary Subversion’. Maître Park, a native Korean, has spent more than a few years working alongside some of France’s most respected chefs & perhaps because of this experience manages not to achieve the obvious conjured up in the mention ‘Fusion’. Park’s culinary offerings most definitely do not resemble experiments reminiscent of molecular collisions.

There is no obvious violence in his carefully thought out preparations. In fact you may not even be immediately aware that subversive work is quietly at play in the kitchens of Macéo. “Circulez, il y à rien à voir”.

So what, I hear you ask, happened to Thierry Bourbonnais, Macéo’s great chef for the last 8 years ? Thierry, like many chefs I have worked with over the last 30 years, is to open his very own restaurant. Soon. I have absolutely no doubt that he will enjoy a long & successful career as patron-chef & wish him all the very best. He will be opening his restaurant in Crosne. When you find out where that is, please tell me !

No mention of ‘new’ would be complete without welcoming the soon to be not so Hidden Kitchen of the dazzling American couple, Laura & Braden, out into the lights of the Rue Montponsier. They are poised, on 3 floors & just 3 doors down from Macéo, waiting to open ‘Vertjus’ in the place of  ‘Alfred’ – just across the road from the Theatre du Palais Royale. See ‘Paris by Mouth’ for upcoming details on this & other essential morsels.

Finally, my great friends Juan & Drew are battling with shadows to complete their latest restaurant across the Rue de (in)Seine from Fish. Le ‘Temps Perdu’ which has done a great job making them do just that, is going to open some time in November under a more fortunate name. Just don’t quote me.

*sniff & rave

Willi’s Living Memoirs 1980-2010

Willi's Memoirs. The PosterCard Collection

Willi's Memoires. PosterCard CollectorBox

Books, I am reliably informed, are traditionally released on a Thursday. While this latest Willi’s Bottle Collection publication is not exactly a book, being more of a loose leaf flirt with the written word, it does however stand in the way of time, brandishing its message in the most audible manner.

These Willi’s Memoirs are out early, pointedly colorful and delivered with candid clarity. The CollectorBox of 22 Vintage ‘Bottle Art’ posters from 1980-2010 leaves no graphical detail unturned. A particularly fragrant narrative to be attacked with the aid of a good corkscrew. Furthermore, these images are the most perfect size to cover a Kindle, allowing one to indicate to the Sommelier that at this table Wine is of relevance. The annoying claim that these memoirs are printed in a Universal language is defendable too – a point unlikely to be made when the true story is finally told.

The Poster Card Collection will be on sale at Willi’s as from today, available on the Web as soon as I can upload the necessary information. UGHHHH.. ! Until then, a very big thank you to everyone who helped to make this possible.

Yes, that means you too !

Merci Beaucoup

The Incredible Lightness of Not Being – Anthony Mc Call in Paris

McCall - Hangar Bicocca Milan 2009

McCall installation at Hangar Bicocca, Milan, 2009

Just a few short years ago an explanation would have surely been required when describing the works of Anthony Mc Call. Without exaggeration this is very possibly no longer the case. Anthony Mc Call’s ‘Solid Light Shows’ have multiplied across the planet & the French cultural scene, while not alone, has been bold & outspoken in its praise as well as in welcoming Mc Call to exhibit on a disarming number of occasions over the last five years.

This illuminary man is ‘de retour à Paris’ this week with a breathtaking ‘mis en scene’ at Le Collège des Bernardins, where he is installing the double-vertical work entitled Between You and I.

Jean de Loisy, “Commissaire d’exposition indépendant” and the man behind this latest and most moving installation at the Bernadins is unequivocal in his description of Anthony Mc Call, refering to him as “un artist immense”.

Les Bernardins is a stunning 14th Century one-time monastery and center of theological depart in early Paris, with a forest of slender gothic limestone columns. The exhibit is in the Old Sacristy.

The show will run from  Jeudi 3 Fevrier — Samedi 16 Avril.

Numerous barely disguised hints have been given to this unique artist in relation to him joining the very closed club of creative people who have contributed to the Willi’s Bottle Art Collection.

Romantic dining in Paris

Willi's Bottle Art CollectionSteven Spurrier invited me to help his delightful niece to find a suitably romantic restaurant for dinner last month. Overlooking the fact that he is paid up member of Macéo, which has some of the lovlyiest dining spaces in the Capital, Steven, who is normally a picture of moderation & balanced commentary, managed to claim that Macéo was ‘Very Romantic’, but not quite romantic enough for the lovely niece in question. It is well known that I have a thick skin, so I brushed this churlish comment off with good grace and made some suggestions to the young lady -

Romance is happily just like dessert. So difficult to know the sins of others ! If one eliminates the ‘very Parisian’ bistrots & brasseries for being to pacy & noisy, one could by the same measure eliminate a lot of the newer trendy places on the basis of them not being any where near warmed up enough for romance. Here are a few places & a good bar, always useful.

The bar at the Hyatt Vendome, just across the road from Tiffany’s & a stones throw for the ‘go straight to ruin’ jewelers on the place Vendome, is a perfect spot to set the tone, even if  the stores in question should mercifully be closed at the hour of your aperitif. The bar is classy & quietly trendy, they pour good champagne & a few choice wines as well as making cocktails, providing snacks etc.

A short walk separates you from the beautiful & elegant main dining room at Pierre à la Fontaine Gaillon which is an obvious choice for dinner. Cosy, softly lit & relatively intimate, the cuisine is unfussy, pure Classic French & generally top notch. Wine list most satisfactory. Owned by Gerrard Depardieu, who also has a cute ‘Ecailler’ just the other side of the place, Pierre can draw the ‘in crowd’. Lovely terrace in front of the fountain for those sun kissed days.

La Table du Lancaster in the Rue de Berri is very pretty, small, discreet & très comfortable. In the summer there is a terrace on which to dine too. One can ‘prendre l’aperitif’ in their charming salon. The culinary input comes from Michel Troisgros & the offering is inventive, lively & modern from a classic base. The wine list is surprisingly inclusive & up to date. Service can be marginally Daliesque but, as you would expect from Mick’s favorite Parisian hotel, is capable of coping with almost any situation.

La Fable de la Fontaine in the 7th is minuscule, but unlike most French bistrots du gendre has avoided the temptation to pack in an extra 3 couverts. Decorated in chocolate & orange tones, la Fable offers some beautifully prepared, mainly fish based dishes with cutting edge appeal. The wine list is generous & well chosen. Try for a corner table away from the bar. Terrace dining in the summer.
In the 9th Casa Olympe is fun & lovely, but you will share your romance with your neighbors. In les Halles Pharamond has an amazing dining room, but is possibly a little hearty for romance, the culinary offering here being better suited to “dinner with pals”. Terrace in the Summer. Behind Notre Dame Les Itiniraires on the Left bank is a place that has it all. Modern, but cosy, great ambience, an alert culinary offering, marvelously democratically priced wine list. You can stroll along the banks of the Seine after dinner too.