Hi-Fi Wine continues transformation of downtown scene


Locally owned, Hi-Fi Wine is the newest business to join the revitalization along Main Street in Downtown Merced.

The wine bar opened at 629 Main St. in early June, and caters to oenophiles, everyday locals and curious visitors alike. Hi-Fi is centered around wine, music, community, and having a good time, but it’s also a passion project between a Merced mother and her daughter.

“They’ve had a vision of doing this for 10 years, and they wanted to do it in downtown Merced because they wanted to be a part of the revitalization that is happening,” said Jeramy Brown, Hi-Fi’s general manager.

Two doors open into the wine bar’s naturally lit space. Wood, glass, and granite are at the center of the minimalist interior design. A funky green lamp, colorful pieces of artwork, and a vintage speaker and vinyls decorate the seating area. Lounging arm chairs, tables, indoor and outdoor seating are spread out, allowing opportunities for casual or work-space fun. Beautiful green plants curated by Merced’s Asio Verde hang above the table spaces. A beautifully designed restroom featuring green wallpaper and tile and adorned with a pink octopus chandelier is available for guests to use. The uniqueness of the design and curation of Hi-Fi is both colorful, organic, and homegrown.

“Hi-Fi Wine is named after the stereo behind you,” Brown said as he pointed to an older restored radio that sits between two colorful pieces of art. “It’s a hi-fi stereo, an older model that the family restored. The ownership’s family loves to get together, listen to records, have dinner, and hang out. That was their deal — and so Hi-Fi became the name because they wanted to recreate that family experience of coming to a place to hang out, listening to music and coming together.”

Crazy enough, the family bought the stereo in the same exact building Hi-Fi Wine now stands in, back in 1963 when the building housed an electronics store.

“It’s kind of funny how serendipitous it is. Here they are back where it started, it really all fell into place. You could not script this better if you wanted to,” Brown commented.

The wine bar plans to host a music night once a week when they will play records on the stereo and have wine pairings to go with the vibe of the music.

“Music was always going to be an important part of it, specifically this record player that has been in the family for years coming back to the same building it was bought. The journey really is full circle.”

Music is just one one of the many aspects that the family valued when bringing the atmosphere of Hi-Fi together. The daughter, who at one point in her life left Merced for the East Coast, lived above a wine shop in downtown Baltimore.

“It was such an important part of her experience there. She loved it and wanted to bring that atmosphere back to Merced.”

The wine bar is exclusively focusing on wines made on the United States West Coast; California, Oregon, and Washington. The wine shelved walls of the bar are organized by Hi-Fi’s progressive shelving guide. The set-up is made to be less intimidating and more inclusive to those who may not be too familiar with wine.

“We are experience driven,” Brown said. “What really sets us apart is that we do something called progressive shelving. All of our wines are set up in a category of a scale of one to eight, the white and the reds. The category is by intensity. Wine can be extremely daunting and confusing, Hi-Fi has simplified it brilliantly. One is the lightest and eight is the most intense.”

He added: “We want to make the environment super chill. Have our guests come in, jump on the journey, try new wines, experience it, and just enjoy. It’s really great.”

As far as tastings, Hi-Fi carries anywhere from 10-12 wines by the glass that change bi-weekly.

“Each week we will be highlighting new wines that are part of the scale to get people familiar with out progressive shelving. You could even do custom flights coming in, half pours, you could get a lot of variety without committing to the volume. We also take a lot of pride in making sure our prices are fair and reasonable.”

Snacks are available for guests to pair with their wine but Brown mentions, “This is a place to visit before or after dinner.”

Hi-Fi Wine is open seven days a week, Sunday through Thursday, 10AM to 8PM, and Friday and Saturday, 10AM to 9PM. For more information on the wine bar, you can reach by email at hello@hi-fiwine.com.

Downtown MercedMercedMerced County
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