Ames, Iowa is a great college town. My oldest son has lived there for the last six years, completing one degree and now working on others. So, over the years, we’ve experienced many different facets of the community there. From wandering the halls of one of the largest dorms in the country on the ISU campus (Friley) to navigating the residential side roads to nearby apartments (Freddy), it has become a comfortable but always evolving place to visit.
On my last visit, my son took me to a wine bar he had frequented with friends and thought I would like. My preferred adult beverage is wine. In a previous post, I explored some of the things that govern the type of wine I drink. You will find out by reading that post that the wine I prefer does not have to be really expensive, I just have to like the taste. I also prefer a dryer wine like Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec, or a Cabernet.
But, admittedly, I sometimes get stuck in a wine “rut.” I buy what I like, but am rather conservative with cost ($10 – $20.00 per bottle), so I do not like to venture out and try a new bottle, if I am not sure I’ll like it. Well, this wine bar experience can help solve that issue, and it was really fun, as well.
The Della Viti Wine Bar in Ames is Iowa’s First Self Serve Wine Bar, or so it proclaimed on their brochure. We went on a Friday afternoon about 4pm. It was empty, except for a few professor type individuals. Seating was available on overstuffed leather couches, with plenty of side tables to rest your glass. Here’s the fun part: when you arrive, you put cash, in an amount you determine, on a plastic card (much like a gift card). Then, you use that card to activate machines that dispense the wine of your choice. The machines containing 48 different wines, still in their original bottles, provide a tap in a temperature controlled case, and dispense either a sip, a taste, or a glass, once activated. These are obviously graduated volumes that let you try a wine at a minimal cost. In general, the cost would be $2.00, $3.00, and $5.00, more or less, depending on the wine you choose.
There was red, white, and rose wines. Sweet, semi-dry, and dry wines, all for trying, tasting, or drinking, as you choose. I tried two wines as tastes that were $3.00 each for probably about 3 oz (the amount that will be dispensed is also displayed on the machine). The wines I selected, by the help of the descriptions, were a type I thought I would like, one a red and one a white, with the cost deducted from the card each time I filled my glass.
Other than checking in at the register upon arrival, and then again upon leaving to pay your tab as determined by the machine activation card, it is completely self-service! My son and I stayed for about forty-five minutes and had three-tastes between us. He was driving, so I had two tastes, while he had just one, 3 oz. “taste.”
This was a really fun way to try some new wines, of which I wrote down the names, so I can purchase them the next time I want to branch out and try a new variety or brand. The bar also provides all of the dispensed varieties as full retail bottles, so that option is available as well, if you cannot leave without your new “favorite” wine to take home!
I look forward to my next visit to Ames in the Spring. It will be to see the musical “Rent” with my son, which both of us are looking forward to seeing very much! But, I hope we’ll also make a visit to the Della Vita Wine Bar as well to relax and catch up!