If a long wine list is intimidating to you, Della Viti, a new wine bar in downtown Ames, can make life easier. Della Viti is a self-serve wine bar, meaning you can sample dozens of wines at your own pace using a prepaid card.
The shop, which blends earthy and sleek with hardwood floors, exposed ceilings, casual seating areas and deep red walls, serves 48 varieties of wine from computerized vending machines. Each dispenses a 1-ounce sample, 2.5-ounce half glass or 5-ounce full glass. A display shows how much each variety costs (between $1.50 and $3.25 for a taste, about $2.50-$7 for a half glass and $6-$17.50 for a full glass), and will tell you how much money is left on your card.
How it works
On your first visit, step up to the long bar (handmade by the owner and his friend out of wood and slate) to purchase a card. Once a card is set up, you can insert it into any of the 12 machines, each holding four bottles of wine. Hold a glass under the spout of your choice, hit a button according to the size of the pour you want, and the wine will dispense into your glass. Then remove your card until you’re ready for a refill.
Why you should go
Della Viti offers a great atmosphere for any occasion. You can belly up to the bar for a chat with owner Gerald Caligiuri Jr., bring out-of-towners to sit around large round tables made from wine barrels (locally made at a shop a few doors down), or settle in on a couch or chairs with friends or your significant other.
Wines are arranged from sweet to dry for both red and white, with a few local choices. The staff appears knowledgeable about each bottle, and can help you make selections based on your preferences.
The dispensers use argon gas to preserve the wine past its usual shelf life. The gas, combined with the machines’ consistent temperatures, means reduced oxidation and keeps each bottle of wine fresh for several weeks — instead of a handful of days.
In addition to wine, Della Viti offers a full bar, as well as a selection of craft beers for the non-wine fans. (Beer and liquor are paid for separately, not on the prepaid wine card.)
Find it: 323 Main St., Ames
Hours: Open 2 p.m. daily
Info: (515) 232-0241; dellaviti.com