Among a string of new businesses in Downtown Davis is Vini Wine Bar. Owned by former Davis resident Jeff Day, the bar officially opened on July 15 and is located on 611 Second St. across from the Varsity Theater.
At the bar’s center, there are three circular self-serving stations with three others strewn across two adjacent walls. Above each wine bottle is a tasting note that has information about the type of wine, a description of the wine and the origin.
“Today there are some wine bars like this in Napa and Obispo,” Day said. “Both feature wine from that region, but what makes mine different is that I have 80 wines from around the world.”
The wine bar features jazz-inspired murals and a long white marble bar. A large flat-screen TV shows black-and-white jazz icon series from the ‘60s while jazz is played, adding a finishing touch to the jazzy atmosphere. The main attraction, however, is the Enomatic wine preservation system that is used to keep the wine fresh.
According to Enomatic USA, an enomatic system is a state-of-the-art wine preservation and serving system that uses inert gas to displace the air in open bottles of wine, allowing them to stay fresh for up to 30 days.
Because wine oxidizes quickly, the quality of taste is noticeable after two or three days, Day said. The enomatic system, however, keeps the wine fresh by emitting argon into the bottle via a tube. Argon weighs two and a half times heavier than air, allowing it to prevent oxidation of the wine.
Unlike other wine bars where customers normally purchase by the glass or the bottle, Vini customers purchase a tasting card in which a minimum of $10 can be added. Each circular wine system has two card slots on opposite sides in which the card is put in and remains there until the wine has been completely poured.
The cards can be kept as a souvenir or for future refills. Every pour of wine is defaulted to two ounces, so if more is needed, then more than one purchase would be necessary.
Day used to serve by the glass until he found that he was wasting the wine because people would purchase only one or two pours from a bottle.
“We would open a bottle to do a glass and nobody might come for two or three days that would want the same wine,” Day said. “Because wine oxidizes really quickly, you could tell the difference after a day or so.”
To ensure that the wine stays fresh, Day now only keeps a certain amount of wine bottles such as six reds and six whites for those who do not want to purchase the card, but would like to purchase by the glass.
So far, the place has received positive reviews from customers, Day said. The place has seen a flow of college students and an older demographic, but it’s more of an adult-driven venue.
“I come two or three times a month,” said Aaron Shreve, a political science graduate student. “Most places in Davis don’t have a wide selection like this. The system’s really fun to try different wines, and cool because there’s no wait. The vibe is really different, laid back, quiet and nice.”
Other than wine, the bar also serves beer and hummus, meat, olives, grapes and crisp and cheese plates provided by Stone’s Catering in Davis. Customers may also purchase wine bottles to go.
Vini Wine Bar is open Tuesday from 3 to 11 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m.
MEE YANG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.