Bottlecraft, a craft beer shop with locations in Little Italy, North Park and the soon-to-open Liberty Public Market, has always stocked its shelves with a few wine bottles, but this week, trades hops for grapes with the launch of a new dedicated wine store, Vino Carta, which is now soft open with a wine bar component.
Last December, Bottlecraft owner Brian Jensen transplanted his Little Italy shop into an expanded space nearby but held on to the original location. Its unique liquor license, which allows both retail sales and on-premise consumption, combined with the lack of progressive wine stores in San Diego, prompted Jensen to apply his bottle shop/bar concept to wine.
Open from noon to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends, Vino Carta offers up to 20 wines by the glass, with prices ranging from $6 to $12 for full pours. There will be occasional wine flight specials, but guests can create their own flights by requesting half-pours of any glass selection.
The store's inventory represents the globe's classic wine regions, but the emphasis here will not be as focused on well-known wine varietals — chardonnay, cabernet, etc. — as traditional wine stores. Vino Carta plans to feature small family-run producers and natural wines made via organic and sustainable farming practices, with most bottles coming in under $30. Advanced sommelier Evan Vallee will provide on-site wine guidance.
The bar will serve some prepared food, from snacks to cheese and pate, but also allows patrons to bring in outside food, which they can enjoy with any bottle for an $8 corkage fee; there's also a good array of craft ciders that can be popped open for $1 corkage. The store has library of wine books to read while you sip, and will sell wine guides, maps, stemware and accessories, as well as flowers and succulents from pop-up shop Huntress.