June 2016 - San Diego CityBeat


During the last five years, Bottlecraft has become a mainstay of San Diego beer culture. The bottle shop's model combines partaking with perusing to satiate the needs of thirsty patrons at locations in North Park, Little Italy and Liberty Station. Now, owner Brian Jensen has taken that same idea and applied it to wine with the opening of Vino Carta, located in the original Bottlecraft location in Little Italy.

Just like its predecessor, Vino Carta stocks its shelves with a variety of beverages, many from small producers. The store's inventory is divided into new and old world. In the new world you'll find California standbys, including local wines. From the old world, there's a large amount of Italian and French wines along with some from Germany and beyond.

In the "bar" portion of the store, patrons can buy full or half glasses or opt to purchase a bottle from the shelf and pop it open (corkage is $4 for half bottles and $8 for full). The bottles themselves range in price with some as low as $15 and many falling in the $20 to $30 range.

Having just held its grand opening last month, Vino Carta is still ramping things up. Its website now features an online store with local deliveries through Postmates, and pick-up is available. It will also start hosting many tastings in the coming weeks—some with specific winemakers, others focusing on specific regions and still more with guest sommeliers.

The laid back approach combining retail and service shows the trend of the wine world to mirror the successful styles of the beer world. The wines carried here are of good value, and the environment feels casual and inviting. The layout hasn't changed much, but there is more of a home-y vibe to the place now; with wood tables and chairs for small groups, a corner showcasing floral arrangements and succulents by Huntress Florals, and a vintage record player piping in tunes.

Just as with the beer world, if the quality isn't there, neither are the drinkers. Vino Carta is showcasing a good variety at palatable prices. Some of my own favorite brands that I spied on the shelves include Australia's Silkman and California's own Idlewild and Matthiasson. Seems like San Diego's newest wine shop is off to a promising start.

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Saturday, May 21st-- GRAND OPENING PARTY @ Vino Carta!

Saturday, May 21st-- GRAND OPENING PARTY @ Vino Carta!

The dust has settled.  We've met our neighbors.  The wines are kick ass!  It's time for a party!  Please join us for tasty snacks, some good juice and a great time, as we celebrate the grand opening of Vino Carta.
Please join us for the official grand opening on Saturday, May 21st.  From 2-5 p.m., there will be hosted snacks, special wines on BY THE GLASS, and a wine bottle raffle.
With over 150 retail options, the carefully curated wine shop side of Vino Carta represents the classic wine growing regions throughout the world and the producers who accurately reflect what makes each terroir distinct from one another.
Always serving at least 12 wines BY THE GLASS to choose from, the bar side of Vino Carta offers patrons both "half glass" or "full glass" options.  The BY THE GLASS offerings are dynamic, not always seen in restaurants, and promote an atmosphere of exploration and discovery.
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Italian Winemakers Tasting: Balgera and La Staffa

Italian Winemakers Tasting: Balgera and La Staffa

Saturday, May 14th  1pm- 4pm   |   5 Wines:  $15
Discovering new and exciting wines is a thrilling endeavor, and Italy constantly offers new discoveries.  Wether new releases from classic, established wineries or young winemakers crafting classical interpretations of indigenous grapes, Italy never disappoints.  On that point, we invite you to join us for a tasting of two great Italian wineries:  Balgera from Valtellina in Lombardy and La Staffa from Castelli di Jesi in the Marche.
The terraced Valtellina vineyards of Paolo and Luca Balgera's estate offers an exotic, alpine profile of Nebbiolo.  Aged in big barrels for years prior to bottling, the wines of Balgera offer mature wine drinking pleasure at "Tuesday night" pricing.  
Young Riccardo Baldi of La Staffa is organically farming high elevation vineyards of Verdicchio on the eastern slopes of the Apennine Mountains.  Aromatic and luscious, Riccardo's wines are a perfect fit for our fish taco tendencies.
Please join us as we welcome Riccardo Baldi and Paolo and Luca Balgera to San Diego for the first time.  They will be on hand to pour through their estate wines and answer any questions you may have about the fascinating world of traditional Italian wines.   
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Vino Carta Featured in Eater San Diego!

Bottlecraft Uncorks Wine Tasting Bar & Bottle Shop in Little Italy


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 storeVino 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 to20 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.

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