Like Austin, TX itself, local wine bars have grown in numbers the last few years. I have visited several in the Austin area and like any business, some stand out more than the others. Vino Vino is one of the best and there is no shortage of positive press to back that up. “One of the Best Wine Bars in the US”, “Best Wine List”, “Best Place to Sip Wine” are just some of the accolades Vino Vino can claim. It comes as somewhat of a surprise when I do encounter other wine enthusiasts and professionals in the area not familiar with Vino Vino.
I am not a regular at Vino Vino in Austin and haven’t been able to participate in as many of their wine events as I would like or try the paella made fresh every Sunday. However, it is still one of my favorite places to kick back and drink a glass or two of wine. Wine tastings are some of what make Vino Vino stand out. Yes, other wine bars have tastings, but how many have 48 different Rosés (“Pink Fest”) in one tasting? What wine bars have a Spanish wine tasting and have Spanish winemakers, grape growers and experts on hand to share the intricacies of the regions wine, its unique flavors and characteristics? You are always getting a little something extra when you visit. Educating your customers is a necessary and fun element to a good wine establishment in my opinion.
Jeff Courington, the main man of Vino Vino takes personal interest in finding the right wine for his customers. If your interest is Chardonnay, he will bring several over and have you taste them, getting your feedback and helping you find the right one for your palate. Jeff is old school or old world in his preference for European wines. You won’t find anything from California, Washington or Texas here. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful and has guided me in making a few selections as well. Some of the most unique and interesting wines I have ever had were at Vino Vino. Forget the book sized wine list with hundreds of choices, instead you’ll find a small variety of handpicked selections that is always changing. I enjoy trying new wines every chance I get and this suits me just fine.
Vino Vino is located at 4119 Guadalupe St. between 41st and 42nd right next to the Hyde Park Gym and a stone’s throw from Central Market. Vino Vino has your typical wine bar layout with a long wooden bar on the right, wood flooring and plenty of tables. Some of the wine is stored on racks that line the inside walls. Overall, a cozy atmosphere and low lighting for those looking for a romantic night out. Wine by the glass will cost you $9-$15 on average, but save $2 a glass by going to Happy Hour 5:30-7pm. Vino Vino also offers more than the prerequisite cheese plate with a full menu such as Wagyu Beef Sliders($5), Mussels and Fries($14) and Pumpkin Cake w/Vanilla ice cream($8) as random examples. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on the food and fine dining aspect as the only thing I have ever sampled was a blue cheese plate. The most important thing to me in a wine bar is the wine after all.
If you live in the Austin area or plan to visit, do yourself a favor and stop by Vino Vino. Don’t miss out on the fun stuff either, like the wine tastings, wine dinners and ever changing wine menu. Sign up for their emails and twitter feed to stay informed.