4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Schooled

At Village Vino, the staff doesn't pull any punches in terms of wine

Back in July, Mary Beth Abate did a thorough job of getting at what Village Vino is all about. The Kensington wine bar gets ahold of interesting vintages from small New- and Old World vineyards. Owner Rita Pirkl is an obvious wine buff and it’s clear that the wine bar is as much an expression of her passion for the grape as it is a business venture. Many of the wines seem to be priced affordably if purchased by the bottle, and a nominal discount for retail purchases further encourages customers to buy and drink more wine. This is just an educated guess, but I surmise wine prices at Village Vino run much closer to retail value than the same wines would in a conventional restaurant.

Having heard good things about the place, I popped in with a group of friends. It’s an interesting concept, and mostly well executed, but not without its quirks. I got the feeling that Pirkl, and some of the other staff members, are experienced in wine and much less so in table service and hospitality. Their tableside manner involved much shrewd criticism of my party’s wine decisions. This is not in keeping with the longstanding tradition of restaurant sommeliers, most of whom keep their extensive knowledge in check while they attempt to make the guest feel superior in his or her taste.

For me, Pirkl and company’s direct manner was a breath of fresh air. I basically threw myself in their hands and asked for something delicious. I was justly rewarded for doing so. My friend, on the other hand, felt wholly intimidated at the implication that her choice in wine was insufficient and that she could expect disappointment, even from a good wine, if we weren’t willing to shell out for another excellent one. I stuck up for her as best I could, but there was no denying the truth of what we were hearing.

They’re straight shooters at Village Vino, I’ll give them that.

And I’d say keep it that way. It’s a great opportunity for a little education.

Mary Beth had also said that Village Vino planned to add more food to the menu than what they opened with. Six months later, I found the food to be problematic. I tried some hummus, and a $12 smoked salmon flatbread plate that featured three little rounds of toast with creme fraiche, salmon, and a lovely dotting of caviar. I hate to grouse, but I think I could get equal amounts of salmon for half the price at some local coffee shops.

I would like to see the food at village vino being given away for as little as possible in order to facilitate more and better wine drinking. The little snacks and bites are hard pressed to compose an entire meal, and I would have felt more strongly encouraged to explore the wine menu if the food had been a non-issue in terms of cost, quantity, or quality. To wit, make the food act as an excuse to drink more. Everybody likes that kind of excuse.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Last night at the Coronado’s Bistro d’Asia

Does Coronado maybe want to move on?
Next Article

Jimmy’s Santee Stroganoff

“People have been coming in for years. They know what they like.”

Back in July, Mary Beth Abate did a thorough job of getting at what Village Vino is all about. The Kensington wine bar gets ahold of interesting vintages from small New- and Old World vineyards. Owner Rita Pirkl is an obvious wine buff and it’s clear that the wine bar is as much an expression of her passion for the grape as it is a business venture. Many of the wines seem to be priced affordably if purchased by the bottle, and a nominal discount for retail purchases further encourages customers to buy and drink more wine. This is just an educated guess, but I surmise wine prices at Village Vino run much closer to retail value than the same wines would in a conventional restaurant.

Having heard good things about the place, I popped in with a group of friends. It’s an interesting concept, and mostly well executed, but not without its quirks. I got the feeling that Pirkl, and some of the other staff members, are experienced in wine and much less so in table service and hospitality. Their tableside manner involved much shrewd criticism of my party’s wine decisions. This is not in keeping with the longstanding tradition of restaurant sommeliers, most of whom keep their extensive knowledge in check while they attempt to make the guest feel superior in his or her taste.

For me, Pirkl and company’s direct manner was a breath of fresh air. I basically threw myself in their hands and asked for something delicious. I was justly rewarded for doing so. My friend, on the other hand, felt wholly intimidated at the implication that her choice in wine was insufficient and that she could expect disappointment, even from a good wine, if we weren’t willing to shell out for another excellent one. I stuck up for her as best I could, but there was no denying the truth of what we were hearing.

They’re straight shooters at Village Vino, I’ll give them that.

And I’d say keep it that way. It’s a great opportunity for a little education.

Mary Beth had also said that Village Vino planned to add more food to the menu than what they opened with. Six months later, I found the food to be problematic. I tried some hummus, and a $12 smoked salmon flatbread plate that featured three little rounds of toast with creme fraiche, salmon, and a lovely dotting of caviar. I hate to grouse, but I think I could get equal amounts of salmon for half the price at some local coffee shops.

I would like to see the food at village vino being given away for as little as possible in order to facilitate more and better wine drinking. The little snacks and bites are hard pressed to compose an entire meal, and I would have felt more strongly encouraged to explore the wine menu if the food had been a non-issue in terms of cost, quantity, or quality. To wit, make the food act as an excuse to drink more. Everybody likes that kind of excuse.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close