Many a night, customers picking up a pizza or meal at Shelburne’s La Villa Bistro & Pizzeria have asked owners Jill and Adam Spell if they could also take home a bottle from the wine list.
The answer, until now, has always been a regretful “sorry,” because state liquor laws prohibit an eatery that serves wine from selling bottles to bring home. But when a retail space next door became vacant, the Spells had a brainstorm: What about an adjacent wine and cheese shop?
Enoteca will need to have its own door, and it won’t open until July, but Jill Spell is giving the new place a European feel. “The definition of ‘enoteca’ is a place to taste wine, purchase wine and the accompaniments of wine. That’s pretty much what I’m shooting for,” says Spell. She’d like to relieve customers of the need to stop at different places for dinner and its accompaniment, she adds.
Demand will dictate most of the wines that fill the shelves. La Villa’s customers have a penchant for California wines, but the Spells plan to hold regular tastings during which customers can place orders for wines to be picked up the following week.
Enoteca will also carry cheese, and while Spell personally prefers goat’s and sheep’s milk cheeses, again she’ll cater to local tastes. “So many people [around here] do a really good job at cheese, so I think it’s going to be tied more to customer demand,” she says. That may eventually include wheels of fresh cheeses cut to order, as well as accoutrements for picnic baskets.
Rather than compete with nearby wine shops, Spell hopes to foster a complementary and collaborative vibe. One possibility, she says, is a Shelburne “tasting night” when customers would be able to float from establishment to establishment, sampling vino.