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This New Virgil Village Wine Shop Has A Decidedly Female Focus
The complex relationship between women and wine has existed since long before Scandal's Olivia Pope poured her first glass of red. Now, Virgil Village wine shop Vinovore is taking that relationship to the next level by offering "female-driven" wines from over 100 different female winemakers.
Vinovore is the brainchild of Coly Den Haan and Dean Harada, who recently opened fusion fried-rice joint Hot Hot Food just up the street from Vinovore. One of L.A.'s first female sommeliers, Den Haan previously opened L.A. restaurants The Must and Perch and earned her wine cred from a 2007 course at the Italian Sommelier Association (ISA).
"There's definitely a gender imbalance in wine," Den Haan says, noting that the most direct comparison in L.A. is the film industry, which still struggles to include women's voices. "More and more female winemakers and sommeliers are coming into the light now, so this is an exciting time for the focus of our shop," Den Haan adds. Her current favorite wines include Martha Stoumen's Teal Drops Rosé, Elisabetta Foradori's Fuoripista and Amy Atwood's Oeno Wine.
There's a refreshing lack of cringey #RoséAllDay marketing at Vinovore; the Photoshopped portraits of Susan B. Anthony chugging Cupcake Wine that I'd expected were nowhere in sight at the Virgil Village store. (I blame the intersection of feminism and capitalism for my cynical nature).
Instead, I found a cozy yet grown-up shop offering a wide price range, with nary a "Male Tears" wine glass to be found. Vinovore is playful, to be sure—a wine tasting chart on the wall groups tastes using the characteristics of animals, such as the Purple Ape ("cheeky and vibrant"), or the Green Snake ("curious and graceful"). Visitors to the Virgil Village shop are greeted by a Big-style Zoltar Fortune Teller machine, which Den Haan says she's "lugged around" since her days running downtown L.A. wine bar The Must (RIP). Still, the shop's decor manages to avoid veering over into cutesy "I loathe myself for being here" territory.
Vinovore has drawn in a steady mix of neighborhood locals and feminist oenophiles since its opening in late September, and Den Haan says she's already planning "phase two": a hidden bookstore in the back of the shop, where Penguin classics will be paired with thematically appropriate wines.
Vinovore is located at 616 North Hoover Street in Los Angeles. They are open Mon-Thurs from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (323) 363-7484