We’ve got more in common with the Middle Ages than we’d like to admit these days, but at least we now get the perk of medieval wine windows. Conceptualized during the plague, Tuscan vendors carved these tiny windows into the walls of shops and taverns, allowing patrons to buy wine safely and at a distance—lest they contract the disease. Sound familiar?
These wine windows are back in action in Italy, with newer ones now trending across the world. Now one of L.A.’s best wine shops is embracing this social distancing era with a contactless wine window of its own. Vinovore, the woman-owned and women-focused bottle shop in Silver Lake, just installed one to keep customers and employees at a distance and the experience couldn’t be easier.
Simply approach the new window and look either to the left, where you’ll find a menu board listing bottle and can specials, or peruse to the right, where you can see the full stock of bottles on display, each bearing a tag with hand-written tasting notes and the price. When you’re ready to order, press the new button—you know, the one under the instructions to “push it, push it real good”—and a staffer will take your order and pass you your wine (cans and bottles only, no glasses here).
Sommelier and Vinovore owner Coly Den Haan was planning the window before the trend took off, but you don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate or foresee the appeal of quick and contactless access to wine right now. She’s also kept her wine shop humming these last few months with “Winesplaining” virtual tasting events, where Vinovore-approved women winemakers and vintners join in on Zoom calls from around the world to talk and taste, and participants order one or two corresponding bottles of wine to sip along with the class—just one more way Den Haan is furthering female-fronted labels and wine education.
“I know I’m not going to be changing anything by opening a wine shop but I wanted to do some sort of a part and feel like I was doing something to support women when I felt like there were a lot of things going against us,” Den Haan previously told us after the shop first opened. “And it’s not just the wine industry that could be male-dominated—the entertainment industry is a good local example of boys’ clubs—and I thought, you know what, it was the right time, it felt good and why not?”
Vinovore and its new wine window is located at 616 N Hoover St, with hours of noon to 8pm Monday and Thursday; 11am to 9pm Friday and Saturday; and 11am to 7pm on Sunday.