19 June 2009

Wine in San Diego

There's a new business model in town.  The Splash wine bar, which is a relatively new place, has an interesting setup.  When you walk in, you'll notice chairs around the outside of the room, and several large machines with wine bottles in them.  You approach the bar at the back end of the room, and buy a card for wine (a flat dollar amount).  Then, you can buy a splash (about one ounce) of wine in your glass by putting the card into a machine and placing your glass under the spout of the wine you want to try.  The prices range from around a buck a splash on up.  Any of the wines are available by the bottle, and many are available by the glass.

This is a pretty fun business model.  You can try a dozen different wines in a short amount of time.  And many of these are wines you might feel more nervous to buy an entire bottle of (given that you can buy an ounce of $100 a bottle wine, it becomes easier to sample wines that you're less likely to purchase).  There are some really fabulous wines served here.  Indeed, we walked out with a bottle of 10 year old Porto Kopke that was fantastic.

The downside of this little place is that having to get up after an ounce of wine to get more kind of kills conversation.  You end up wandering around the room exploring the wine, passing your friends exploring the wine, but there are too many interruptions to be a good place to talk.  The other downside is that if you're like me, and you like wine, you can blow a lot of money really fast.  Fortunately when we went, we had dinner reservations, so we only spent an hour there.  That was perfect.

Will we go back?  Hell, yes.  It's a fun way to try wine, and a great way to get a few bottles for your home.  

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