A new self-serve wine bar opened downtown this year. GenuWine Arizona, which opened the first week of January, uses a different kind of model for delivering wine to your glass. The place has mastered the art of getting you to pay for doing all the work yourself.
When you walk in, you’ll be asked to “trade” your credit card for a wine card. (Don’t forget it on your way out – that wine card isn’t a widely accepted form of payment.) Yep, for real.
Three glass cases of bottled wine await. Peruse the selection, stick your card in a slot, and select a one-ounce, three-ounce, or five-ounce pour. Then hold your glass under the spigot and press the button; your reward will automatically pour out, and your card will be charged accordingly.
It’s kind of like Vegas – you’re losing money AND drinking, all at the same time.
Two ladies from Gilbert are the brains behind this DIY-drink operation on Roosevelt Row in Phoenix. Lindsey Schoenemann and Emily Rieve are former Gilbert school teachers. They were inspired by a similar self-serve setup on a trip to France, and decided to open one of their own.
Prices run from $6.75 to $14.75 per glass. More than half the 24 available wines come from Arizona vineyards. Some familiar in-state names are sure to tempt you: Dos Cabezas, Arizona Stronghold, Sand Reckoner, and so on. Grape varietals are all over the map. You'll see plenty of grenache and viognier. You'll also see some less-common grapes, like mourvedre.
GenuWine balances out your buzz with a limited menu. There's a build-your-own cheese board, hummus plate, and two dessert boards that source ingredients like peanut butter and honey from local suppliers.
If wine isn't your thing, though, then how did you find this place? Just kidding. I mean, they also also serve beer on tap – the current three are from San Tan, Huss and Prescott Brewing – and by the bottle or can. Check out the mini case by the cash register, too. It's frequently updated with interesting to-go options, like Jun Kombucha (in both alcoholic and nonalcoholic versions).
Add all that to the cozy furniture, laid-back atmosphere and the local angle, and you might have just found your home away from home downtown. And just like at home, you'll have to refill your glass yourself.
GenuWine Arizona. 888 North First Avenue, #101. 602-682-7494.
Monday through Thursday 3 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 1 to 11 p.m.; Sunday from 1 to 10 p.m.
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