In the hopes of staying positive, I am looking forward to life seeming a bit more normal, especially when it comes to our social outings. I don’t know how many of you are venturing out to restaurants again, but I have chosen to get out of the house a couple of times and it has been quite the interesting experience. Earlier during the pandemic, and before the significant increase of numbers in the Dallas area, I went to a restaurant with a friend and sat outside where they had made a very deliberate attempt to distance the tables. The distance was noticeable and the fresh air made it feel quite safe. A couple months later, I ventured out again and visited another local restaurant where we sat inside. The tables had been significantly moved apart but the restaurant still felt quite full and there were no physical barriers to separate the tables or the various areas of the restaurant. Another month later, I experienced a much nicer scenario at a restaurant where every table was separated by beautiful French textile cloths that were hung from ceiling to floor so that every table had a barrier of sorts in-between. It was a nice feeling of not only a bit more privacy but also a much safer environment.

I find that I need to get out of the house about once a month (we are finishing six LONG months of this) because I did get out again last night to yet a different restaurant that I had not visited during or before the pandemic started. It seemed at first that they had a fairly decent system in place using clear shower curtains hung around PVC pipes placed between two rows of tables as well as at the end of each row. However, every single table was full, they were fairly close together, and every table was open to a walkway of individuals coming in and leaving the restaurant. There were large and small groups of people sitting together and others standing around talking without masks. Had it not been for the few shower curtains hanging around, it sure seemed like it might have on a typical Saturday night before COVID. I have to admit that I was fairly uncomfortable by the time we left in that it didn’t seem as though the restaurant took as many precautions as they should have but definitely took the opportunity to fill every table in the place.

These experiences, while all different and interesting, are actually assisting me in thinking through these situations and how I can ensure that Wine Culture takes the needed precautions in the future. The world is changing and as I think about the build-out of the shop and especially the bar area, I want to plan in such a manner that we can add or take-away additional barriers as needed while maintaining a community feel. I don’t know exactly what that may look like yet, but I do plan to make sure that the safety and experience of all customers will continue to be my top priority. That said, I think about what the shop will look like all the time and I can’t wait to be able to share that with you!

Here are a few spoilers! I plan to have a larger retail selection than any other wine bar in town. I want every customer to know that they can rely on our shop for all of their wine needs. We will have a steady stock of best sellers as well as a new and amazing selection of wines that may be can be hard to find, may be from small wineries, or may be available only seasonally, but there will always be a wine that you will love. There will also be a unique selection of international wines available at all times that we will also rotate in at the bar to taste and enjoy. The goal is that if you drink it at the bar, you can buy it off the shelf and take it home to continue to enjoy. The same will apply to the cheese that we will serve on the charcuterie boards. When you find a favorite, buy it from our refrigerated cheese selection and take it home to serve at your next dinner party.

Wine Culture is going to be special and unique and I am excited to start the search for the right location in the very near future.