Wineology can be best summarized as follows: it’s a handsomely renovated space and intriguing concept that falls just short of the mark, largely due to unimpressive staff, and a wine list that, while lengthy, isn’t in reality very cosmopolitan.
Located at 1646 Wyandotte St E., Wineology has been open for about six months and bridges the gap between Walkerville and the downtown core. As the name suggests, it’s a wine bar, not a common concept in Windsor, also serving various small plates and wood-burning oven pizza.
I’ll first discuss the wine list. It offers glass pours, wine flights, and dozens of bottles from different parts of the world. The arrangement of the menu is mildly confusing initially, but the idea is promising.
My main issue with the list is its focus, which skews heavily in two specific directions: first towards Italian wines, and then towards local wines. For a bar that markets itself as a place to travel the world through wine, I really wish the distribution were more spread out. My bias is that I often lean towards French wine, and hence I was disappointed with the lack of French offerings, especially with white wine.
I’m conscious of the fact, though, that local wine sells, which is important for any business, and also that French wines aren’t very readily available on consignment.
The staff is certainly friendly and approachable, but they need to be better educated on wine. I’ve visited a few times and have been privy to some miscue every time. I once had a glass of Ghost Pines chardonnay and the server commented that she loved Napa chardonnay as well. Ghost Pines is pretty delicious but it’s not a Napa chardonnay, it’s a blend from three different counties, one of which is Napa. That’s something I only needed to read the label to know.
Another time that I went with a few friends, we ordered a bottle of red Burgundy. It was a pricier bottle and the bartender automatically assumed that he would decant it. When my friend explained that pinot noir grapes, being light and delicate, don’t benefit from a decanting process, the bartender was astonished. He’d never heard that before. He assumed we were studying wine. That knowledge might not be very basic, but my feeling is that people who work at a wine bar should know all of that.
The food at Wineology is alright, but well suited to the atmosphere. I had some fresh Malpec oysters, a meat and cheese platter, and some pizza. The meat and cheese platter runs $25 but is a generous portion, neatly plated. The pizza is fine to munch on but a little dry, it would greatly benefit from a drizzle of olive oil or balsamic reduction, for example. But in a place where the focus isn’t on food, I was happy with what I had.
I have to finish by commending the renovations and overall look. A beautiful polished wood bar surface is nicely complimented by dim lighting and moody music at night, and it makes for an overall pleasant, relaxed atmosphere, and a nice alternative to the conventional bar scene.
Wineology is again an imperfect but refreshing concept that’s not administered in a way that fulfills its own potential, but I’ll take it for now, and I encourage others to check it out. It’s generally quite busy. And my hope is that its legacy will be that it spawned other bars, similar in nature, to follow suit.