The Wine Goddess
Wine instructor Diana Hamann knew she’d have to tweak the inventory at The Wine Goddess (702 Main Street, Evanston 847.475.9463) to attract a following. So instead of stocking familiar favorites, she sourced boutique wines from the top wine producing regions in the world. A mix of blends and varietals, the 200-plus wines range in price from $7.99-$150, with half of them priced under $20.
The shop’s wines are displayed in IKEA-style cubbies grouped according to country of origin. Ratings from popular publications and wine writers are neither displayed nor mentioned. Instead, Hamann offers “merchant profiles,” complete with tasting notes, in addition to the purchase-specific details e-mailed to the customers’ home. Included in the latter are a hyper-link to a compatible recipe on Epicurious.com. and information about the winery.
As a convenience, Wine Goddess has a small, refrigerated cooler stocked with ready-to-drink wines perfect for a night at Ravinia or Millennium Park. Handcrafted beers and a select inventory of artisanal accompaniments are also available.
The shop’s ambiance is another departure from the norm. To keep children occupied while their parents shop, there’s a train table at the front of the store, just steps from the comfy seating area where customers can sit and chat. Themed classes are held on Thursday nights at the back of the store from 7-8:30. Prices vary from $45 to $65 per person, per class. Seven wines are featured, along with light bites, such as truffle popcorn, bread, cheese and nuts. Additional tastings ($3) are held on Fridays from 5pm-8pm and on Saturdays from noon-3pm.
Herself an Evanston resident, Hamann says the suburb has a long history of supporting local merchants. The proximity of Northwestern University is a plus, as are the nearby condos and the combined Metra and CTA station. But for Hamann, the shop’s biggest asset may well be its size.
“I really have an opportunity to interact with the customers,” she says. “This is a small shop, and it’s very personal. I want to encourage people to try something new, to venture beyond the basics. And most of all, I want people to enjoy wine and not to be intimidated by it. “
The Wine Goddess is open Mondays-Thursdays from 11 am-7 pm, Fridays from 11 am-8pm, Saturdays from 10 am-7pm and Sundays from noon to 5pm.
Filed under: Food Shops