Although I have a pretty broad range of interests, wine is one of those things I know very little about. Fort Collins is a town known more for its beer and breweries, and while I know plenty about the local beer, I have never been to a wine bar. So, when Travis and I ended up at d’Vine, I had no idea what to expect.
One thing I do know about wine is that there is so much variety in winemaking, with different vineyards, varietals, and wineries, that every wine you drink can taste completely different from another one. Knowing this has made me a little tentative to order wine because I have no idea what I would be getting. But, visiting this amazing little wine bar and bistro in south Fort Collins was all it took to make me brave enough to try whatever was put in front of me.
The staff at d’Vine is so welcoming and personable that you immediately feel comfortable asking and trusting their opinions. I think even the pickiest of eaters would have a hard time saying no to whatever they suggest. In addition to their friendly servers, the owners at d’Vine are often available and happy to get to know their customers whenever they get the chance.
I had the privilege of speaking to Howard and April Brigham—the owners and creative geniuses behind d’Vine—about the restaurant, as well as their other company, Super Suppers. Being the Internet nerd I am, I looked them up before coming in to find out a little more about the place. But even after my search, I still had plenty of questions for Howard and April.
Although they started out with Super Suppers, a take-and-bake meal supplier in town, they explained how they had always wanted to open a wine bar. Once I learned a little more about them, it was clear why a wine bar was the only option that made sense.
April grew up around the wine and spirits business, having lived in California among all the winemakers there, as well as having her family directly involved in the industry. Combine that with her nutrition degrees, and you end up with a wine bar and bistro that is not only delicious, but highly attuned to the flavors and nutrition of the food it serves.
Howard has his own experience in the restaurant industry to bring to the table as well. Having opened restaurants all over the country, he understands the business end of opening and running a restaurant. With April and Howard’s collective experience and their enthusiasm for their work, I’m sure d’Vine will soon become a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
The restaurant itself is a cozy, modern dining area with a bar at one end and beautiful wall art and pictures on either side. The back wall has a glass door that leads out to the patio, open during the summer months. The colors inside the dining room are very warm and summery as well, making me think of Tuscany, for whatever reason.
Now, on to the menu: I was overwhelmed with how many amazing options there were, and I only looked at the lunch menu! Everything looked so delicious, and especially after I saw what Travis had ordered, I knew I’d have to return for a few more visits if I wanted to try all of it. However, since it was mid-afternoon already, I settled on one of their wine flights and, with a little encouragement from our server, a dessert.
Again, not knowing much about wine or wine bars, I was surprised to learn that they had “flights” of wine. Breweries like Odell’s have beer flights available, but this was my first time ever seeing a wine flight on the menu. (I’m afraid I may just be a little out of the loop on that one.)
What is really great about d’Vine’s wine flights is that there is so much variety. You can choose a wine flight by location, in which you get three wine samples from one wine-producing region like Italy; there are varietal wine flights, where you get three glasses of one type of wine from three different wineries; and finally, there are flights by description, like the “Worldly Whites” flight that I chose, in which there are three completely different wines that fit into a particular category.
This type of variety is something you don’t see at other restaurants. Some restaurants tend to stick to certain brands or locations, and some restaurants just pick those wines that are priced affordably. At d’Vine, the focus is more on the flavor. The wines selected are chosen based on taste, as well as on the price. Ideally, Howard and April want the wines they choose to be the best flavor at the best price. Furthermore, they get their chef involved with the wine selection so as to prepare food and wine menus that will be able to complement each other.
d’Vine’s wine list is extensive, to say the least, but alongside their flights, they also offer house cocktails like their take on a Dirty Martini, a Bloody Mary, and their St. Germain Cocktail. Their bar is well-stocked with wine and spirits, so you will be sure to find something to your liking. But once you narrow down the menu options and make a decision, I recommend asking your server for a wine pairing. The servers at d’Vine are knowledgeable and familiar with the menu offerings to help you choose exactly the type of wine that will go best with your meal.
As to the dessert we ordered, it was by far the best bread pudding I’ve ever had. Bread pudding is one of those things that a lot of restaurants get wrong—it’s too soggy, too hot, not hot enough, or something else is just not right. However, the bread pudding with bourbon sauce at d’Vine was, dare I say, divine. We enjoyed it so much that we forgot to take a picture before devouring it!
As d’Vine expands, Howard and April plan on adding more seating, but they don’t plan on growing it into a metropolis. Their incentive to keep it small is that they want to control the quality of the experience and menus better than a large restaurant would be able to do. While I wouldn’t mind having another d’Vine location or two elsewhere in Colorado, I have to agree that the experience of a place doesn’t always transfer to a new location.
From the moment you walk in, to the moment you finish your wine or your meal, d’Vine is a delightful experience. If you are looking for a quiet, intimate ambiance, a friendly wait staff, and amazing food and drinks, head to Harmony Road to d’Vine!
If You Go
D’Vine Bistro-Wine Bar-Kitchen is located at 2580 E. Harmony Rd, Suite 102, in Fort Collins. They open at 10am Monday through Saturday and 1pm on Sunday, and close at 10pm Tuesday through Saturday, and 8pm on Sunday and Monday.
Happy hour is from 3 to 6pm daily, and they regularly offer live music, tastings, and special events. Check their website (http://www.dvinebistrocolorado.com) for more details, or you can call 970-472-9999.
As a bonus, you can pick up prepared Super Suppers meals at d’Vine! Orders can be placed online at www.ssfortcollinsco.com.
Photos by: Travis Kline is a graphic designer and programmer at Go Colorado who enjoys photography, camping, and traveling around his home state of Colorado.