It took nearly two and a half years, but Sarai and I finally checked out Vino Venue, the high-tech wine tasting bar just down the street from my office in SOMA.
The idea is pretty neat: You buy a pre-paid card that you use at any of the self-serve tasting stations set up around the bar. Once you’ve inserted your card and selected the wine you want to try the station pours you an ounce and debits the card for the amount of the sample. Most wine samples were between $1 and $7. They say they have wines that run up to $40 per ounce but I imagine those are poured by the bartender because we sure didn’t see anything that expensive in the machines.
While it’s an interesting idea, the execution wasn’t really all that great. The bar looked like a Starbuck’s inside; the decor was sterile and the place was full of yuppies (shocking, that). It’s definitely not the kind of place we normally go. I don’t see myself going back, but it’s worth checking out at least once. We did sample some very nice wines and had fun playing with the machines.