In Italy the term Enoteca is used to describe a local Wine Shop with a range of high quality wines. The word derives from the Greek and although it literally means ”wine repository” it has an important cultural function as “wine library”: a centre of knowledge and information about the different wines and vine-growers of the local area. The word, in fact, uses the same suffix as the Italian words Biblioteca (library) and Pinacoteca (art gallery). Typically the wine selection of an Enoteca is more focused on small wine producers than large wineries and it offers tasting facilities together with an assortment of wines by the glass.
The Enoteca doubles as a Restaurant offering regional food to accompany the wines; the menu can vary from nibbles to very elaborate dishes; hence the term Enoteca has been sometimes used as a name for italian-style restaurants with a very good wine list.
The concept is now very popular and it is widespread to other countries: under the name of “Vinothek” in Austria and Germany and “Oenotheque” in France, while in London it has kept the original Italian name.
Ultimately an Enoteca is so special because of the combination of a friendly and convivial atmosphere with the wine knowledge and competence of the “enotecario”; this makes it the ideal place to buy a bottle of wine retail or enjoy a glass of wine and a proper meal on the premises. It is also a hub for wine tastings, supper clubs, aperitifs, wine and food pairing.
An authentic Enoteca is an asset and an important part of the community: bringing people together and spreading the wine and food culture and promoting a healthy lifestyle.