The sommelier and owner of Vinovore highlights some of her favorite female-owned businesses around town.
Words by Stephany Christie 4 May 2018
Coly Den Haan didn't start out with an eye for wine. But, as a bartender, her passion slowly began to surface.
“I really just started loving everything that had to do with wine,” Haan told Citizine “It kind of became demystified for me, and I thought it would be fun to show other people that the process wasn’t so stuck up and snobby.”
With that, she opened her first wine bar, The Must, downtown. The intimate space, since shuttered, helped Haan blossom into her newfound love. Not long after, she helped open a downtown staple: Perch.
“After a year of [Perch], I decided I wasn’t totally happy in that environment," Haan said of the 11,000-square-foot, three-story restaurant. "I wanted to get back to a smaller, more intimate, neighborhood-oriented type of establishment. So, I moved on from there, and long story short, now I have this great little wine shop that I absolutely adore.”
That intimate neighborhood spot is called Vinovore. It opened at the start of this year on a quickly-changing stretch of Hoover. Haan chose this location for its charm and residential richness. “I do not foresee a Starbucks going on Hoover in the next ten years,” Haan says.
Like her approach with The Must, Haan wanted to make an affable retail experience for wine. She fused her knowledge of restaurant decor and setting with her sommelier skills and created a cozy atmosphere for consumers.
Instead of the normal utilitarian way to purchase alcohol by walking up to a liquor counter, Haan made it so that, from the moment you step into Vinovore, you are having fun and feel at home. Customers can start with a wine spirit animal chart to find a wine that best correlates with them, something that she says helps people take risks and try new things.
But Vinovore has another twist: all the wines are made by female vintners.
“I’m a woman in business and in wine, and it always hasn’t been easy for me to work in a male-dominated field. So, if I could help others to showcase their wines and create a safe place for them, then yeah, let’s do it!”
And if Vinovore didn’t sound like it could get any better, you’re about to be proven wrong: Haan plans on opening a bookstore in her shop of all female authors. She also plans on pairing wines with novels, and even leading a few wine courses.
We asked Haan what other female-centric businesses she supports around town. Here are her highlights:
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