Nearly every night, you’ll find Della Viti, the Downtown Ames wine bar, full of both seasoned and novice wine connoisseurs. By its nature, understanding wine can be a bit complicated. Since 2014, owner Beth DeVries has made it her purpose to make wine accessible to understand and enjoy. As a result, she has built a loyal customer base for her business that is continuing to expand.
DeVries’ path to wine is not traditional. In fact, she admits that she knew very little about wine when she took over Della Viti. She is a trained research scientist with a degree in genetics from Iowa State University. For 13 years, she worked in product development of proteins and helped scale her research for business application. She was laid off during a corporate restructuring in 2013, which eventually launched her ownership in Della Viti. Today, she takes her scientific background and applies it to wine.
Della Viti is a self-service wine bar, an anomaly in the hospitality industry. The business model is convenient for customers as it allows them to sample smaller portions at a time in order to develop their palate. “My customers are able to experiment with different types of wine. They don’t need to purchase a full glass and this allows them to understand what they really like,” said DeVries.
DeVries works with eight distributors that bring in wine from across the world. On average, she estimates that she tastes fifteen to thirty different wines a week, which equates to sampling over 10,000 different wines over the past eight years. Like a scientist, she takes detailed notes of each one, and these notes help make purchasing decisions. She brings in over 500 cases a year.
When the wine enters Della Viti, they are organized for the customer by taste profile. For the consumer, when they find a profile that they enjoy; a California cabernet, for example, a similarly profiled wine is placed in the rack next to it, helping the customer with their next tasting.
“I think our customers enjoy finding out what they like and then they are equipped to branch out and explore.” When they do find the wine they love, a bottle can be purchased and taken home for enjoyment with family and friends.
Through her business, DeVries is always seeking ways to give back to the community that has supported her. Earlier this year, the Iowa Restaurant Association honored DeVries with the Restaurant Neighbor Philanthropy award, an honor that recognizes her charitable giving and volunteering. DeVries has donated wine to the Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Hope Gala, put together gift packages for the annual Boys & Girls Clubs gala, organized 5K charity runs, and regularly offers Della Viti as a meeting location to 100 Women Who Care, a local philanthropy group.
As her business evolved, DeVries has always had the ability to adjust. The pandemic was a prime example of this flexibility when she quickly pivoted to an online retail store. She continually embraces social media trends and has expanded her offerings at Della Viti to include food options. Her next venture will expand her presence on Main Street as she is preparing to open another business.
Della Viti is located at 323 Main Street.
304 Main St.
Ames, Iowa 50010
Phone: (515) 232-2310
About the Ames Chamber
Centrally and conveniently located in the heart of the Midwest and Iowa, Ames is known for its healthy, stable economy, flourishing cultural environment, and the world-renowned Iowa State University.
With over 700 members, the Ames Chamber of Commerce strives to make Ames a better place to live, work, and do business by strengthening the economic vitality and the quality of life in the Ames community.