Anfora Wine Merchants, 128 S. Marion St., is a combination retail shop and wine education center, named after a two-handled terracotta vessel used in Ancient Rome to store or transport wine. Since opening two years ago, the Pleasant District destination has become a regional wine destination and captured national attention because of some press from the James Beard award winning drinks publication, Punch.
“Our approach to wine at Anfora is not how a standard sommelier would approach it,” said Adrian Weisell, co-owner of Anfora Wine Merchants “Wine is about more than taste to us. We look at wine drinking through a cultural and historical lens.”
The Marion Street shop honors old world traditions and celebrates Italian wines. A welcoming retail space engages customers upon entry, floral murals cover walls and terracotta pendant fixtures hang from the ceiling. Wooden shelves house bottles of wine and a set of double doors give way to a tasting room with a counter suitable for hosting small classes.
Anfora’s knowledgeable staff strive to make the shop a festive gathering space where people come to select a bottle to open at home or enjoy a bottle of wine on the patio with friends. Anfora has a limited number of wines available by the glass, but Weisell is quick to point out the entire shop is available to be enjoyed for a very modest corkage fee. Anfora is building a deeper sense of community through its wine club and classes as well.
The close bond between Anfora and Carnivore, the artisan butcher shop located around the corner at 1042 Pleasant St. is one of the best kept secrets in Oak Park. Earlier in the spring Anfora partnered with Chef Brad Knaub of Carnivore to curate a one-night-only, Sicilian-inspired meal driven by the high-quality wines crafted by visionary winemaker, Frank Cornelissen.
The regional wine exploration featured a four-course dinner and a tasting of seven wines from the superior cluster of Cornelissen vineyards nestled in the northern valley of Mount Etna. More special collaborations between the Pleasant District powerhouses are planned through the fall and winter. Added bonus: the entire Carnivore menu is also available to Anfora patrons daily.
Anfora Wine Merchants is a social destination where people embrace the thoughtful approach the entire staff takes to curate a wine tasting experience no matter if it is a private event or casual outing with friends.
Anfora Wine Merchants
128 S Marion St, Oak Park