House of Pure Vin showcases top-quality Michigan wines
Touted as Detroit’s premier wine shop, House of Pure Vin is located in the heart of the city on Woodward Avenue, just blocks from Campus Martius. A four-minute walk north from the parking garage at 1001 Woodward – where House of Pure Vin validates parking for up to two hours – finds you surrounded by clothing stores like Bonobos, Under Armour, Detroit Is the New Black, John Varvatos, Moosejaw and Nike. However, amidst these standout clothiers, this relatively hidden wine shop sparkles from within, much like the bottles that are offered beyond the front door.
House of Pure Vin was a dream realized by co-owners Regina Gaines, Terry Mullins and Andrea Dunbar, in December of 2015 when their doors first opened to the public. The name is an ode to “Pure” Michigan and the French word for wine: “Vin.” But the “House” part of the name becomes evident only once you have paid a visit to House of Pure Vin, which feels like less of a stuffy wine shop and more like being at home, thanks to their welcoming staff.
Upon entering House of Pure Vin, patrons are greeted with a warm smile and a few straightforward questions. Red or white? Sweet or dry? Somewhat elementary inquiries to a wine connoisseur, but for those of us less classically versed in the grape, House of Pure Vin uses a friendly, fact-finding approach to demystifying the wine selection process in what otherwise can be an intimidating shopping experience.
“The language of wine can be complex,” said Gaines. “Sometimes, like language, it needs to be translated and simplified.”
House of Pure Vin’s ability to perform this simplification is mirrored in the aesthetic and the layout of the shop, which recently won a 2017 American Institute of Architect award for its interior design. The store’s simple and effortless flow transitions from Michigan wine selections, to various regions throughout the world, around the corner to a champagne and sparkling wine cellar and finally ends with a tasting room that features California varieties. The honeycomb-style shelves along the length of the shop house rows of bottles, gently obscured by industrial tubes that not only shelter them from light but also ensure that the wine is stored at the correct angle.
With more than 1,300 bottles and upwards of 150 labels on its shelves, all curated by Master Sommelier Claudia Tyagi, House of Pure Vin does not lose its boutique feel amidst its sumptuous collection. What makes this shop unique, however, is its focus on Michigan wines. Tyagi’s master sommelier status requires a deep knowledge of every wine region, district, village and grape in the world. Yet surprisingly, or rather, refreshingly, around 50 percent of the wines she has selected for House of Pure Vin are made in Michigan. Tyagi believes that Michigan has many wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Cabernet Franc, that stand toe-to-toe with that of their old-world German and French counterparts.
This is only part of the narrative when it comes to House of Pure Vin’s emphasis on Michigan-made wines.
“Detroit and Michigan are about more than cars. Michigan has over 170 vineyards and our wine production is top 10 in the country,” said Gaines, who believes that emphasizing Michigan-produced wine is important to the current renaissance happening in Detroit. “We are about the City’s revitalization and being a destination for Michigan wine.”
So what does Gaines recommend to those looking for an outstanding Michigan wine?
“Rove Estate has great blends," she said. "Wyncroft has old-world style with a new-world twist. Nathaniel Rose takes on the art of France, using the best Michigan grapes. These three producers are really making noise. They’re cutting edge. Their whole portfolio is great and they are making international waves.”
Visit houseofpurevine.com for more information and for a list of upcoming events.
This story is provided and presented by our sponsor Bedrock Detroit.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.