Back in May we previewed Domaine LA, the brick and mortar incarnation of the online wine shop Domaine 547. After several months of construction, owner Jill Bernheimer has put the bottles in the racks, opened the doors for a few hours this past weekend for a soft test run, and is now ready for the store's official opening.
Tucked behind California Chicken Café and WOW Bento & Roll at Melrose and Mansfield (between Highland and La Brea), the streamlined creativity of Domaine LA's interior eradicates the mundane aesthetics of the previous tenant. The NYC-based firm Della Valle Bernheimer's design for Domaine LA conveys a warm coolness that's perfect for wine perusing. Custom black walnut wood shelving made by Modern Cellar, a central lounging area outfitted with a few choice Herman Miller/Eames pieces, and a striking ceiling-mounted canopy of 48 aluminum spun hemisphere light fixtures in varying shades of purple tell you that this sure isn't a generic booze store. The horizontal blackboard band that lines the store looks stark (yet pretty!) for now, but will eventually be a place for useful info and oenophilic discussion. Bernheimer set up a computer kiosk with 200 wine sites bookmarked to give customers access to extra research resources, too.
Domaine LA's selection is organized by region, except for the internationally integrated rosé and sparkling wine sections. France is most largely represented, along with bottles from the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Southern Hemisphere, and North America. If you need a little extra gift to go with a nice bottle, Domaine LA carries a small selection of wine accessories.
Bernheimer is most interested in building an inventory of "wines to drink now, wines that I enjoy drinking, and wines in the $10 to $30 range." The spectrum includes under $10 options, cellar-worthy bottles of Châteauneuf, and harder to find and mailing list focused domestics like Sea Smoke, Kosta Browne, Williams-Selyem, and Scarecrow. Bernheimer stocks natural wines from importers such as Louis/Dressner and grower Champagnes from Terry Theise.
Proof that Domaine LA carefully uses its territory to cover a lot of ground.
Domaine LA: 6801 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 932-0280.