There’s a new wine bar coming to Winter Park — and its owners are coming from another country.
Owners Fabio Perricelli and Paula Gamba have been hard at work bringing the Vinia Wine Bar to Hannibal Square. It’s a labor of love for the married wine connoisseurs.
“We always went to restaurants in Brazil,” Perricelli said. “We love wine, we love food, we love to cook. We always were imagining a place where we would feel 100% at home and comfortable. We decided (because) we didn’t find that place, let’s make that place ourselves.”
Perricelli and Gamba originally planned to start a bar in Brazil, but after considering the country’s political and economic climate, decided to move to a new country instead. They started in Italy — Perricelli has Italian heritage — but missed their friends and family from their home country.
They then turned to Florida more than a year ago and, after a road trip through Naples, Key West, the Villages, and West Palm Beach, stopped in Orlando. After failing to find a location they liked in the City Beautiful, the duo was just about ready to give up and head back to Brazil. But on the day before they left, they checked out the nearest Shake Shack — one of Gamba’s favorite eateries — in Winter Park.
“We said, ‘This is the place we want to put our wine bar,’” Perricelli said. “We came to Park Avenue, and it was love at first sight.”
The pair finally quit their jobs in design and marketing and moved to Winter Park permanently. They have enjoyed walking around the city — something they used to do together in São Paulo.
Vinia Wine Bar will offer a variety of European and Mediterranean wines, as well as a selection of cheeses, meats and other appetizers. Perricelli said the food offered will be Mediterranean, healthier and lighter, such as an Italian-style flatbread, oysters, panini, salads and more. As expected, the food is tailored to go well with wine.
The pair expects their wine bar will stand out because of its selection. Perricelli and Gamba have been contacting distributors looking for wines that aren’t found on supermarket shelves or other restaurants. They plan to have 35 “old world” wines from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the United States available at the beginning.
“We want to have the traditional grapes and wines but also something that’s a surprise,” he said. “Lots of Malbec are from Argentina, but we have a French Malbec. We’re looking for this sort of stuff — chardonnay from California, of course, but others from smaller producers.”
The bar’s interior has a cozy, low-level lighting that Perricelli hopes will be a good hangout or date spot. The booths and tables, some of which will be outside for dining, were picked up from vintage stores, and Perricelli used his graphic-design skills to create the bar’s logo. As for the name itself, “vinia” is the Latin word for “vine.”
Perricelli owns a farm in São Paulo, where he raised goats that he sold to restaurants. That’s how he started learning about different wines and artisanal meats.
Gamba and Perricelli plan to have a soft opening for Vinia Wine Bar in the coming months before a grand opening.
IF YOU GO
Vinia Wine Bar
444 W. New England Ave., Suite 119
PHONE: (407) 925-7485