Two long time friends with a passion for wine, food and travel are beginning a new chapter at Bella Monte and bringing a new wine experience to Hampton Roads.
On the restaurant side, owners Chris Martini and Tony Walker are still serving up many of the classic recipes you have come to know and love over the past quarter century, but they’ve also put a renewed focus on sustainability and sourcing as many local products as possible. Plus, everything on the menu is made in house.
Perhaps the biggest change inside this beautiful mountain is the renovation of the former retail space. This area now houses a wine boutique (Enoteca) with more than 300 selections for your sipping pleasure. In the back of the retail shop, you are greeted with a charming, rustic wine lounge. Think Aspen ski lodge meets wine country tasting room.
A long rustic table made from a tree trunk fills the center of the room. Soon this table will be lined with cozy high-back leather bar stools with seating for 12. Tucked along the reclaimed wood wall, you’ll find cozy leather chairs that invite you to lean back, relax and enjoy a glass of wine. From the seating, to the lighting to the music, the ambiance inside the Enoteca encourages you to put down the cell phone and swirl, sip and savor with family and friends.
Martini and Walker have traveled the world together with their wives and wanted to bring their passion of wine country to their neighbors in Hampton Roads. So when Bella Monte came up for sale earlier this year, it was a no-brainer to bring their vision to Virginia Beach. They have no intention of changing the name either. Bella Monte translates to beautiful mountain in Italian. It’s a fitting name considering some of the best wines in the world are grown at high elevations.
While the previous owner had an affinity for French wines, Walker and Martini have greatly expanded the Italian and American wine selection. They are focused on creating a wine program that highlights the best and brightest producers around the globe. They have also installed wine by the glass dispensers that give customers an opportunity to taste some higher end wines, one ounce at a time. They look forward to expanding their Virginia wine portfolio and bringing in some exciting producers from the Pacific Northwest.
From the Enoteca to the restaurant, Martini and Walker want to create a culture where wine is accessible to all. Want a certain wine for dinner, but can’t find it on the menu? No worries! Customers can select any wine in the retail shop and pair it with their dinner with no corkage fee. They also offer a wine delivery service. Bella Monte is located at 1201 Laskin Road in Virginia Beach
Martini and Walker are currently revamping their website, but in the meantime check them out on Facebook to find out about specials and future wine events. While you’re at it, follow me, Crystal Palate, on Facebook, for perfect pairings ideas and sips & tips from the world of wine.