Photo by Collins Laatsch.

In Hooch Haven

With one of the largest selections of wine in a brick and mortar shop in Columbus, Hausfrau Haven in German Village has a cellar and shop sporting thousands of bottles of wine and a wine bar pouring new varieties weekly. Co-owners Faye Muncie and Julie D’Elia have been at the helm for more than two decades and are getting even better serving the local community over time. I find my way through the cobblestone sidewalks to talk to Muncie and D’Elia on a Tuesday, which is Muncie’s busiest day of the week with vendors.

“Even though you don’t swallow the wine during the tastings, I’m typically feeling pretty good by the end of the day,” she tells me. We laugh as I think it would be impossible not to feel great every day with floor-to-ceiling bottles of wine waiting to be sampled. Depending on the pace, it could take years to work your way through the stock in Hausfrau Haven.

As we sit at the large handcrafted bar, Muncie takes me on a journey through how she selects wine for the shop. She explains the importance of going to the source to learn about the soil, weather conditions, and grapes that produce each bottle. She has hand-selected everything I see around us, taking multiple trips abroad each year.

“I know what I like, but I also keep the customers’ palates in mind,” Muncie says of the monumental task of buying for the store. While she is tuned in to her customers’ tastes, such as popular California cabernets, Muncie’s fondness for European wines and encyclopedic knowledge naturally leads her to educate and encourage locals to sip a vintage from abroad. The bar’s rotating wine list is heavily European-centered, with French and Italian reds among the customer favorites.

Her journey from casual wine consumer to expert connoisseur started after the purchase of the shop. She speaks candidly about her number one recommendation for how to better understand wine, which is, “Just taste, taste, taste!” Perhaps there is hope for my palate yet.
D’Elia chimes in to my right, “When we first took over the shop, the original owners were very knowledgeable about wine, but Muncie has taken it to a whole other level. She really loves wine. She goes to trade tastings and seminars practically weekly and spends a lot of time learning about it. It is a huge passion of hers.”

While Muncie globetrots to find the stock, D’Elia is in charge of the store’s operations, as well as a construction business. Her Italian heritage is evident in the way she greets everyone who walks in like family and puts customers at ease. I am convinced she has never met a stranger.

As I ask about the history of the shop, D’Elia tells me that the store honors the work of previous owners Fred Holdridge and Howard Burns. The men were German Village visionaries, always striving to make the area an exceptional place for families and starting events that still exist today. Their first priority was always the community.

“When we put in the wine bar, its purpose was community,” D’Elia says. “It is a place where people can get together and gather on a cold Friday night or stay in touch with friends. A lot of what we do here is about community.”

Customers still enjoy memories of Holdridge and Burns throughout the shop, like the quarter they glued to the floor decades ago that people still try to pick up. Their comical handwritten signs are displayed with the two most famous on opposite sides of the front door reading,

“Unattended Children Will Be Sold” and “Come Back Again. Bring Money.”

As D’Elia and Muncie reminisce about the store’s roots, they remember their first full day of ownership. After purchasing the building and business, they returned on April Fool’s Day to discover they were locked out.

“There we were. We bought a building we couldn’t get into!” D’Elia laughed. Holdridge and Burns brought the forgotten keys down from their upstairs apartment shortly after. Each part of the shop seems to hold a different memory of the previous owners, just as D’Elia and Muncie have been creating memories with their customers over the past twenty-
one years.

The shop’s cozy, lived-in feel is the result of decades of care and community involvement. With a variety of price points and something to satisfy every wine lover, Hausfrau Haven’s unpretentious, yet classic atmosphere makes it the perfect hang-out any day of the week. A place of memories, community, and an almost record-shattering amount of wine, D’Elia and Muncie have carried on the tradition of allowing the shop to become something bigger than themselves.

Hausfrau Haven is at 769 S Third St. Visit hausfrauhaven.com for more information.

Story by Abby Hockman.

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