In need of a wine professional for a private five-course dinner? Trova Wine + Market will set that up. A guided wine tasting? Christmas gifts packaged and prepared for pick-up? Trova can do that, too. Think of it as wine for all in Preston Plaza.
“There’s a lot of purposes that we can serve. There’s probably things that I haven’t even thought of that we could do for people,” Trova owner Michelle Bonds says. “I’d love for people to just check us out and think of other ways that they utilize and have wine in their lives and see if we can fill that gap for them.”
Trova opened July 16, 2020, pandemic be damned, after three years of planning. Bonds, 37, started working out a business plan while she was still at Plano-based Yum.
“I started looking for real estate and then it just snowballed from there,” Bonds says.
After visiting Tootsies and a few other shops in the Plaza, Bonds’ mother-in-law wanted a glass of wine. Il Bracco wasn’t open yet and True Food was under construction.
“I thought, man, this shopping center needs a wine bar. And so whenever the time came, I looked here because the traffic’s already there,” she says. “The stars just aligned for here.”
Muchaco or Ill Bracco will send hungry customers to Trova when the wait is too long or they’re overcapacity. After a year, there’s a slew of regulars who drop by, and the Trova staff already has their order.
Trova offers small plates, salads and sandwiches. The rotating, seasonal desserts are the brainchild of pastry chef Stephanie Vivino, former chef de partie of cronut fame Dominique Ansel Bakery. The curated wine menu features wines from all over, but on the condition that you can’t walk into a Tom Thumb or a Total Wine and find it. A French chardonnay, André Dezat, is the neighborhood favorite.
“If you can get it everywhere, why would you come here?” Bonds says. “There are so many super good producers that make smaller batch. And they just don’t have the inventory to go into those huge places. So that’s where places like myself or Bar & Garden on Ross come in.”
In Bonds’ early 20s, she had a job where she had to buy wine for people who knew more about it than she did. She began frequenting a small shop in Chicago with a great selection led by someone who could pick the perfect bottle of wine.
“He just guided me in the right direction, and I forever miss him,” Bonds says. “But I remember thinking to myself, I’m gonna know what Fred knows one day.”
She took an intro sommelier exam to deepen her knowledge of wines. Trova’s concept is modeled after Pan y Vino, a wine bar that she and her husband would visit when they lived in Argentina in between starting new jobs. She consulted with a longtime Dallas restaurateur on developing an outline of a menu to give to a chef. Bonds knew she wanted green and marble tabletops. Then her friend helped pull together the design elements.
There’s a long table tucked into a back corner that’s almost always rented. Hyer Elementary School room moms rented it for a night out. A 90-year-old bride recently had her shower there. They’ve done private dinners, offered tastings of northern Italian cuisine and taught classes on cheese and charcuterie building.
About 90% of their business is on-site consumption, especially during happy hour. The rest is either picking up a bottle from the market or picking up your wine club order.
“I’m trying to grow that part actually when people see the store and they see the setup, they think on premise,” Bonds says. “But I want them to think of us as a stop as well.
Trova Wine + Market, 4004 Villanova St., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday