Why I Wondered About Wine

The world is filled with wonderful tastes and smells. It was in my own personal interest to discover them.

It’s hard to have that one special place that you always want to go to when you end up falling in love with so many. That exact thing happened when I started my project on local wineries. As a craft beer lover, I wanted to expand my palate and learn to enjoy wine just as much (which will probably never happen).

A Wine Sunset
Estate Grown Chardonnay waits in a glass as the sunset peeks through at Shade Winery in Shade, Ohio.

There is an obvious difference in the atmosphere at a winery compared to a bar; that’s what makes you fall in love. At a winery, you feel relaxed, safe, sophisticated or maybe you just feel old. The bar scene is slowly starting to lose its touch on me because of the shoulder to shoulder crowds and underage students who can’t handle themselves. With so many bars in Athens, I really wanted to shed light on the softer drinking scene at wineries.

I’m not saying that wineries can’t be super exciting because believe me, when my friends and I go out, we know how to have a good time. I just wanted to understand the behind the scenes production of how hard it is to make your own wine or to operate a business for that matter.

During my project, I visited Wolftree Winery, West End Ciderhouse, Shade Winery, Pleasant Hill Vineyards, Do It Yourself Shop, and Athens Uncorked (which is the first wine bar in Athens). Everyone was very inviting and they were happy to show me how the process worked. I was able to see the barrels the wines age in, all the materials and equipment they need, how they pour the wine into bottles, different corking methods, personal labels, their vineyards or where they buy their grapes from, the science behind it, production, marketing, and of course FREE samples!

I didn’t just enjoy these locations, I enjoyed the people and the community behind it. That is why it is hard for me to pick my favorite spot when it comes to drinking wine. There is no better way to spend an evening than to have a delicious glass of wine, a nice spot to relax, and close friends enjoying it with you (besides maybe having some craft beer).

Athens Uncorked pours out classiness

I don’t know about you, but being classy — or pretending to be classy — is one of my main goals every day. So that’s why I asked my friend Meryl if she would accompany me to the classiest place I could think of: Athens Uncorked.

Last year as the assistant culture editor for The Post, I wrote about this new business opening on Station Street. My only knowledge of the place was that they served wine, wine and more wine.

It’s run by a brother-sister duo who wanted to an introduce a wine culture to a sister dominated by rap-music-bumping, tequila-shot-shooting bars.

“It’s someplace comfortable, a little quieter where they can enjoy being with their friends and not have to compete with a band or a large crowd,” co-owner Kathy Blake said in the article.

And they’re serious about creating a study- and people-friendly atmosphere. Here are “The House Rules” posted in store and online:

  • No Wi-Fi available.
  • Please avoid spending your visit looking at your phone.
  • No reservations unless the wine mezzanine booked prior to arrival.
  • No wine snobbery unless the next round for the house is on you.
  • No car-bombs. No Jager-bombs. No bombs of any kind.
  • No Budweiser. No lite beer.
  • No Grey Goose. No cosmopolitans.
  • And finally, please do not bring anyone to Athens Uncorked that you wouldn’t bring to your mother’s house for Sunday dinner.

So, now being a fresh 21 years of age, it was time for us to experience it for ourselves. I was pretty pumped.

We arrived around 9 p.m. in the dim, cozy, living-room-like shop. We chose a Athens Uncorked pours out classinesshigh-top table with a very classy lamp: Perfect for two classy women like ourselves.

Meryl had already been there once and was excited to order the “Home Sweet Home” wine flight. Each of its flights comes with three, two-ounce pours of a selection of wines. I decided to go with “The Big Three Whites.” I wasn’t feeling any heavy red wines on this night.

We were given a carafe of water. We also decided to each split a cheese and meat plate. It had our standard meats and cheeses, along with some bread, so no major surprises there. I thought it was certainly a grown-up move on our part.

Grown-ups dig that platter life.

When our flights arrived, we got a little cheat sheet about what our wines were (which I was hashtag-thankful for because I had forgotten by then) and our wines were numbered. Each white wine had its own aftertaste, which I was really only able to decipher thanks to my cheat sheet. I would, however, highly
recommend the “Home Sweet Home” because THEY LITERALLY ALL TASTED LIKE JUICE.

After we had finished our flights and some very mature conversation (really, just giggling), we even decided to order a separate glass of Meier’s Wien Cellars American Concord. I ended up spending a bit under $30, but for the quality of wine, meats, cheeses, conversation and atmosphere, I was highly impressed.

So, Bobcats, if you’re looking for a fancy place, try Athens Uncorked — or, do what I do on most nights and just crack open a bottle of Barefoot and eat some Babybel cheese.

Just stay classy.