Wine, Beer, & Culture of Community: Grapes & Grains



“Water separates the people of the world. Wine unites them.”

This message, scripted across the wall of the Clemmons wine and beer shop owned by Jim Todd and Chris Finan, paints an appropriate portrait of the environment within. The men’s vision for Grapes & Grains is to not only offer fine wines and unique craft beers, but to cultivate an environment where guests feel a sense of community. By offering wine and beer for sale, along with the opportunity to have a glass from the bar over conversation with a friend, they have set the stage for an entirely unique environment. There is truly no place like it in the area.

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When asked about the wine selection, Jim’s enthusiasm is noticeable. “I have always had a passion for wines,” Jim said. “But when I was first exposed to good wine – everyone has that moment – it changed everything. We’re used to grocery store wines, but once you try a good wine, you realize how much is out there. Ninety-five percent of what we sell is not available in a grocery store. However, we still cover all the price points, selling anywhere from $7 to $100 bottles of wine.”

Although the vision began with a wine shop, it quickly expanded as Jim and Chris discovered the world of craft beer and found it to be exciting and ever-changing. The brew scene is huge in North Carolina, with Asheville housing more breweries per capita than any city in the country. Jim spends many weekends traveling the state, looking for new breweries to feature at Grapes & Grains. “Sometimes we’re the first store in the area that has beer from a certain brewery,” Jim explained. “For example, we were the first in the Triad to carry Wicked Weed brewing in Asheville. Our goal is to be that store that brings unique things that you’ve never heard of or tasted.”

But the selection does not stop locally. Grapes & Grains proudly carries items from all over the world. Jim works off of recommendations from distributors, and even customers who bring certain products to his attention. That is what makes this part wine and beer shop, part bar so refreshingly different. It is small enough to allow all types of customer interaction, from pouring a glass of wine to accepting suggestions for new products. Those interactions, and the inviting coffee shop- esque feel of the place, make it difficult for anyone to walk out a stranger.

22-Grapes&Grains08-SFWThe weekly beer and wine tastings Grapes & Grains offers provide visitors an opportunity to hang out with friends and meet new people, while learning about and trying new drinks. The shop also hosts live music every other Saturday. Although food is not served on the premises, guests are welcome to bring their own. The shopping center location makes bringing in dinner from a nearby restaurant convenient. Each of these aspects contributes to the culture of Grapes & Grains – one which celebrates community and friendships, both old and new.

“Last week a couple, probably in their early forties, was sitting here having a glass of wine, and another couple in their mid-twenties walked in,” Jim remembered. “They didn’t know each other, but they started chatting, and at the end of the night they walked out as best friends. They had plans to go to dinner the next night. That kind of thing is fun, and we enjoy promoting that environment.”

As the opening quote so eloquently and appropriately states, wine unites. Both the novice and the connoisseur are welcome at Grapes & Grains because, in the end, specialty beverages are only part of the experience. These unique and exquisite fine wines and craft beers are at their best when shared.

What are people saying about Grapes & Grains on Facebook?

  • “Awesome store run by wonderful people! 🙂
  • Love the selection and rotating wine/beer on tap!”
  • “This is a must visit place in the Winston-Clemmons area. Great selection of good beer and wine, not to mention a very select rotating draft beer selection, with many craft beers from all over NC and elsewhere. The owner Jim is super knowledgeable, and will do his best to make sure you get what you are looking for. Don’t miss out on this place!”
  • “Great atmosphere! Enjoyed a great local beer and my wife thoroughly enjoyed her glass of zinfandel.”

Grapes & Grains is located in the Clemmons Lowe’s Foods shopping center between East Coast Wings and Subway. “Like” them on Facebook at facebook.com/grapesgrains to keep up with new selections and events.

 


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