BY AMY HILL
Planning a dinner date for Valentine’s Day and need a high-quality bottle of wine for the table? Visit Wine Merchants to find the perfect bottle of wine to woo your date. CFO Alan Miller and Managing Partner Caleb Flint ensure that the wine sold at Wine Merchants is produced by real people rather than allowing major corporations to call all the shots. Alan and Caleb enjoy getting to know the wine makers through the distribution process, with wine makers and producers having visited the shop firsthand. The duo does their fair share of research on up-and-coming products by attending conventions and embarking on food and wine excursions in foodie hotspots such as Charleston, South Carolina. Prior to 2020’s turn of events, Caleb had plans to visit Italy, which is a wine-lover’s dream come true. Additionally, Alan has spent weeks in Australia as an underwater photographer, providing him with an excellent opportunity to taste local fare.
In addition to wine, Vin205 Bodega – former farm to table bistro at Wine Merchants, now a specialty grocery store – sells a wide variety of local, sustainable shelf items, along with local butcher meats and seafood. Alan and Caleb’s passion for meats and foods inspired Wine Merchants’ popular Take and Bake meals, which allow customers to take home fully prepared meat and seafood entrees and side dishes. The shop sells the best oysters Rockefeller in town and sensational lobster mac and cheese, in addition to foie gras and dry-aged steaks. If your Valentine is not too keen on meat or fish, Wine Merchants also prepares vegetarian meals for purchase. Korean and Italian food products, local beers, ciders, vermouth, and other cocktail mixers line the shelves of the Bodega. If your date has a sweet tooth, treat him or her to the shop’s local chocolates or sugar-free caramels. Curious about the various Take and Bake meals available at the shop? Visit the Wine Merchants & Vin205 Bodega Facebook page for the latest Take and Bake items. Calling the shop in advance to request items for curbside service is strongly encouraged to ease any COVID-19 concerns.
If you’re new to the world of wine and are not sure where to start, Alan and Caleb suggest participating in a wine tasting hosted by professionals in the beverage business. Of course, due to the pandemic, wine tastings at Wine Merchants have been placed on hold until the weather is more suitable for outdoor tastings, but Caleb and other Wine Merchants employees are still able to help guide prospective (and seasoned) wine-drinkers in the right direction. Employees at Wine Merchants love conversing with customers and receiving feedback on various wines in order to provide the best service possible.
Still not sure which wine to choose for date night? Caleb believes that champagne on Valentine’s Day is a must. As a matter of fact, he insists that celebrating all holidays with bubbles is imperative. Popular champagne choices at Wine Merchants include J. de Telmont Cuvee Grand Rose Brut or Jacques Bardelot Brut. If you’re concerned about pairing wine with food, you can relax a bit. According to Caleb, “Pairings can set things off and make things great, but rules can go by the wayside as long as you are in the presence of good company.” A quick trip to Wine Merchants will ensure that you impress your date with fully prepared gourmet meals, outstanding wine, and great conversation.
Want to know more? Follow Wine Merchants and Vin205 Bodega on Instagram at @winemerchantsbodega, and like the Facebook page to keep up with the latest news and updates. Call the store at (336) 765-8175 or visit www.vin205.com for business hours and contact information.