* New Ownership *
As most of my Charleston following know, Gary and my journey creating this blog, our in-person and virtual wine tastings, and now our wine concierge services started when Gary began his three-year stint working at The Wine Shop of Charleston. We recommended and sent many of you there to purchase wine. If Gary was there when you came in to shop, or it was one of the previous owner’s good days, all was grand. But if it wasn’t, many of you had an unfortunate encounter with her that left you bewildered or annoyed. Thus you found other places to shop. I can’t blame you. After all, we stopped shopping there as well. A couple of months back, we heard a rumor that the previous owner had retired and sold the store after 25 years. We did not investigate because we were happy with our current retailers.
Then, after a chance meeting at our neighborhood pool, we met the new owners, Laurie and David Osbon. They, of course, are lovely and very excited about their latest adventure, so we told them we would stop by.
The Wine Shop of Charleston’s New Team and Attitude
When you walk in The Wine Shop of Charleston on Lockwood Dr., it looks much the same except for a new bar and a chalkboard wall that runs across the back wall of the shop.
What is different is the vibe. You will be welcomed with a pleasant greeting and a smile from the staff along with a willingness to help you find just what you want every time you visit. And that is a great thing!
The Wine Shop of Charleston – New Owners
David and Laurie are Charleston natives that recently moved back to the Holy City after a seven-year stint in Nashville. They were looking to purchase an established ABC store when they heard about The Wine Shop of Charleston, and it’s neighboring ABC store. The owner was looking to retire after 25 years, so they investigated. Ultimately, they jumped at the chance to make their way back to Charleston and their family. This was more than just a liquor store and turned out to be a perfect fit.
Laurie immediately began her Wine and Spirit Education Trust education and has already passed her level two certification. She hopes to complete her level three certification by November. You will find Laurie in the store most days from open to close.
The Sommeliers of The Wine Shop of Charleston
To add experience and knowledge to the team David and Laurie hired two certified sommeliers, Desmond Garrity and John Riddick. Desmond had already been part of the wine shop team for a few months. His previous experience includes time at Charleston Grill, Slightly North of Broad, and High Cotton. After this, he went out on his own operating Crushed Fine Wine in Mount Pleasant from 2008 to 2019. He has a phenomenal taste for wine and the experience to back it up. John is putting much of his effort into the liquor side of the business. His goal is to make Marina Liquors into the best liquor store in the Low Country. Combined, Desmond and John bring over 40 years of wine and spirits experience and knowledge to the team.
Two Rosé Finds
that I have not seen anywhere else.
I have no idea why but rest assured that the wine inside is delicious. The first time I saw this wine bottle, I was very put off by it. Why the strange-looking bottle? Does the wine suck so they try to lure you in with a fancy bottle? Then I learned that this was “the same as Prestige.” So once I knew that I went back to get a bottle and taste it for myself. I liked it… a lot. Gary liked it as well. It will be a part of our rosé rotation this fall.
Expect bracing acidity that is rounded out with flavors of raspberry, stone fruit, and minerality. It is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault. It is from the Languedoc region in France. This wine sells for $19.99 a bottle. Head to the rosé section in the back room. You can’t miss it.
Domaine de Sahari, Beni M’Tir, Morocco, Rosé 2019
What? Wine from Morocco? I know, I had no idea either. This wine is a featured “new addition” with placement by the chalkboard wall. It sells for $14.99, so I had to try it. My first thought was Morrocco is a Muslim country, so isn’t wine “illegal?” Well, no. Moroccan law does not prohibit the production of beer and wine but only their sale to Muslim customers. So think of this as an industry for export and non-Muslim tourists.
My second thought was that the French last colonized Morocco until its independence in 1956. It would make sense that wine production might be an industry that the French would pursue here. As it turns out, wine has been produced in Morrocco since ancient times. None the less, the French influence on winemaking, I would assume it to be a positive development.
So we bought a bottle. It is also a blend of Cinsault and Grenache. This wine had moderate acidity and a more fruit-forward nose and palate. I liked it and would buy it again, but it would not be my everyday rosé. Gary liked it but not enough to want to buy it again. I knew that the moment I took my first sip—too much fruit and not enough acid for Gary.
The Wine Shop of Charleston
* What about the Wine Selection *
For those that used to shop at The Wine Shop of Charleston, it is time to return. The store still has the previous owner’s imprint and her predominantly French wine selection. I do not know how that will change as Laurie and David sell-through the purchased inventory. I have hopes that they will put their own stamp on the selection as well as those of Desmond and John.
Seeing a wine from Morocco in the store is an excellent sign. It is my hope that the other European country’s sections will be given a deeper bench. And that they will make room for a broader swath of California, Oregon, and Washington in the store. I hope they continue to leave grocery store wines in the grocery store and keep the focus on quality.
I think they are off to a terrific start, and I look forward to seeing their growth in the months and years to come. Laurie is there most days from open to close. She always has a smile on her face and is ready to assist you in any way she can.
The Wine Shop of Charleston is located at the Safe Harbor Charleston City Marina at 3 Lockwood Dr #202 A, Charleston, SC 29401. The phone number is 843.577.3881. Hours currently are Monday – Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm.
That is all for now.
Rick & Gary