Asheville, North Carolina in five hours

On Saturday, May 14, 2011, I spent five hours in downtown Asheville, North Carolina, exploring their wine and bar scene.  Below are my recommendations.

The Wine Studio of Asheville
169 Charlotte Street
Asheville NC 28801
(828) 255-5955

According to owner Jessica Gualano, CSW, on the Wine Studio’s website, it “exists to facilitate a better wine experience for all wine lovers.” The store only has 500 labels at a time ” to offer a diverse and dynamic set of wines from around the world.”  The store offers wine classes, tastings, and Girls on Grape, a women’s wine tasting club.  I enjoyed both the store, the wines I tasted, and meeting Jessica, whom I had met via Twitter, but never face to face until Saturday.  I left the store with my purchase, a bottle of 2010 Château des Annibals Cuvée Suivez-moi-jeune-homme Rosé, from Provence, France, recommended by Jessica.  You can follow Jessica online via Twitter or via her blog.

The Sky Bar
18 Battery Park Ave
Asheville NC 28801
(828) 225-6998

The Sky Bar is located on the top three floors, the fire escape/balcony areas, of Asheville’s historic Flatiron Building.  You enter the building on the ground floor, where an elevator with an attendant takes you to the top floor.  Once you arrive, you will discover full bar offerings and some of the most amazing views of Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge mountains.  The décor is sparce, just a few tables and chairs on each level.  It’s a simple, but very cool concept. Here I enjoyed a Terrapin Rye Pale Ale (Athens, GA).

Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar
1 Page Avenue #101 (Grove Arcade)
Asheville NC 28801
(828) 252-0020

What a small world! My friend and I arrived at the Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar and I noticed that they had Foris Vineyards‘ Gewürztraminer by the glass.  I inquired about the wine and the manager said, “How do you know Foris?” (apparently that is not a common question!) and I explained that I manage travel for one of Foris’ wine brokers.  Come to find out, we are both mutual acquaintances of Foris’ National Sales and Marketing Director.  The manager opened a bottle of 2008 Foris Pinot Noir for us, which we enjoyed by the glass.

The Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar is both a unique and beautiful venue, think a classic library combined with a wine bar.  According to their website, it “offers you the marriage of two of earth’s fines pleasures, books and wine, side by side. Or should we say page by glass? Persue thousands of books in dozens of categories while sipping a fine wine, sparkling wine, or Champagne.”

5 Walnut Wine Bar
5 Walnut Street
Asheville NC 28801
(828) 253-2593

As their website states, “Our philosophy is simple — Keep It Fun, Keep It Friendly.”  5 Walnut Wine Bar offers wines at the $5-$15 per glass price range, as well as six local tap beers, and light appetizers from local businesses.  Even the décor and furniture are made by locals.  I elected to try one of the local beer offerings, the Catawba Valley Brewing Company White Zombie Ale, a Belgian-style white ale made with coriander, orange peel, and wheat. Yummy!


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