Monday, March 4, 2024

Brews and Bites: The Wine Seller and Chef Maggie’s Cork Cafe

The Wine Seller and Cork Cafe is a staple in Monticello Marketplace. (The Wine Seller)

WILLIAMSBURG — “Brews and Bites” is a feature series that showcases locally-owned food and drink establishments in the Historic Triangle.

The Wine Seller and Cork Cafe has been in business since November 1998, and it is still located where it first opened its doors, in the Monticello Marketplace. More than just a bottle shop, the store offers tastings, has a mixture of wine and beer on tap, and has a cafe.

Chyna Jones has just taken over as Operations Manager after her predecessor decided it was time to retire. Jones originally started with the company in 2018 as the beer buyer, and was then promoted to wine buyer. Jones took over managerial duties earlier this year.

“I’m super excited, because I feel like I’ve always been made to run my own business. The owner is truly a silent partner and he’s granted me full autonomy over the store. This whole entity is really me. It feels great and I’m really enthusiastic. I feel like I’ve been working my whole life to get to this point,” Jones said.

The Wine Seller and Cork Cafe offer niche wines and beers to the Historic Triangle (The Wine Seller)

The store carries specialty wines and beers that are not otherwise locally found. The team works to maintain relationships with breweries and vineyards to offer its clientele the best local and international options, and even carries beer from the oldest brewery in the world in Bavaria, Germany.

“Once you get here for one beer, you’ll spend the rest of your evening here because of the conversations you find yourself in, the people you end up meeting, this is our own version of Cheers and I feel like I get to be the Sam Malone of it all,” Jones said.

Jones and head chef Maggie Lawrence work hand in hand to fully create an experience for their patrons, and Jones said she equally feels the love back from her customers.

“I love this town. I’ve never met a collection of better people. The military has provided us with this epicenter of camaraderie and we all have chosen to live here. Rarely do I meet someone who is born and raised here, we’re all here by choice. We truly epitomize ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ in this town,” Jones said.

The Cork Cafe is also located within the business. Chef Maggie has been working on a seasonal menu that includes flatbreads, sandwiches, crudités, and charcuterie. Lawrence is currently featuring a selection of German-style foods.

One of Chef Maggie’s cheese boards (The Wine Seller)

“I feel like if you are anywhere south of Richmond or north of Virginia Beach, there’s no bottle shop like us for niche beers and specialty, fine wines. I don’t really know of any other good German eats in the surrounding areas. It really is the place you go where everybody truly knows your name,” Jones said.

Currently, the shop is planning events for throughout the year. On Feb. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the store will host a Hangover Brunch with a mimosa bar, food, and live music. It hopes to add more events in the future.

The shop is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, the shop is open from noon to 8 p.m. The store is closed Sundays and Mondays. For more information, visit grapesbythecrate.com.

Brews and Bites is a feature series that showcases locally-owned food and drink establishments in the Historic Triangle. If you would like to submit a business to be featured, please send an email to info@wydaily.com.

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