The Bottle Shop


HV Bottle Shop doesn’t look like much and the name doesn’t really make sense (as in Hope Valley), but further investigation reveals a much needed spot for more casual wine drinking and two very helpful owners.  Thomas and Drew have been around the block for a while (having worked at Nana’s and Foursquare(?) or the like) before opening their welcoming bottleshop in Woodcroft Plaza.

All of the Carpe Durham squad has been there by now and the results are officially tallied: it’s a great place.  They have a handy-dandy wine dispenser for tastes and up to full glasses.  There are frequent tastings as well.  Every Saturday from 4:30 to 7pm they pour free tastings, usually three whites and three reds and a smattering of crackers and cheeses.  I’ve found some fantastic stuff during these tastings and they usually mark down the featured wines significantly.  And tastings aren’t just for Saturdays.  It has seemed like every week now there has been an odd-ball tasting on a weeknight (a Monday, Tuesday, and the more common Friday).  Tonight was a so-called 90+ tasting, meaning all the wines scored ninety or above in the wino magazines.  Delicious.


The wines are nearly all neatly lined up against the wall in a readily recognized fashion.  There is also the beer corner, full of great stuff, lots of it in big bottles.  And there are nice couches to hang out on and try some juice from the dispenser.  But even more than that, the place excites me because of their promotion of alternative packaging.  They are constantly looking for more tetra packs (the carton looking thing) and boxed up wine.  No not that box wine.  Please.  There is nothing bad that can come from storing wine in a box or carton.  Maybe aging is up in the air, but who’s really sitting on bottles and bottles instead of drinking and drinking.  Which is what you can do when you get three liters of wine for a whole lot less.


They also have a few of these liter bottles.  They have a bottle cap.  I bought one, it was tasty.  Crisp and apple like as I remember it.  If it is ready to drink, why risk the cork?  The organic treatment of the grapes keeps the cost up more than I’d like.  But at about $10.50 or so for the liter it was still worth the try. 

Keep an eye out for their Irregular Bin of random single beers and their Fire Sale wines.  I got a box of Pinot Evil for real cheap a little while back.  I might remember the cost if I didn’t enjoy my three liters so much.

Tomorrow’s tasting is all North West wines.  I’m excited about the pinot gris and noirs from Oregon.  There’ll also be a cab blend that should be serious business.

Published in: on June 5, 2009 at 8:03 pm  Comments (8)  

Wine Authorities Party; BURGER TRUCK

Wine Authorities (2501 University Dr) is having their 1st birthday party today, 5 – 7pm.  There will be:

That last one is not listed on the W.A. site but was in the email that they sent out to their list (a fun list to be on if you have any interest in wine and/or free afternoon drinking).  The burger truck is called Only Burger, and will be debuting tomorrow at the party.  Do other people besides me have an irrational love for food coming from trucks?  What is up with that?

They will also give an additional 5% off cases, on top of their normal case discount.  Oh, and there will be a clown.

Published in: on September 10, 2008 at 6:09 am  Comments (6)  

BrandyWine Cellars (more free alcohol)

I have no idea how I could have missed the opening of a wine and beer store, but somehow I didn’t know about BrandyWine Cellars (6905 Fayetteville Rd) until last month. BrandyWine is a nicely decorated, medium sized wine shop with a very friendly staff. Their website mentions beer from many different countries, but I only saw a couple of cases, so do not go if that is what you are looking for. Wine, on the other hand, they have plenty of!

They have free wine tasting every Saturday from 4-7pm. Overall, I like this place. Since I live closer to Wine Authorities I probably would not go out of my way to get there, but it is a good choice if you happen to be near Southpoint. Their selection of wine was impressive, and I was very excited to see they had one of my favorites (The Holy Trinity GSM — very good stuff).

They have wine covering all of the walls, split up by region. They have a large serving area/bar in the middle of the store, and a bunch of nice wood tables/chairs to sit down at while drinking your wine.


Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 7:44 am  Comments (1)  

Coffee and Crepes (and Wine and Beer)

Shade Tree has been a favorite study spot of mine for a long time. Most people who go there seem to go for the purpose of studying, so they are quiet. The lighting is good during the day thanks to two walls of windows. And, most importantly, they serve a very good cup of coffee.

My friend and I went there the other day for a reading sprint. Caffeine is helpful for that. She was also hungry (and it is hard to read on an empty stomach), so she decided to try an artichoke heart-spinach crepe from their new crepe menu. These crepes are made just like they do it in France, with buckwheat, and they have lots of fillings–both sweet and savory.


My friend liked that the fillings were fresh and simply prepared. I got all excited when I saw that the crepes were made of buckwheat, so I asked the owner about them. He said that they also contained wheat, but only a little wheat. This is enough to give me hives, so I said no thanks. However, he also said that if there were sufficient demand, he could try making them with NO WHEAT AT ALL. So, if you want to help me out (or you are allergic to wheat or intolerant to gluten), you should go in and ask Greg about this all subtle-like. Or tell him that I said to ask. I do not care.

I just had a cappuccino and a macaroon. Sometimes they will draw a little fern or heart on the top of espresso-based drinks, but they didn’t this time. Disappointing, but at least it spared me the displeasure of ruining the drawing when I stirred my sugar in. Either way, it tasted good.


They also have wine and beer. I have never partaken, but I sometimes worry that they’ll stop serving if no one orders it, so you all should go and drink there. The bar area is kind of cute. And a coffee/wine/beer bar is so continental.

A few other notes: the crepe addition is not the only change that we have observed. They used to make a big deal about some aspect of their milk, like that it was local or organic or something. Also, their website seems to be outdated, claiming to serve Guglhupf pastries and silent on the matter of the crepes.

Published in: on March 23, 2008 at 7:12 pm  Comments Off on Coffee and Crepes (and Wine and Beer)  

Toast: BYOB!

Toast just got awesomer in my book–I was getting impatient for them to start serving wine, and the owner says she’s working on that but probably getting close (apparently the ABC is annoying). But in the meantime you can bring in wine! Yay!

Also, downtown Durham has wireless, so you can get that at Toast. Yeah, I’m totally there right now.

Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 3:34 pm  Comments Off on Toast: BYOB!  

Free Alcohol

I think this is important enough to be the first post.

There are at least three places in Durham to get free alcohol and, at two of them, learn something about it at the same time.

Every Friday from 5 – 8 pm Parker and Otis, near Brightleaf, has a beer tasting. The in-store beer guy, or sometimes a rep from the featured brewery, is around to tell you about the beer, if you care.

Every Saturday, there is a wine tasting at 12 – 3 pm at Parker and Otis. At the same time (unfortunately) there is also a tasting at Wine Authorities, at the intersection of University and 15-501. Wine Authorities also has a machine that allows you to serve yourself wine on tap any time by swiping a wine debit card. It seems dangerous,* and is called an Enomatic.

Less interesting but also free (with a purchase) are the unlimited mimosas at Dale’s (the Indian place on Ninth Street) that come with the Sunday brunch buffet.

So, you’re pretty much set for the weekend, if you’re ok with starting early.

*UPDATE: When I say dangerous, I mean in a very good way.

Published in: on February 18, 2008 at 4:59 am  Comments (2)