Wine Authorities –
Raleigh’s newest wine shop – opens this week
Open House January 11th
This week founder Craig Heffley will open the doors to Raleigh’s newest wine store – Wine Authorities – located downtown at Person Street Plaza (211 East Franklin Street; 919-831-WINE; www.wineauthorities.com). In celebration, Heffley will host an Open House January 11th from 11am to 5pm. “This is an exciting moment – to see our wine retail store grow, and to become part of the burgeoning growth that’s taking place in downtown Raleigh” Heffley proudly explained.
Since opening in Durham in 2007, Wine Authorities has blazed a new trail in wine retailing. Eschewing big brands and critic-appointed ratings, Heffley has focused on a selective inventory, creative, informative and even humorous marketing, and wine education. As a result, loyal fans and national press followed; Wine Authorities has repeatedly won Durham Magazine and Indy Week’s “awards for Best Wine Shop, and in 2013 The New York Times’ wine critic Eric Asimov praised Wine Authorities as a “shop devoted to removing intimidation from the wine business.”
“We believe that our customers care as much about what they put into their glass as they do about what’s on their plate, so we don’t carry any factory made wines… only wines made by small family-owned wineries; and we’re excited to finally bring these wines to Raleigh,” exclaimed Heffley. And what’s more, Wine Authorities focuses on value and doesn’t cater to collectors. As a result it’s become a haven for drinkers of everyday wine, all under $50 a bottle, with the majority of their selection under $15.
Wine Authorities takes great pride in sourcing delicious, value-oriented wines and has even been quite successful as one of the largest retailers of artisan “bag-in-box” wines. Heffley continues to source delicious wines from small, estate-owned wineries in an effort to deliver hand crafted wines at an affordable cost – in the same way that he’s experienced at many tiny restaurants and corner markets in European villages. “There are so many fantastic little wineries around Europe producing amazing wines that we can sell to our customers for less by removing the middle step of bottling.” Soon, up to 12 wines – several of which will only be available at Wine Authorities – will be available in this format, with prices ranging from an everyday wine at $25 (3 liters) to a rare reserve wine for $95 (5-liter).
On January 11th, Heffley and his knowledgeable and zany team – known for taking the pretention out of wine selling – will pour a variety of wines and beers. Featuring the largest Enomatic in the area, this Italian wine dispensing machine will provide 24 wines for sampling before purchasing (1 ounce tastings range from 80¢ to $5). Visitors will also discover a wine-by-the-glass menu and cheese & charcuterie plates to enjoy in the indoor lounge seating and outdoor café seating. Wine Authorities’ Open House will give customers a glimpse into the many ways they can visit and explore the extensive wine, beer and artisan food selection.
Heffley, a longtime supporter of independently owned businesses, has invited local food and beverage entrepreneurs and vendors whose artisanal foods and brews will be available at the store regularly, to sample on January 11th. “Our open house gives us a chance to show off our favorite local artisans as well as our enlarged indoor and outdoor seating in the Raleigh store,” explained Heffley. The new 3000-sq foot Raleigh store is 50% larger than the Durham store, allowing for a larger lounge area for tasting more wines and beers, double the capacity for cheese, charcuterie, and refrigerated specialty items, and a more comfortable shopping experience.
At the open house, and on-going, guests will find local craft beers like the much-anticipated Ponysaurus, as well as Trophy Brewing and Crank Arm, Scratch Bakery’s crackers and granola, Yellow Dog Bakery’s breads, Greensboro’s Giacomo Santomauro’s charcuterie, Toast’s salad dressings, Big Spoon Roasters Nut Butters, Counter Culture Coffee in bag, Slingshot’s coffees, as well as local and imported cheeses. Food trucks will also be part of the festivities.
Children are welcome to join in the celebration! Just like the Durham store, Wine Authorities’ Raleigh store will be a family-friendly wine store, offering a kids coloring table for designing little works of art that will be displayed in the store. A kid-friendly magician will also be on hand at the open house.
The Open House isn’t the only event planned at the new Wine Authorities store. Since education is at the core of their mission, free tastings will take place every Saturday and Tuesday, with Tuesday showcasing more obscure wines, and regular classes providing an opportunity for more in-depth tasting and study, often with winemakers and importers – just as they are at the Durham store. Tastings at the Raleigh store will begin immediately after opening, and the first wine class, “Vine to Wine,” will take place in January.
Wine Authorities’ new Raleigh store is poised to become a destination for wine buyers of all types who seek knowledge over pretension, and flavor over hype. Customers nationwide may also tap into Wine Authorities unique selection – and value-oriented offering of 6 bottles for $70 – by calling 919-831-WINE.
Wine Authorities immediately won the hearts and palates of many when the Durham wine store opened in 2007, thanks to their commitment to value-oriented artisan “farmer made wines,” for their unintimidating and playful approach and their consumer-friendly wine shopping experience. Eschewing big brands and critic-appointed ratings, Wine Authorities focuses on a selective inventory, creative, informative and even humorous marketing, and wine education, and as a result, has blazed a new trail in wine retailing. Local and national press has followed including Durham Magazine and Indy Week’s “awards for Best Wine Shop, in 2013 The New York Times’ wine critic Eric Asimov praised it as a “shop devoted to removing intimidation from the wine business,” and in 2008 Food & Wine Magazine named them “the home of high tech.” Wine Authorities newest store is in downtown Raleigh, NC.