Charleston has its brunch scene, its beer scene, its tuned fine dining and sure-fire dive bar scenes. And wine has always been there — long legs, polished glasses, even the bargain stuff that chefs toss into sauté pans — but wine hasn't always been accessible, and it certainly hasn't always felt fun. For newbie wine drinkers, the lexicon of the practiced oenophile can be daunting and dull.
Josephine Wine Bar sommelier Ashley Broshious understands this and knows that drinking wine is as much an art as it is a celebration, a learning experience for everyone involved. "It's not just a bar that throws out good drinks," she explains of the new concept at 64 Spring St., "we're all teachers."
Hailing from the Carolinas (Broshious spent a good portion of her growing up between Charleston and Charlotte, N.C.) the Napa Valley trained advanced somm is ready to help the Holy City expand its understanding of a wine bar. "A wine bar should feel comfortable and informative," says Broshious. "But we also wanted it to feel more full service with cocktails, better food. We wanted the fun casual-ness of a wine bar while offering an elevated experience."
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Josephine Wine Bar is coming soon to 64 Spring St.
This means you can spend any ol' night at Josephine with friends ordering a $40 or $50 bottle of wine, maybe a round of cocktails crafted by bar manager Melissa Yard, plus dishes from Chef Shaun Connolly's "globally influenced menu of composed plates." Broshious says that while she's made sure to include edgy wines, new producers, and playful varietals from around the world on her exclusive, can't-get-anywhere-else in the city list, she's also included pricey classics, the ones you'd be inclined to order for an anniversary or birthday celebration.
Asked if she feels the city's wine scene is expanding, or if the rush of new vino-focused concepts — Vintage Lounge, Uncork, Wine & Co, Bistro A Vin — are par for the course, Broshious says, "I feel that Charleston has gone through renovations of itself, of how we eat and drink. People understand cocktails, and beer is very approachable. Wine has always been in the background here, you [could get great wine] at Tristan, at Charleston Grill. I feel everyone I know — the owner of Wine & Co., and Femi and Miles [of wine shop Graft], I feel like we're trying to make wine accessible and fun. And Charleston is ready for it."
Josephine Wine Bar is set to open within the next month — stay tuned for updates.