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Two local booze influencers share the swills they love

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Kirsten Bhattacharyya considers The World Atlas of Wine to be bedside reading. Bhattacharyya, who works full-time at Graft Wine Shop, shows me a map of the Mâconnais region, the southernmost part of Burgundy, as she pours me two different chardonnays during her weekly Thursday evening wine tasting. She started the free tastings last year as a way to introduce people to all the wines in Graft (there are shelves upon shelves, y'all), and to educate people about wines they thought they knew.

Take chardonnay, for example.

Used to that rich oak flavor you can find in California bottles? You'll find something a bit lighter in Graft's Macon La Roche Vineuse. As Bhattacharyya describes it, this chardonnay "has a lot of freshness to it, I think of ginger candy, warm spice, and orchard fruits like apples and pears."

While you can find a number of regulars at Bhattacharyya's Thursday tastings, a lot of people know the oenophile from her Instagram, @kirstensgotwine, where she shares the wines she's selling at Graft and other fun bottles she finds in the wild.

There's something appealing — and undoubtedly accessible — about learning more about booze from a personal Instagram account. Bhattacharyya's posts assure followers that she's learning along with us, which plays to Graft's laidback vibes. Wine isn't just for snobs anymore, and you'll find that same user-friendly approach at several other wine bars in town. In the same vein, beer ain't just for chugging anymore, either. That's where another local drinkfluencer, Ana Richards comes in.

Richards is the woman behind @beergirlmeetsworld, an account she started a few years ago when she realized that people really like beer pictures. While working at a beer distributor Richards snapped a picture of a beer that hadn't been released yet. "It was dumb," laughs Richards. "But I got like 51 likes."

Now, the verifiable influencer snags upwards of 200 likes on any given post, whether she's drinking around town (Freehouse, Munkle), or escaping hurricanes in nearby beer-loving towns (we see you Asheville). Like Bhattacharyya, Richards posts pictures because she's having fun with the beer she's drinking, and she wants to show people how many great local spots there are for sipping.

Bhattacharyya and Richards are certainly not the only local Instagram influencers when it comes to this booze-drenched city. If you want to see beautiful drinks (and a to-die-for home bar), check out @holycityhandcraft. Interested in behind-the-scenes brewing? You'll want to check out @craft_wench. Want to see more wine than you thought you ever needed to lay eyes on? Southern-based distributor @imbibeadvintage has got you covered. Oh, and you've heard of The Cocktail Bandits, right? Beyond Instagram influencers, these two women have a thriving brand under their respective belts, and have been at this game since way back in 2015.

Ana Richards’ dog has his own Instagram too, @chewbacca_thebulldog - RUTA SMITH
  • Ruta Smith
  • Ana Richards’ dog has his own Instagram too, @chewbacca_thebulldog

The list goes on, of course (don't even get us started on foodie accounts), and we encourage you to get your hands dirty scrolling through all the city has to offer — and then get out there and drink.

Do as Bhattacharyya does: "I do save pictures of bottles fairly frequently and let myself go down the rabbit hole of seeing what other restaurants/wine bars/wine professionals are tasting." Bhattacharyya nods at @the.glug.report, @vervewine, and @helenswines as accounts she looks to for vino inspo.

Both a beast and a burden, social media has changed the way we consume information and meet people (I Instagram messaged both Bhattacharyya and Richards for this story). Richards says that her handle alone has gotten her in touch with several other like-minded influencers. The popularity of her account inspired her to start her own business marketing company, Butterfly Social CHS.

While another kind of Instagram inluencer is currently having a moment — the sober influencers, their own very cool, and useful niche — there's no denying the fun associated with a wine or beer-centric account, especially for us booze-curious folks in a booze-curious town.

Bhattacharyya says that @kirstensgotwine goes beyond the actual wine, too. With so many bars, restaurants, breweries, and wine shops in town, she's helping her place of work create something special. "I'd say Instagram plays more directly into influencing and pushing us to creating innovative experiences. No matter what bottles you have, you've got to be drinking them in a place (or with the people) that you feel comfortable with and impart some sense of community." 

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