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Wine, beer drinkers finding common ground

By Daniel Hartis
Daniel Hartis
Daniel Hartis is the author of “Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City” and the editor of the website CharlotteBeer.com.

Beer and wine drinkers are sworn enemies, members of fermented factions that have warred since the dawn of civilization over which beverage is best – or so it sometimes seems.

Those behind the bars at local wine stores, however, beg to differ.

“You try and find analogs between the two,” said David Sills, co-owner of Grapevine Wine, 1012 Market St. in Fort Mill.

Sills and his wife Melanie opened Grapevine in 2007 and cater to both wine and beer drinkers.

While he doesn’t want to convert anyone, Sills suggests those going from grapes to grains seek out beers with flavors similar to those in their favorite wines.

It’s not so large a jump from a sweet port to a chocolate stout, or from a sauvignon blanc to light, refreshing styles like witbier, kölsch or gose.

Sometimes it’s less about drinks with similar flavors, though, and more about drinks with similar intensity.

“When you go from an IPA to a zinfandel, you couldn’t get farther apart in terms of flavor,” says Sills.

The bitter and bold India pale ale is also popular among wine drinkers at The Wine Shop at Foxcroft, 7824 Fairview Road, according to manager Alex Herndon. His store’s selection has grown more diverse over the years, shifting from imports in favor of more American craft beer.

The Wine Shop at Rivergate, off South Tryon Street near Steele Creek, has an excellent selection, too, and frequently hosts beer dinners.

Grant Denton has witnessed the beer selection evolve at Vintner Wine Market in the Arboretum. Shortly after Grant was hired in 2009, the bar installed four draft lines. Four taps soon became eight, then 16.

Like Sills, Denton sees no reason to convert drinkers of wine or beer, but takes pride in offering exceptional examples of each.

“They are both enjoyable drinks that come from fermentation, and it’s a beautiful thing.”

Daniel Hartis is the author of “Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City,” and the editor of the website www.charlottebeer.com. Email: cltbeer@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter, @charlottebeer.
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