Written by Karen Pacifico
Photography by Donna Huffman
ocated in the heart of downtown Bluffton, Corks Wine Co. is an amazing, unique concept for our town. Owners Josh Luman and Gabby Ferrell designed a space where locals can relax with friends, family and colleagues to experience great times, eclectic cuisine and delicious wines from around the world.
Josh and Gabby have created a warm contemporary wine bar for you to enrich your life with a menu and atmosphere that fits every style, taste, and budget. To evoke the elements of the winemaking process, they used materials such as cork and glass, surrounding it all with exposed brick walls and colors reminiscent of wines.
Ah, wine bars, with their wine, food, and socializing. And, more socializing. The new favorite pastime for 20 and 30-somethings has become an ageless worldwide phenomenon, as a new generation discovers the pleasures of idly swirling glasses of Merlot or sipping a new vintage that’s just hit the market. Josh and Gabby are on to something. They’re young, enthusiastic and want you to come and experiment with something new for you, either with a flight or by the glass. Have I introduced a new term to you? Wine can be ordered by the glass, bottle, half bottle or flight.
For those of you who do not know, a wine flight is a grouping of three wines, poured in two-ounce pours, and sold as a “set.” The great benefit of a wine flight is that you get to sample a solid tasting of several wines, without having to pay by-the-glass prices for each. Wine tasting (often, in wine circles, simply tasting) is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. While the practice of wine tasting is as ancient as its production, a more formalized methodology has slowly become established from the 14th century onwards. Enjoying a wine flight permits wine tasting at its best. And it’s educational, as you learn about each of the wines, the regions where grown or the grapes used.
Corks is more than I could have imagined. In addition to good wine, and friendly people, you can enjoy dining without the price or fuss of a formal dining experience. Their chef Abi prepares a variety of gourmet small plates and salads -- not your usual fare, but that’s what makes it such an enjoyable experience. Corks has a full bar and imported, micros and domestic beers as well.
Joining me on soft cozy leather chairs were two very special friends, our beloved editor Donna Huffman and my very dear buddy Elaine Donohue. Elaine and I both tried a wine flight and it gave us the opportunity to compare and contrast styles and flavor. Several very nice wine flights are offered.
Josh made the selection for me and chose Flight Row of Beauty (Row 11 Pinot Noir from California, Russian River and Santa Maria). This flight is all Pinot Noir grapes but from different regions. Truly, I enjoyed them all. Donna sipped a glass of Simi Chardonnay from Sonoma, as it’s a favorite for her. And Elaine tried an interesting Australian flight of Molly Dooker Me Please, a flight including only Molly Dooker wines consisting of Molly Dooker Maitre D (Cabernet), Two Left Feet (Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz blend) & The Boxer (Shiraz). This is really my kind of place where one can experiment with wine that’s new to me.
We chose three gourmet small plates, but believe me -- there was nothing small about them. The Artisan Cheese Plate included five cheeses, seasonal fruit with organic honey and an assortment of crackers. Easily, a couple could share and enjoy this dish. Next, we tried the Rustic Antipasto, which consisted of imported Genoa salami, marinated veggies, buffalo mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano served with warm bread. This dish is very generous and can serve four to six. And last we enjoyed Mediterranean flatbread, grilled chicken, goat cheese, roasted red peppers and fresh basil. All the flavors and textures I love. This is like a pizza and certainly good for a couple to enjoy while sipping. There’s even a dessert offering if you’re interested.
Corks is classy and Josh and Gabby have figured out what works. The warm comfortable atmosphere with subdued lighting, long bar with granite top and all-around great concept make for a relaxing eclectic setting. Be sure to ask about their private cellar list and magnum bottle selection and if you love what you’re drinking, take home a bottle from their retail offerings at competitive prices.
At Corks, kick back, relax, experiment and have fun while you educate your palate and savor the offerings.
At the end of a long day, nothing is better than a nice bottle of wine. Josh and Gabby welcome you to come and experience the joy of wines.
Bluffton’s Original Wine Bar
Located in downtown Bluffton at the Calhoun Street Promenade at the corner of SC 46 and May River Road
Monday – Saturday, 4 p.m. – Midnight