Cheers, dears! Whether you prefer something red, white, bubbly, bold or something in between, we’re raising our glasses to the myriad of options in Columbia SC at which to kick back with some grade-A vino.
One step inside this chic wine bar on Main Street and you'll be transported. Perhaps the carefully-curated wine list will make you feel as though you're in a different place, like a cozy European cafe. Or maybe the vintage decor, light jazz and nods to Ms. Lula Drake herself (a feisty hat shop owner who operated out of this very space in the early 1900's) will make you think you're in a different time. But the truth is, you've simply stumbled upon a city gem that has raised the bar in Columbia. It goes without saying that the impressive collection of small-batch selections are the main event, but don't sleep on the details. Like the white-topped bar designed to let the true color of the wines shine through, the cheeky descriptions that give a friendly edge to exploring new options or the small plates, like handmade pasta or Iberico ham, that are the perfect complement to your experience.
Pop into Cellar on Greene for an after-work glass of wine with your friends and let the conversation flow into dinner. Whether you opt for their famous $27 three-course meal or want to jump straight to the seared pound cake for dessert (we're not judging!), you won't be disappointed. Purchase a bottle to take home with you or come back for a bi-weekly wine tasting where you can sample over 30 reds and whites for only $10. You'll practically be getting away with robbery.
The wine list at Hampton Street Vineyard has earned Wine Spectator Magazine's "Best Award of Excellence" since 1997, making it one of only 400 restaurants in the world to have received this prestigious honor. That said, you can expect each and every one of the 650 wines on their menu to be nothing short of exceptional. Add in the fact that this establishment is also one of the best fine dining experiences in Columbia and you have an outing you won't soon forget.
Wine and tapas go together like... well, wine and literally anything. Settle in on a cozy banquette with your significant other and select one of 40 wines offered by the glass. Accentuate the wine with some stuffed grape leaves, Spanish albondigas or a cheese, chocolate and nuts board. The intimate setting coupled with the expert menu make for the perfect date night.
Part cafe, part kitchen supply store, The Gourmet Shop has everything you could possibly want in one convenient setting. Start with some coffee and a chocolate croissant at one of the outdoor bistro tables, then make your way into the store and load up a basket with goodies to take home. Delve into their extensive collection of wines from all over the world. We recommend picking out a few and then rounding out the trip with some gourmet cheeses, crackers and antipasto for an aces at-home wine tasting.
Make a pit stop at this wine shop located in the North Main district. The knowledgeable owners will help you pick out the perfect bottle (or bottles!) and you can even arrange to have a wine tasting party for you and some friends. Plus, coffee drinkers will be happy to know that The Vino Garage is also the site of Curiosity Coffee Bar, which serves up an extensive menu of coffee and tea drinks, breakfast items and even coffee flights. Yes, you read that right.
Nestled next to Terra on State Street in West Columbia, 116 serves up a Spanish-influenced menu that includes paella, some of the best mussels in town and a mean brunch. The wine list is incredible, as well, as the owner takes an annual trip to Spain to find new selections. Pro tip - come in before 7 p.m. And take advantage of $3 sangria. You won't be sorry.
Fairly new to the Columbia, The Aristocrat opened its doors in the Vista district within the past year and quickly found its niche in the already-established wine scene. Sample five wines for $15 at one of their wine tasting events and mark your calendars for their popular themed trivia nights (past editions have included Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, with a Disney Princess night coming up in January).
We would be remiss in not including the Columbia area's only vineyard. Located about 20 minutes outside of Columbia in Lexington, you'll find Mercer House Estate Winery. Specializing in growing and fermenting muscadine grapes, the winery has a spectrum of reds and whites to choose from, as well as products like muscadine pepper jelly. If you can't make it out to the vineyard, you can often find them set up at Soda City Market on Saturday mornings.
While any night of the week is a great time to dine at Terra, the purpose of this list is all about #WineWednesday. And Terra's little-known special is definitely something to clink your glasses over. On Wednesday evenings, indulge in a personal pizza with either a glass of pinot noir for a total of $12 or a bottle for $25. You're welcome.