The South End Wine Shop You’ll Want to Go To Every Night of the WeekJune 13, 2018 7:45 am
The refreshing crisp of a cool white wine, the rich earthiness of a full-bodied red, the sweetness paired with bubbles in a summertime rosé – few things can measure up to the perfect glass of wine. Except, of course, the three mouthwatering glasses that come in a wine flight.
South End wine shop Vin Master has been helping Charlotteans find wines they’ll love at its Atherton Mill location since 2011. When current owner Rochelle Baxter took over Vin Master in late 2016, she not only brought her wine expertise to the shop but also added specials almost every night of the week including deals on wine flights and frequent wine tasting events to encourage people to sample new flavors.
Baxter strives to make Vin Master a place where a wine connoisseur and someone who has a go-to red blend from Publix can both feel welcome to come and ask questions. When someone comes in looking for something to try, Baxter starts with a wall that is filled with bottles from around the world.
“We categorize all of the wines by flavor profile rather than region or varietals since it’s a little more approachable,” says Baxter.
Baxter then starts her game of twenty one questions: red or white, bubbles or no bubbles, dry or juicy, until she helps each customer find a bottle they’d like to try.
Baxter, who has lived and worked in Charlotte since high school, first discovered her love for working with food while studying sports medicine and learning more about nutrition at University of North Carolina Charlotte. After working more in the food industry, she went to Johnson and Wales for culinary school and continued to work in the Charlotte restaurant scene before coming to Atherton Market working with a small local food vendor.
Baxter later purchased the shop and created Queen City Pantry, which sold local goods and teamed up with Vin Master for wine pairing dinners to bring together local goods and wines from around the world. When Baxter took over at Vin Master, she brought North Carolina provisions including cheeses and prosciutto with her and also added beer to the menu.
While dollar-off wine flights on Tuesdays, half-price glasses of wine on Wednesdays, five dollar select wines on Fridays and five dollar mimosas on Saturdays bring many regulars through the door, Vin Master’s most popular event is its monthly mega tastings where people can sample up to twenty wines in one night.
Many of the tastings have a theme or focus on a specific region or type of wine, such as sushi and sake, wines from South Africa and red wines for warmer weather.
“A lot of people don’t think about drinking red in the summer so that was kind of fun,” says Baxter.
While Baxter selects each wine that comes into the shop, feedback from the tastings helps her decide which wines to add to the menu of wines by the glass and creates a community-drive wine selection that’s constantly being updated.
In a neighborhood that’s known for its beer, Vin Master holds it own by creating a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere that’s similar to a brewery and complements it with extensive wine knowledge and helpful staff – a perfect pairing.
Vin Master is located at 2000 South Boulevard and is open from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm on weekdays and 11:00 am to 10:00 pm on Saturdays.