“What’s in the bottle matters” – especially to Bottles general manager Kristin Wood. This tagline encompasses her vision for Wilmington’s first natural wine bar, highlighting quality, sustainably crafted wines from around the world.
Bottles, 615 S. 15th St., held its grand opening last weekend in The Cargo District and features a curated list of natural, organic wines, eight rotating draft beers and a host of other unique selections.
“We’re trying to shed light on a different style of winemaking,” Wood said. “We want to showcase cool wines and cool beers made in limited production and that deserve to be highlighted. This is what our whole concept is based around.”
This global natural movement is not new – just new to the community. It focuses on reverting to traditional, simple winemaking methods in small-scale production. Conventional wine is typically produced in larger quantities and with the assistance of machinery and added sulfites for sustained shelf-life.
Natural wines are considered sustainably farmed, fermented with native yeasts and typically include no additives and little-to-no added sulfites.
“The difference is with natural wines, it really is all about making the wine without intervention or as minimal human intervention as possible,” Wood said. “It’s about letting you drink exactly what that grape tastes like from that region in its most natural form – from the Earth to your bottle.”
But Wood is also quick to mention these products are not necessarily being promoted as better – just different.
“There is not a firm definition of natural wine,” Wood said. “It’s how it’s crafted and cultivated. That’s the funny part about wine. You drink something, you get excited about it and now more people get to taste so many things you might not ordinarily go buy yourself.”
The wine list, including Pét-Nats (naturally sparkling wines), whites, rosés, reds and more from around the world, is complemented by a selection of 30-plus craft beers. The tap beers, however, will solely highlight North Carolina-based – mostly Wilmington – breweries and rotate often with new, seasonal releases. Bottles also offers gluten-free, organic and nonalcoholic beers.
Upon stepping into the shop, the concept is clear. The live-edge wood tables and bar fill the natural yet vintage-inspired atmosphere.
“The space is nice and bright,” Wood said. “It gives a nice contrast to the bright colors by bringing in vintage mirrors [and décor]; it opens the space up. I say its vintage meets these fun contemporary colors.”
Bottles can hold about roughly 35 people inside. There are also a few seating areas and plenty of standing room on the outdoor patio lush with live plants.
Owners Kendra Burgon and Fredrick Giles, who also own Homegrown Market next door, chose Wood to run the shop based on her decades of experience.
Wood, a career wine distributor, wine columnist and wine program manager, has a passion for spotlighting small-batch wines and beers, which is exactly what she’ll be doing at Bottles.