New Wine Shop Opening Downtown
Accent Wine will have the rare distinction of being one of those businesses that was born of the pandemic.
Veritas Manager and Sommelier Gregory Stokes and Chef Joshua Dalton are partnering to open retail wine shop Accent Wine this spring at 49 N. High St. It will mark the third concept for the group in the Citizens Building, joining the restaurant and cocktail bar The Citizens Trust.
Veritas has always taken its wine seriously. The restaurant was named one of the 100 Best Wine Restaurants in America by Wine Enthusiast magazine. If folks enjoyed a particular wine during their dinner, Veritas offered the option to buy a bottle at retail at the end of a meal to take home.
The day the dine-in shutdown began last March, Stokes got on his computer and started programming a website that could sell wine for delivery. Within two weeks, Veritas had liquidated its wine cellar.
Realizing dine-in restrictions and the pandemic weren’t going anywhere anytime soon, Stokes built out a more robust website for online sales. Wine sales were through the roof.
When the storefront on High Street became available, they decided to keep the idea going, taking an online venture and giving it a physical space.
“The overall concept is first and foremost to make wine fun and not intimidating,” Stokes says.
He knows walking into a wine shop with thousands and thousands of bottles can be overwhelming.
“We’re going to have a very small, curated selection,” Stokes says.
Accent Wine won’t be the kind of shop that stocks 150 cabernets, but instead offers a selection of, say, 10 cabernet bottles that they are excited about right now.
While it will be a more streamlined selection, Accent Wine will offer a variety of styles and price points in its bottles.
Stokes says they want Accent Wine to be a place for everyone, and their ideal customer is someone who is curious.
“One of the things I’ve always tried to do at Veritas is shine a light on classics and iconic wines around the world that people generally don’t have access to in this market,” Stokes says.
The new shop will also offer a number of tastings and wine education classes, again building on pivots Veritas made during the pandemic.
Stokes says Veritas has hosted a number of well-attended virtual wine tastings during the pandemic. In the short-term, the plan is to keep things virtual through Accent Wine, and continue with delivery.
Classes will appeal to all different levels of wine drinkers, from the beginner, to the enthusiastic, experienced drinker, spanning topics like how to taste wine, to deep dives on specific types of wine.
There will be a communal table at the shop for smaller classes, while larger affairs can utilize space at neighboring The Citizens Trust. Outside of classes, Accent Wine will have some seating for guests to come in and enjoy a glass of wine during regular hours. Most of the in-person imbibing will be reserved for post-pandemic experiences.
To accompany all that wine, Accent Wine will have some cheese and charcuterie items available, especially during tastings.
Construction is underway on the small, intimate space with plans to open in the spring. In addition to its building mates, Accent Wine is really just the beginning for the Vertitas group’s plans for Gay and High.
Chef Dalton is involved in two previously announced concepts for the intersection. Speck Italian Eatery, which also has a location in Delaware, will open its second restaurant inside the recently-constructed, mixed-use development The Nicholas, while French bistro concept Grand Rue will occupy the former home of Cafe Brioso at the northeast corner of the intersection.
Stokes says the restaurant group, as well as their landlords the Edwards Companies, are investing in the idea that Downtown is an exciting place to be, and working to build a vibrant community.
“We want to be a part of that change,” Stokes says.
Accent Wine is still finalizing its hours for opening, but will likely be pouring from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. or so Tuesday through Saturday.
For more information, visit accent.wine.