Wine Bar Update: 9-30-2013

STICKER SHOCK:  I need to get one more item for closing on the loan for the wine bar – insurance.  I have gotten two quotes in this week and have experienced some serious sticker shock.  I have dealt with insurance for years in my position as a financial controller.  As a result, I have several connections in the industry.  I consulted with them as I built my business plan for the wine bar and prepared my projections.  I thought I had a handle on it, but the quotes (like everything else I have touched for this project) are WAY over budget.  A couple of things have led to this – being so near the coast (and hurricanes) and the fact that I don’t have an experience rating yet.  I am waiting for a couple of other quotes to come in hoping to find a policy that won’t break the bank.

CELEBRATION:  We also had reason to celebrate this past week.  For the last six months, I have been in South Carolina while hubby was still in North Carolina working.  One of us needed to keep a pay check and since the wine bar is my dream, he wanted to continue working while he helped me realize it.  This past week he was offered a job working for the City of Bluffton doing basically the same thing he has been doing for the City of Winston Salem.

Over the last few months, I have met with bankers, architects, and contractors by myself.  I have made major life-altering decisions with only a phone call to discuss these decisions with Hubby.  I even bought our new home with him only seeing it online, not in person.  But now we can be together again as the construction begins on the bar.

We celebrated by taking the family to The Old Oyster Factory on Hilton Head Island.

view oyser factory

View from our dinner table.

We opted for a bottle of Cakebread Cellars 2011 Chardonnay.  The wine was creamy with just a hint of buttery notes and spicy oak.  It had flavors of green apple, melon and citrus.  The finish had just enough bite to make it linger on the palate.  The delicate balance between acidity and minerality made this the perfect wine for  our meal.

cakebread chard

2011 Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay paired with Bruschetta

We started by pairing our wine with The Old Oyster Factory’s own recipe for Bruschetta, then moved on to our entrées.

Seafood Medley

Seafood Medley

Fried Scallops with Mashed Potatoes

Fried Scallops with Mashed Potatoes

Low Country Boil

Low Country Boil

We completed the meal with all the kids getting t-shirts from our waiter.


The Family

We’re home!

Please be sure to check us out on Facebook and give us a thumb’s up.  Our soft opening will be a special event for Facebook followers only and we would love to see you there!

Embracing My New Surroundings

Having lived in North Carolina since 1996, I have become accustomed to having wineries at my finger tips.  The wine industry is alive and well in North Carolina with almost 120 wineries in their repertoire now.  I live within 15 minutes of some great wineries and could easily run out on a Friday afternoon and hang out with good friends and sip on some of NC’s finest wines.  That’s not so easy here in South Carolina.  The weather here is not conducive to grape growing because of the sandy soil and extreme humidity so there are only 12 (yes, I said 12) wineries in the whole state.  😦

But I have decided to embrace the wine culture here so I started by visiting my first South Carolina winery, Island Winery on Hilton Head Island.  I was pleasantly surprised!

pulled from Island Winery website.

pulled from Island Winery website.

Island winery has quite the wine list, ranging from whites like Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio to red wines like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Carmenere.  They also carry some sweeter Southern favorites.  My suspicions were confirmed – the grapes are sourced and delivered to the winery immediately for crushing.  They come from some of the best wine regions around the globe.  Riesling is sourced from the shores of Lake Michigan to the upper regions of Lake Ontario in New York.  They get Zinfandel from Lodi, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the Suisun Valley and Sangiovese from Amador County – all part of northern California.  They also get Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Carmenere from the Curico Valley in Chile.

IS wines 1

The winery is owned by Loren and Georgene Mortimer.  If you recognize the name, the Mortimer’s also own Westfall Winery in Montague, New Jersey.  The vineyard at Westfall Winery was first planted in the fall of 2000.  The Mortimer’s spend the hot summers in New Jersey and then head South to Hilton Head for the winters.  Some of the same wines are sold at both wineries.

Island Winery offers fun evenings for locals and tourists alike.  Each evening Monday through Thursday they have Happy Hour starting at 4pm where they serve wine flights consisting of three different wines along with a cheese plate.  Every Friday they offer a barrel tasting featuring two different wines during the tasting along with your choice of a glass of wine and a cheese plate.

The winery also has a selection of “Lowcountry Specialty Wines” consisting of their own blend of Sangria called Southern Passion and Peach on the Beach – perfect for mixing with prosecco to make a drink similar to a bellini.  But my favorite is their Margarita Wine.  It tasted just like a margarita, all I needed was some salt on the rim and a lime.  What a great, refreshing summer drink!

Friendly couple tasting along side me

Friendly couple tasting along side me

I have had homemade Margarita Wine before, but had to get creative and make a Sangria Styled Margarita with it.  I couldn’t drink it “straight.”  But this wine is delicious.  Something tells me it will be one of those fun items on the menu at Latitude Wine Bar!

I wan to say a special, “Thank You,” to Linda Biersack for guiding me through my tasting and for all the great tips regarding the South Carolina wine lifestyle.

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