Close to Home: The Wine Merchant

***Note: Since this post, The Wine Merchant has consolidated its stores and now its only location is in Cary at 4240 NW Cary Parkway. Sigh!

Earlier this year, I bought a coupon through Living Social for $30.00 worth of wine from the Wine Merchant’s wine station for only $15.00. I’ve been going to the Wine Merchant (1214 Ridge Rd., Raleigh, N.C. 27607) since the mid-1980s and love the personal attention that I always get, so it was a no-brainer to jump on this deal. My coupon was getting ready to expire, so I talked Brad into going one Saturday afternoon, right in the middle of the NCSU versus Maryland game. It was probably not the best timing in the world, but it actually worked out great in the end (especially since State wound up winning – imagine that!)

When we arrived, Ryan Elliott, the assistant manager, cheerfully helped us redeem our coupon. He set us up with a wine card that is used at the wine station, which has a selection of 12 wines – four whites and eight reds. Ryan showed us how the dispensers worked, asked about our wine preferences and made some nice recommendations.

You can get a 1 ¼ oz. sample, a 2 ½ oz. half glass, or a 5 oz. full glass pour, all reasonably priced. He told us we did not need to spend the entire coupon in one visit – now that we had the card it was good whenever we came in.

The two tables near the wine station were taken, so Brad and I wandered over to the wine bar. There was some football game on a flat screen TV above the bar. Ryan personally brought us some barstools and noticed we were State fans from our shirts, so he changed the channel to the game and actually turned up the sound so we could hear it. Great customer service and it only got better!

I told Brad how I liked the cute Duck Rabbit glasses behind the bar and Ryan overheard me. He went behind the bar and gave us two of them, explaining that there had been a tasting from Duck Rabbit’s brewery the night before and a few people had left their glasses behind. I asked when the Wine Merchant started carrying beer, and he said it was a recent addition to the store. Great addition! He asked us if we liked beer (crazy question, I know, but it was the first time we had met) and then let us taste some of the cask stout that was left over from the night before. Yum!

A little while later, Ryan gave Brad an extra pour of the red wine he was drinking because the bottle was almost empty and it needed to be replaced with a full bottle. No charge – sweet!

The Wine Merchant’s Raleigh store is close to my home – exactly 2.0 miles away. There is also a location in Cary. In addition to wine and beer, it has a great selection of glassware, accessories, gift boxes, etc., as well as wine and beer tastings, many of them free. The staff is super, super friendly, knowledgeable and helpful! It is always great to support local businesses and I wholeheartedly recommend this one.

Eat, drink and be merry!

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