When Wine Geek Meets Foodie In Asheville
For Melissa Ward and Patty Wright, the owners of Rustic Grape Wine Bar in downtown Asheville, everything happens for a Riesling.
When Ward, a self-proclaimed wine geek, met Wright, a foodie with a love of baking, in Asheville, she didn’t know it would be the start of something bigger than she could have ever imagined.
A native Washingtonian, Ward found her passion for food and wine through culinary school and has helped create restaurants, a popular cooking school and a catering company in California.
But Wright, who has more of a business background from operating and owning her own small businesses, satisfies her love of food and wine through her small homebased artisan cake business.
The two became quick friends, but soon enough fell in love and married. And while on a romantic vacation in Charleston, they couldn’t help but become inspired by their visit.
“We were inspired by a couple of charming wine bars there and the Italian family traditions of breaking bread and drinking wine with family, friends and community,” Ward said.
This inspiration turned into what is now Rustic Grape Wine Bar — a charming, rustic, chic “wine nook” located in downtown Asheville.
Sip, taste, gather at the cozy and intimate Rustic Grape Wine Bar.
“The combination of smaller production farm-to-table storied wines combined with local cheeses, charcuterie, desserts and local coffee are hard to find all together,” Ward explained. And now you can find it all at their local wine bar.
Their focus is on place-driven, small-production, farm-to-table wines from creative winemakers and family-run wineries across the globe. And when it comes to food, Ward and Wright decided to serve sustainably produced cheeses and charcuterie — many made right here in Asheville — artisan local breads, hearty gourmet spreads, house jams and a rotation of local sweet bites.
“Patty is really the creative force behind our food program,” Ward said. Rustic Grape is becoming known for their local award-winning pimento cheese and fluffy buttermilk biscuits. And the wine bar actually just released a new dessert menu, including a red wine infused chocolate salted brownie baked by Wright herself.
As local business owners, Ward and Wright also strive to connect with and give back to the Asheville community in more ways than one, including hosting the Community Women & Wine Networking event the last Tuesday of every month at Rustic Grape, sponsoring the WNC Cheese Trail, and volunteering at Manna Food Bank, Eblen Charities and WNC Alzheimer's Association whenever possible.
“Asheville local businesses are so collaborative and charitable,” Ward said. “We're growing in our involvement with giving back to the local community which is very important to us.”
Rustic Grape Wine Bar is the perfect, cozy spot to drink wine and break bread on a beautiful Asheville day. Check out their Dig Local profile to see events, new menus and more.
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