Wine store in NC (Raleigh, Durham, Apex)

Can someone suggest a wine store that carries good French wines in Raleigh, Durham or Apex, NC area?

or Perhaps a nice restaurant that has fairly priced wine list?


PM VLM (Nathan). And go to his restaurant.

I cannot claim any extensive experience in the area, but when moving my son to the area this past summer was pleasantly surprised by the choices at the Raleigh Wine Shop on Glenwood Avenue in downtown Raleigh. Picked up some interesting, inexpensive French wines as well as my first bottles of Dirty and Rowdy there.

Nathan’s user name here is Nathan V. and his restaurant is Rue Cler in downtown Durham, which I highly recommend based on a couple of dinners there in March.

Rue Cler does have a nice list, also Vin Rouge, which is dead-ringer for an authentic French bistro. The year I lived down there, the best luck I had for the wines I wanted, that is to say, Burgundy, was a place called Southern Seasons in Chapel Hill, which is mainly a food, cooking accessories place, but has a decent, albeit not aggressively priced, wine selection.

Southern Season does have a big selection. I shop at Chapel Hill Wine Company. They’ve recently expanded floor space and now have a 20-tap enomatic for sampling. For value, Wine Authorities is great too. Food scene has improved greatly in the past 10 years, particularly in Durham. Try Mateo or Mother & Sons (same proprietor - Tapas for Mateo, Italian for Mother & Sons). Lists there are going to be Spanish/Italian dominant, respectively. Haven’t been in awhile, but Herons at The Umstead Hotel does a good job with the food and wine.


I also suggest Raleigh wine shop.

I’d also suggest Bida Manda for a meal. one of the best meals I had all summer, recommended by some friends who used to live there. make a reservation early. wine list isn’t huge but its well done and fun. The somm has inserted a “what am I drinking?” section with some extra nerdy selections that pair well with the spicy southeast asian style food on the menu as well

I haven’t bought from Southern Season in a while, but historically they offer a good case discount which makes their high list prices more reasonable

Another vote for Chapel Hill Wine company. The only downside there is their on-floor stock is just ok - they do a big chunk via mailers and private orders. However, as Fred said, they invested in new floor space so maybe they’ve expanded

For restaurants, Rue Cler has a good list with interesting older stuff. Elaines in Chapel Hill also has a good list. In Carrboro (Chapel Hill), Glass Half Full is a good tapas-style place (not Spanish, but the small plate concept) that has a in-house retail store. Any wine from the retail shelf can be served with dinner at a small fee (can’t recall - I think it’s $5 but it may be $10). The most expansive list in town is Angus Barn (years ago, maybe 1998 or 1999, they had a Lafite 1870 on the list for $15,000 and a wall full of Wine Spectator awards) - but the food is just so-so (steak house food).

In general, NC restaurants have good corkage policies ($25 or less) so if you find wine @ retail your best bet may be to bring it.

That international man of Bayesian mystery will always be VLM no matter where he turns up. You can take the M out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the M.

Anyway, Rue Cler. Thanks.

The suggestions so far are good. Nathan and his partner Noel no longer run what was the best shop in the area for interesting French and Italian wines; I have the idea that real estate prices in downtown Durham have exceeded what would allow a wine shop to succeed there. But Rue Cler is a good restaurant; the $35 three-course menu is usually interesting and well prepared.

For shops, talk with Eric at Apex Fine Wine…very knowledgeable and works to bring in a very good selection at very fair pricing.

There is an Italian importer here Piedmont Wine Imports run by Jay Murrie that brings in all sorts of interesting small grower wines. Really good outfit and worth seeking out.

For restaurants some of my favorite places are:

Panciuto in downtown Hillsborough is IMO the best place in the area. Very personal menu that constantly changes; the chef has a strong Italian, Korean, and Piedmont NC influences. Not sure how he makes all of that work together but he does and it’s brilliant. And it’s the most hyper-local place I know of, they say that 95% of ingredients are from a very small radius around the area.

Roses Noodles and Dumplings in downtown Durham is an outstanding ramen and noodles shop where the wife is also a wonderful pastry chef. Best value with most flavor per dollar of any place in the area.

Best Piedmont style pork barbeque at Johnson Family BBQ between Durham and north of north Raleigh on Hwy 98. Other than the slaw and stew I am not big on their sides but absolutely fantastic pork.

If someone you know has more money than they know what to do with, go select from the many DRC wines at the Angus Barn at below-market pricing. Local institution but the steaks are meh.

Pizzeria Toro in downtown Durham vs. Pizzeria Mercato in downtown Carrboro. Similar appeal. Toro pizza edges out Mercato’s with the wood-fired oven (that nearly burned down the building, twice) resulting in smoky crusty pies. But Mercato edges out Toro with a more complete and interesting offering of seasonal sides and other dishes that change far more frequently.

There are many more places worth visiting.

Thanks everyone for their suggestions. Gave me a lot of options and researching to do.

I can’t imagine Italian, Korean and NC food mixing together. What type of wine would most likely go with that?

Signing a contract with a commercial real estate landlord lies somewhere between indentured servitude & outright chattel slavery.

If you net $5 on a $20 bottle of wine, then you have to sell about 600 bottles just to cover rent & utilities every month.

And ringing up 600 different wine sales is an excellent way to get carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms.

Of course, if you’re selling $10 wines, then that’s 1200 bottles per month [just to cover rent & utilities], which is about 40 bottles per day, or 5 bottles per hour, or one bottle every 12 minutes.

Again, that’s just to cover rent & utilities.

PS: My knowledge of the market is no doubt rather out-of-date; the situation is probably at least 33% [if not 50%] worse now than it used to be.

I 3rd the Raleigh Wine Shop. Not large, but well curated. The owner is at the register as often as not and seems to remember every single bottle well.

How about Apex (duh)
I’ve known Eric ever since the dark days at Carolina Wine, when he was one of the few good guys.

Does NC do any offline meets? I couldnt find anything in the OFFLINE section. I wouldnt mind doing one on the night of Dec 21 or 22nd if we can get several of people.

I’m surprised no one mentioned Seaboard Wine. That’s my go-to shop when buying locally.

Shameless self promotion here, but I own two stores in the area - one in Chapel Hill and one in Morrisville. The company is called winestore. I would like to think we have a strong selection and very competitive prices :slight_smile:

I’m also available to help you find anything you are looking for! Just DM me and I can give you my contact info!

Lot of good suggestions and not a lot to add. +1 for the selection at Southern Season. Not quite as well curated as 5-10yrs ago, but still deep. Others recommended here good too.

Personally haven’t been knocked over with many of the lists. Many reasonable BYO options, so I don’t always look closely and I know Durham/Chapel Hill better than Raleigh. But most are serviceable not great.

Two of the better lists IMO are Oakleaf in Carrboro( Chapel Hill), particularly for burgs/domestic pinot, and Fearrington House south of Chapel Hill. The latter is a bit out of the way but is perhaps the finest dining in the area. They have the deepest and broadest list in the region by a fair bit, but run toward the high end.

Yong, there doesn’t seem to be a very active offline community here. As other have said, I am an owner of a restaurant in Durham ( which I think is very good with a very nice and fairly priced wine list. We’d be happy to host folks doing an offline as we have plenty of Riedel stemware (restaurant series) and decanters. Those dates won’t work for me personally, but put something on the offline section and who knows.

The other places that we frequent are Gocciolina, Mercato and Crawford and Sons. M Sushi is also good, but we don’t often go there. Mateo and Saint James are both very good and owned by my friend Matt Kelley, a top notch chef.

Fearrington House has a big wine list, as does the Angus Barn, but I wouldn’t go to either for food.

Rose’s is great, but it closes at 8PM, so we never seem to get there. I had a chenin off their (very small) list last time that worked well. I have no idea what their corkage policy is, but I think riesling or Beaujolais would also work. Justin manages to bring several culinary traditions together in a surprisingly awesome way. It’s a neat trick.