Old City to Get New Wine and Spirits Store

Future Home of Corks Wine and Spirits, 113 S. Central Street, Knoxville, September 2017

Corks Wine and Spirits will soon move from its business from Turkey Creek to 113 South Central Street in the Old City. It’s a move Ryan McElveen says he has been contemplating for a while. Originally intended to be a second location, he has become convinced it’s a better spot for them for the time being and plans to make it their only location for the near term, though he hopes to eventually open a second location out west.

As a member of a military family, Ryan moved around quite a bit as a child. Eventually attending college in Tallahassee, he moved to Atlanta after graduation carrying his life savings of $287 and all his belongings in a Honda Civic. Staying with a friend in Atlanta, he got serious about a job when he got down to his last $10 and took the first offer he got – working with a wine distributor in Orlando. It was there that a friend at Disney spurred him to become a certified sommelier.

Current Corks Wine and Spirits Location, Turkey Creek, Knoxville, September 2017

Current Corks Wine and Spirits Location, Turkey Creek, Knoxville, September 2017

He eventually moved to Knoxville where he began work selling medical devices. His dream to open a wine store came true five years ago when he got a license and opened Corks. He says that grocery store wine sales have decimated wine stores and his is no exception. Whereas he’d considered a second location, he became convinced that the boutique wine business he wanted could be more successful in Knoxville’s downtown, feeling it would be a good fit for the area and also just a bit farther from grocery stores.

His approach is to treat the store as a hospitality business. He doesn’t use the word, “customer,” as it carries a connotation of a commodity. He prefers the term, “guest.” The hope is that any trip inside his establishment will result in guests learning something new about wines while, hopefully discovering a wine they will love. He hopes they taste something new and are able to get a better quality of wine at their price point.

Current Corks Wine and Spirits Location, Turkey Creek, Knoxville, September 2017

Current Corks Wine and Spirits Location, Turkey Creek, Knoxville, September 2017

The downtown store will be similar in many respects, but it will be about half the size of the west store which is around 5,000 square feet. Customers familiar with the west location will recognize the music playing on vinyl albums when they enter. New and old customers will also find an interesting feature not commonly available in area wine stores: 27 different wines on tap. The taps are very high quality wines Ryan is able to buy from remnants of production runs and sell in liter containers at a reasonable price – much like beer sold in growlers.

Interestingly, they also plan to carry some convenience items for the neighborhood, such as Cruze Farms Milk, locally sourced eggs, Flourhead bread and other basic items by producers you might find at the farmers’ market. It’s not meant to be a grocery store, but a small help to get through the week if you run short of something.

Owner Ryan McElveen, Future Home of Corks Wine and Spirits, 113 S. Central Street, Knoxville, September 2017

Sourcing locally is one thing the store tries to do where possible. He said they’ve always felt like their vibe fits downtown and vise versa. Ryan said, “We want to be a good steward of this region when we have the opportunity. Obviously, the primary product isn’t generally local. But they have locally sourced ancillary items such as bitters and syrups. You’ll also find regionally crafted leather wine bags, for example.

The build out of the store should start this fall, with a planned opening on January 2. Hours are planned to be 9:00 AM 0 11:00 PM. He said you can expect all-day tastings and special featured wines on a regular basis. You’ll find their Facebook Page here and you can check out his sommelier skills on October 10 when he goes Somme vs Somme with Matt Burke of the Old City Wine Bar



  1. Sooo…
    Whatever happened to this?

  2. So nice to have a downtown liquor store with a great selection! Excited for the opening.

    • I said goodbye and good riddance. It used to be my go to store. But they donated and I say donated loosely a wine dunner to our school auction. My friend bid on it and won the bid and they have never ever honored the wine dinner. They won’t even return her calls.

      • Ryan McElveen says:


        This is news to me. I’m not sure who you were calling at the store but is very unlike us to not return calls. I apologize for that and I would gladly speak with your friend to fix it.

        We commit to exactly the types of dinners you are referring to all the time and we have always honored those commitments. I’m not sure how this one fell through the cracks but I would be happy to fix it. Please accept my apologies. Please ask for me specifically when you call and I will personally handle it.

        • I vouch for the owner here. If this statement is true it’s an unfortunate oversight. I’ve been to their non-profit charity auctions and it’s obvious they take pride in helping the community.

        • Renee Hamilton says:

          Hi Ryan,
          Ann was gracious enough to say something because I was “over it.” I am the friend who purchased the wine paring party for 10 at a school auction fundraiser that has now turned into being several years old. It was aggravating enough to me that I no longer even purchase these type of auction items AND I stopped coming in to the store.

      • Ryan McElveen says:


        I’ve gone through my all of the
        “in-kind” donation forms that I have on file. It’s possible that It was misplaced but I only have one open commitment for a school function and I don’t think it’s the one you are referring to. Would you mind calling me directly so I can get some information from you ?



        • Renee Hamilton says:

          Thank you, Ryan! It was great to talk to you this morning. I appreciate you being willing to make this right. Can’t wait for our event now. 🙂

    • I built a wine cellar in my home and 80% of the wine was purchased at Corks. Great, knowledgeable staff and super selection. Be seeing y’all in old city when in town. Best of luck!

  3. Their prices are great too. Unlike another certain liquor store in the area that rounds their prices up to the next $X9.99

  4. This is great – I have thought since we moved downtown that the little clubs/bars that line Central and that end of Jackson are not long for this world. This will be a welcome addition to the old city and I can’t wait to see what comes this way next!

  5. Corks is my go to store for wine in Farragut. They have a varied selection to choose from, and their customer service is excellent. If I’m just not sure what wine(s) I need, they are most helpful in suggesting a wine(s) that will be a good pairing for the food I’ll be serving. I’m sad to see them move, but I’m considering a move downtown so this may work out perfectly for me! Best wishes for great success in the Old City!

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