Corks Wine and Spirits, 113 South Central Street, Knoxville, March 2018
When Ryan McElveen announced that Corks Wine and Spirits would move from Turkey Creek to downtown Knoxville’s Old City, it signaled his feeling that Corks and the Old City shared a vibe that would serve them both well. The store joins the Old City at a time when it is once more resurgent, with numerous condos and businesses opening in the recent past and with new buildings under construction which will, no doubt, lead to more growth.
When you enter the store – as a “guest,” not a “customer” – you’ll find a carefully curated selection of wine and spirits, not just for the wine or liquor snob in your life, but for every price point. The mission of the store is to provide the best possible wines at every price, whether you look for the ten dollar bottle or the hundred dollar bottle.
The new location opened late last week and offers an attractive neighbor to Good Golly Tamale – now all they need is a door between the two so a person who was so inclined might pick up a good wine and enjoy a Tamale in one spot. There is a vacant storefront on the other side of the wine store and the Crozier is under construction next to that, providing a very nice future retail row.
Those familiar with the west location of Corks, which is now closed, will recognize the chandeliers and the general aesthetic of the place. You’ll also recognize – or enjoy for the first time, if you didn’t frequent Turkey Creek – the daily tastings and a staff filled with sommeliers and others who are passionate about wines and spirits.
The store also offers some unique features, offering five beers and eighteen wines on tap. It’s something they were known for at their previous location and they are continuing that, along with their daily tastings. It’s a pleasant thought to consider sipping a glass of wine while you do your shopping for stocking your own wine cabinet. It’s also why we need a hole in that wall leading to tamales.
The store also offers a few other items of interest, including Benton’s bacon, leather wine bags, wine glasses and carafes. Mr. McElveen has intentions of expanding these offerings to include fresh-baked breads, Cruze Farm Milk and other items. He has no intention of making the space become a grocery store, but intends to have a few staples to supply needs in a pinch. There is also talk of including a small selection of cheeses, locally produced eggs and a few other items you might find at a local farmers’ market.
Like everything that opens, its success depends on you and me. Drop in and introduce yourself to the folks there. Support them if you’d like them to be around for a long time. I think you’ll enjoy the shop and you’ll find wines and spirits to enjoy, as well. They’re open Monday through Saturday (10AM – 10PM Monday through Thursday, 10AM – 11PM Friday and Saturday).