Sip, Swirl, and Socialize at Asheville’s Best Wine Bars
Wine is a whole world of flavors and sensations: every bottle contains grapes from particular regions, fermented according to a particular process and aged in barrels that all convey so many complex layers. While Asheville definitely has a reputation for being a city of beer, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number of wine bars in Asheville.
While Western NC isn’t a big wine-producing area, there are still a few Asheville winery options in the surrounding zones, with small vineyards in Asheville area counties. Even more fun are the options for winery tours and wine tasting in Asheville, where you’ll get to learn more about the complex and time-honored traditions that help vintners craft amazing wines.
Everywhere from the River Arts District to downtown has options for people who love wine and want some great recommendations, as well as those who want to get started with some wine tasting. Visit these excellent Asheville wine bars and see if you can’t find a new favorite kind of wine to carry home to share as a memory of your trip!
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The 9 Best Wine Bars in Asheville
1. Live Artistically at WALLS Wine Bar
The first floor of the Windsor Boutique Hotel includes the Benjamin Walls Gallery, an art gallery of the internationally named artist by the same name. The wine experience next door is an extension of the brand, and the artist himself hoped that offering sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wine in the same setting as an art gallery would elevate both experiences.
Wine drinkers have something beautiful and thought-provoking to look at, and art viewers get an additional sensory experience from a well-crafted, curated wine selection. The wine menu is substantial but manageable, with each wine selected for flavor and a unique quality that makes it a delight to try.
WALLS Wine Bar has an interior, but a nice draw is the beautiful sidewalk terrace where you can enjoy your wine while also seeing the life of the streets. It feels like the kind of sidewalk cafe you’d normally only find if you went to Europe, and it’s hands down one of the best bars in Asheville.
2. Watch the World Float By at 5 Walnut Wine Bar
I think that 5 Walnut Wine Bar looks out on one of the most quintessentially downtown Asheville views, as Lexington goes up one side of Walnut and Broadway goes up the other. It’s just a spot that is completely surrounded by businesses, shops, and restaurants (incredible Mexican food next door at Mountain Madre, for instance), and it’s a great place to slow down and let yourself get lost in a great glass of afternoon or evening wine.
Unlike many wine bars in Asheville, where there’s a short list of drinks by the glass and then a long list of bottles, there’s a substantial list of wines at 5 Walnut, and you can get any of them by the glass. There’s also cider, mead, bottled and canned beer, and a variety of cheese and meat boards and bar snacks to have a little accompaniment with your wine.
They also frequently have live music, making it a great place to meet a friend but also not the worst for taking a little break from the hustle and bustle of sightseeing or shopping to truly savor the feeling of being in an Asheville wine bar.
3. Try the Best in a Cool Setting at Bottle Riot
When it comes to Asheville wine bars, Bottle Riot always comes to mind as a crowd-pleaser. Between excellent live music, a wide array of spirits and beers in addition to wines, and the dog-friendly patio, you’ll find this River Arts District haunt approachable if exciting and elevated.
The vintage furniture, weekly guest DJs, and various events will all whet your appetite for a great flavor. There’s a reason why it’s called Bottle Riot, though: the wine list is dozens of bottles long and has everything from excellent United States-based wines to extensive French offerings and a smattering of bottles from many other countries.
I’d never heard of orange wines before moving to Asheville, and this is a place where you can try a variety of them and see if they are to your liking. There are definitely high-end bottles, but the list includes a wide variety of affordable bottles too, and bringing a few friends is a great way to split something truly special and only pay a fraction of the total bottle’s cost.
While many of the events are DJed dance parties or listening parties, there are other cool events that stop by Bottle Riot, like food pop-ups – you just never know what you’ll find!
4. Sip in the Shade at Leo’s House of Thirst
Leo’s House of Thirst is one of the wine bars in Asheville not to miss. It’s at the quieter end of Haywood Road and will offer you an amazing garden to drink in while also offering some of the classiest wine options in town.
If you feel like a wine-soaked lunch, check out Leo’s on Friday or Saturday, when for a single affordable price, you’ll get to pick between three sandwiches and receive a tasty salad, soup, and cookie all as part of that same meal. Stop by Leo’s to experience one of the best bars in Asheville for a glass of wine and a good time.
5. Try the Cutting Edge of Wine Pleb Urban Winery
The owners and winemakers at Pleb Urban Winery were inspired to create their wine products in ways that fit their values: they wanted to give chefs excellent wines to pair with their food, artists a chance to sample something that was truly creatively crafted, and farmers a fair and reasonable market for high-quality NC grapes.
The resulting urban Asheville winery is a sprawling, brewery-like space with a beautiful open side that faces out toward the French Broad River and the rest of the River Arts District. On sunny days, the windows open, and the whole space feels more treehouse than enclosed space.
The many wines I’ve tried there always surprise: I tried my first sparkling red wine there, for instance, and many of the wines have a dry but complex palate that I haven’t found anywhere else.
The bartenders have a good knowledge of which wines are most like what people are typically used to and also have great suggestions for oenophiles in search of an adventure. Don’t miss out on the option to take a production tour with an included wine tasting, but these spots do get booked up, so reserve online ahead of time.
6. Explore Local Growers and Winemakers at The Aventine Wine Tasting Room
An aventine is a post of security and defense, and it makes sense that when Pleb Urban Winery opened their downtown outpost, they were creating a refuge for wine growers that are organic, biodynamic, or use minimal intervention, crafting wines that are as close to the earth as possible.
At The Aventine, you’ll find wine-loving bartenders who can talk extensively about the wines they create, sharing their knowledge about both Pleb’s in-house varietals as well as the hand-picked array of other bottles and taps available.
The light-soaked, retro-styled tasting room feels comfortable but classy at the same time, and you’ll be able to enjoy small bites from their wine snacks menu, too, though there are a wide variety of restaurants nearby if you want something a little more substantial. I personally think the elegant atmosphere makes it an Asheville wine bar that rivals any of the other fun bars in Asheville.
7. Taste Lovingly Crafted Ciders and Wines at Botanist and Barrel
While perhaps best known for their ciders, Botanist and Barrel offers some of the most exquisite wines made with NC grapes, and they are incredibly pure: no sulfites, no other additives, and all made with organic fruit sustainably harvested. The team has created a comfortable bar where you can try their incredible wines, which are also bottled and feature beautiful art on the labels.
The space gets a little small during the cold months, but never fear: Botanist and Barrel offers heated igloos for reservations if you want to come sample the wines and ciders when it’s cold or raining outside. There is always a story behind the glass you’ll be trying when you stop by.
8. Try the Best of the Bubbly at Battery Park Book Exchange
You probably don’t instantly think “champagne!” when you think about a used bookstore, but in Asheville, we definitely do. Battery Park Book Exchange is a combination champagne bar and used bookstore, all in the sumptuous setting of the Grove Arcade.
I find it to be one of the most romantic and alluring parts of the city since I’m a book lover, but you’ll also be thrilled to find so many bubbles at the bar. Many places won’t serve many of their sparkling wines by the glass for fear of not selling enough, but the volume of a champagne bar and good recorking solves that problem!
They have over a dozen champagnes available, and if you’re not sure where to start, enjoy some small glasses with their champagne flights: Le Grand Tier includes Billecart Salmon Rose, Louis Roederer, and Veuve Clicquot, while Le Premier Tier ushers you into some of the top sparkling wines they offer, including Bernard Gaucher Rose, Heidsieck & Co. Monopole, Nicolas Feuilatte.
They have plenty of red and white still wines, too, just in case everyone isn’t in the mood for sparkling wine. Wine lover or not, you should check this place out – Battery Park Book Exchange made several of our other lists as well including best cocktail bars and best bars for a girls’ night out.
9. Learn as You Sip at Biltmore Estate Winery
The Biltmore Estate Winery is a must-see on the Asheville vineyards and wineries list. The Vanderbilts, the first owners of the Biltmore Estate, were the ones who created this Asheville winery to begin with, but it has been crafted into a destination in addition to being a fairly high-volume production facility. It’s a must-visit if you’re spending a day at the Biltmore Estate.
You can start with your complimentary wine tasting, included with admission, at the wine tasting room, where you will get to experience some of the most well-known Biltmore wines. Stop by the indoor/outdoor Wine Bar as well, where you can have a flight of the wines that most whetted your appetite when you first started the experience, and to keep from getting too tipsy, order a cheese plate, a chocolate selection, or a charcuterie board.
There are also Asheville winery tours that involve learning about the different wines and how to taste them correctly, such as the popular red wine and chocolate tasting tour. Taking a walk back in history at Biltmore can be enriched when you see what a working vineyard looks like and add that layer to your understanding of the drinks you enjoy.
There you have it! The 9 best wine bars in Asheville, NC. What are your favorite places to go wine tasting in Asheville? Let us know so we can check them out!
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