Crystal City is about to get its first wine store. Not that the area’s 24,000 residents have been unable to buy wine — there’s a Costco,
a Whole Foods, a pair of Harris Teeters and a World Market within a few blocks’ radius. But there’s no neighborhood wine store where one can linger over the labels, strike up a conversation with a knowledgeable wine “consultant” and maybe try something totally new.
That’s the void Jim Barker is trying to fill. Barker, who runs the Washington Wine Academy, the area’s largest wine education organization, has applied for an ABC license to open the Crystal City Wine Shop in the Lenox Club apartment building at 401 S. 12th St., near the academy’s offices. Barker’s application was first reported by Arlnow.com. The store, which he hopes to open in January or February, will be a subsidiary of the non-profit academy but will be run independently, he said.
In a phone interview, Barker said the idea for the wine shop grew out of the tastings he’s conducted for several years with the wine academy. “People always ask, ‘Where can we buy these wines?’” he said. “So with the store, we will at least have a retail place to point them to.”
Crystal City Wine Shop will also feature cheese and charcuterie — “Because we have to,” Barker says — as well as regional craft beers. There will also be a section dedicated to Virginia wines. The Washington Wine Academy has been very active supporting Virginia wine festivals and is collaborating with the Virginia Wine Board to develop a Web site dedicated to teaching wine industry workers about the state’s wine, Barker said. The rest of the store’s selection will focus on value-oriented wines, especially unusual grape varieties from around the world, he said.