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Wine bar update

Stem opens to the public Thursday, while Vine & Tap aims for December 1

Between Three Taverns and Wild Heaven, we’ve been hearing quite a bit about new Atlanta’s breweries lately. The new crop of wine bars, however, have had some delays. Read on for the latest on Stem and Vine & Tap.

Stem Wine Bar
With the estimated mid-July opening long gone, Stem Wine Bar is now planning to open to the public Thursday, November 7. The full menu has not been released but will feature bar snacks, oysters, a featured ham of the day, local and international cheeses, and a selection of charcuterie (both house-made and from the Spotted Trotter). There will be a dozen European-inspired small plates and four desserts. Highlights include royal red shrimp “al ajillo,” Spanish octopus a la plancha, French onion fondue with gruyere and toasted baguette, and a chocolate Budino tart with Georgia olive oil and sea salt. Each dish will be offered with a wine pairing.

The wine menu includes eight higher-end selections from the state-of-the-art Enomatic wine system. “Our selections focus on France, Italy, Spain and the U.S.,” says executive chef and owner Doug Turbush. “Intriguing wine flights are offered to highlight the diversity of grape varietals, the influence of terroir, and each winemaker's style.”

Only four cocktails—all wine-inspired—will be on the menu. This includes the Italian, a combination of blood orange, prosecco, cocchi rosa, and lemon expression. Keg wine and beer will be offered, along with sherry, port, madeira, and dessert wines.

Vine & Tap
Originally scheduled to open in September 6, Vine & Tap is now targeting December 1 for its launch, says proprietor Ian Mendelsohn. The Lenox Road wine bar, located in the former home of Pizzeria Venti, was ravaged by a grease fire that broke out while workers welded the hood to the chase, on what was supposed to be the last day of construction back in August.

Since then, Epic Development—the same company that led the post-fire renovations at Rathbun’s—has been working to bring the space up to code. Mendelsohn says he expects to acquire the restaurant and bar’s second round of permits in about a week and then plans for a thirty-day build.

The plan for the space is the same: “comfortable lounge-like atmosphere” with off-white walls, brown and white chairs, wooden tables made from a 1800s Alabama barn, and a tile bar. There will be a fifty-seat deck on the side of the space, and a private room with a twelve-seat farm table and audio/visual capabilities in back.

Mendelsohn and chef Zeb Stevenson are reworking the menu originally planned for opening, to correspond more with the winter season. Offerings include panini, arancini, and more.

“The food is not architecturally impressive—it’s just a great quality of ingredients on a plate,” Mendelsohn says.

The beverage selection will feature four wines on tap and “a lot” by the glass, in addition to beer, sherry, sake, port, Madeira, and Champagne. All glasses will have markings to indicate three, four and six ounces, for flights.

Mendelsohn also is testing a Coravin, a device that pierces a wine bottle’s cork with a hypothermic needle and shoots argon gas inside, preserving the wine for weeks or even months after opening. If it works, it will enable Vine & Tap to offer almost all of their wines by the glass.

“I’ll be tasting the wines every day to make sure you won’t get a bad bottle,” he says.