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  • DeLauren Everett

Gaston County + Wine Shops — The perfect pairing is closer than you think

Make your way through Gaston County and explore wines from countries near and far. Cafés, restaurants and wine shops are sprinkled throughout the county, expanding the lineup of wine experiences around town. Prior to the 2018 election, businesses weren’t permitted to sell wine and beer in the county. But since the community's outpour of support to change the policy, Gaston now competes with Charlotte by offering quality food, award winning wines and a plethora of pairings to complement.

Grant Baldwin - Gaston Outside

Wine lovers can choose from multiple shops to visit. Different from a traditional winery, shops allow guests to pair their wine with treats made in-house like pastries, sandwiches, fresh meats and charcuterie boards and more. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience these wine line-ups (and support small business while you’re at it).

Doffer’s Canteen

Photo Courtesy of Doffer's Canteen

119 Center St., Cramerton

Tuesday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

A fast-casual mix between a sandwich and burrito shop, Doffer’s Canteen offers customers the opportunity to enjoy vino or beer with their Tex-Mex and other non-traditional Mexican-flare dishes. Wine is served by the bottle for wine lovers to pour into a Doffers Canteen branded wine glass or purchase a bottle to enjoy at home.

Doffer's carries multiple white wine varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy with a chicken dish, sandwich or salad. If you’re a red wine drinker, pair their beef dishes with a medium to full-bodied red wine including Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.

The Everyday Market

Grant Baldwin - Gaston Outside

7 S. Main St., Belmont

Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Friday - Saturday, 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Downtown Belmont has made a name for itself in the world of wine and joining their ranks is The Everyday Market. Majid Amoorpour, a Charlotte resident and former chef, was looking for opportunities to start his own bakery business. Starting off as a pastry distributor for local coffee shops and grocers, Amoorpour grew in popularity and decided to rent a local coffee shop from owners heading into retirement to accommodate the demand.

Amoorpour expanded his offerings and began serving beer and wine. “I wanted to bring good wine to the area and I didn’t want to compete with my neighbors, so I decided to sell wines that you can’t find anywhere else in Belmont,” Amoorpour says.

The Everyday Market carries wines from around the world – Italy, Spain, France, California, Oregon, Chile, New Zealand and the list goes on. “Wine is a great conversation piece,” Amoorpour continues. “It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about – politics, religion, family issues – whatever the issue is, with wine, you will solve it!”

Whether you pair your wine with a fresh pastry, bread or dessert, or grab a sandwich or strudel, pull up a seat inside or enjoy the fresh air out on the patio for the perfect scene with vino.

Fryeday Coffee Roasters

Photo Courtesy of Fryeday Coffee Roasters

106 E. 1st St., Unit B, Lowell

Monday 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Tuesday - Thursday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Inspired to master coffee roasting in the driveway of her Santa Barbara, California, home, Alisa Frye later moved to North Carolina and opened Fryeday Coffee Roasters. This neighborhood hotspot keeps busy with patrons looking for locally brewed coffee during the morning and afternoon, but Frye realized there was an untapped market of folks looking for something to do and sip on in the evenings.

“There are no places in Lowell that caters to wine enthusiasts and that has a place for the community to hang out,” Frye expresses. “We source wines from several distributors and have live music and food trucks on the weekends so the community can come by and enjoy themselves.”

While serving wine is new for her business, Frye takes time to understand what her customers want. “As we grow our wine selection, we ask for customer feedback to learn what they want.” Frye says. Patrons can select from traditional wine varietals — Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, red blends, Prosecco — or from a list of craft beers, like local brews from Cavendish Brewery Company.

Frye has worked diligently to find the perfect pairs for wine and food. Sweet treats like fresh pastries, cake slices, cupcakes and cookies pair well with a glass of Prosecco or red. A lineup of savory items including quiche and their popular breakfast sandwiches (made exclusively for Fryeday Coffee Roasters by Will’s Doggin’ It Deli and Dogs) would also pair well with bubbly.

Stop by and grab a glass in their cozy, yet socially-distanced, outdoor patio, complete with a fire pit and heaters in the cooler months, and when the weather’s nice, you may be treated to live music.

Gaston Pour House

Grant Baldwin - Gaston Outside

170 S. South St., #103B, Gastonia

Monday - Saturday, 10:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Enjoy hand selected wines by the glass (or take a bottle to-go) and sip classic-inspired cocktails in downtown Gastonia. Featuring wine, fresh coffee and a vast beer lineup, Gaston Pour House has weekly wine tastings, live music and wine dinners.

Grape and Barley

Grant Baldwin - Gaston Outside

1933 Hoffman Rd #4, Gastonia

Monday - Thursday, 12 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Serve your own wine at Grape and Barley from their wine dispensers or visit the bar for a taste before purchasing a bottle or a glass. Tastes are 2.5 oz or 5 oz pours or choose from a full glass of wine or cold brew and pair it with their fresh, locally made salsa and hummus.

Their vast wine selection including their top selling collection, Orin Swift, includes Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and a red blend, gives guests an opportunity to try new varietals from the bar or in their private tasting room.

My Brother's Bottle at The Picket Fence

Photo Courtesy of My Brother's Bottle at the Picket Fence

Tuesday - Friday, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Take a short ride to downtown Mount Holly and check out My Brother’s Bottle at the Picket Fence. From fine wine to craft beer and specialty spirits, if you’re looking for quality libations to vibe out to, pay this neighborhood shop a visit!

Sprouts Café

Photo Courtesy of Sprouts Café

1012 S. New Hope Rd., Gastonia

Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Wine pairs nicely with vegan food, especially if it’s from Sprouts Café in Gastonia. From vegan to gluten-free, any and everyone can find something delicious, yet healthy to indulge in. And while brunch and lunch are what first brought Sprouts local notoriety, their wine offerings bring a different twist to this over the counter café.

If mimosas are your jam, then you’ll love their wide range of bubbles paired with juices and fruits to keep you coming back for more. Starting at $4 a glass, you can enjoy special mimosas mixed with watermelon, strawberry-orange, black berry, mint and more.

Sit back and take a “trip” to Spain, France or a local North Carolina vineyard and explore various wine and pairings at a Sprouts Cafe wine dinner, of course with a healthy twist. And if you enjoy the wine and want to buy a bottle, the host will gladly package up your favorite vino to take home with you.

“Healthy foods do not have to sacrifice excellent taste.” says Carla Sinteff, owner and former Executive Chef at The String Bean in Belmont. “We have a garden in the back where we grow fresh vegetables that we use in our foods. And when we think about pairings for our wine events, we focus on the wine first, then create a menu around the selections.”

The String Bean

Chris Rodarte - Gaston Outside

106 N. Main St., Belmont

Tuesday – Thursday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Another Belmont wine spot is The String Bean, a local restaurant, wine and beer market and butcher shop. This unique restaurant and wine shop was created out of inspiration for wanting to make high quality food (with a focus on meats) and wine accessible outside of Charlotte. You won’t find TVs or other distracting media inside, because the owner intends for patrons to enjoy the company of one another while choosing from over 800 wines or 200 craft beers, pairing with locally-inspired plates.

Wine is a vital aspect to String Bean’s mission, with dedicated staff working closely with nearly 20 wine vendors to source the best options for diners. This level of commitment and experience in selecting both highly rated and highly scored wines has awarded The String Bean the Wine Spectator award, a respected list of restaurants that are dedicated to wine, for eight consecutive years.

Join a multi-course wine dinner, experience an informal wine tasting or simply stop by for a casual yet classy dinner. Sample new wines and try unique foods from their dining room or on the nicely decorated patio at one of their fire pit tables.

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