One wine shop just opened in downtown Bryson City, with a second one slated to open within the month.
The Cottage Wine Shop, run by the mother and daughter team of Susie Chambers and Trish Hipgrave, features North Carolina wines.
“We are doing the small vineyards that don’t necessarily have distributors,” Chambers said. “Once a month we go travel around and go to these little tiny wineries and vineyards and get such good wine but nobody knows about them because they don’t have distributors. It is great fun.”
Chambers said the Cottage Wine Shop apparently fits the definition of a “wine boutique.”
“When we go to these wineries and they say ‘How many cases?’ and we say ‘One or two,’ they say ‘Oh, you are a boutique winery,’” Chambers said.
The other wine shop, World of Wine and Antiques, is run by the owners of Pasqualino’s Italian Restaurant. Nancy Bright Izquierdo said wine is one of their interests, especially with her husband being from Spain.
“I think he had wine in his baby bottle growing up in Spain,” Izquierdo said.
They hope to by open by the end of the month.
So what does the influx of wine shops say about the business climate in Swain County?
“I am feeling very good about that right now,” said Gwen Bushyhead, director of the Swain County Chamber of Commerce. “There are a lot of people in and around Swain County that appreciate good wine. ”Nancy attributes the robust economy to both an increase in locals and tourism.
“We are going on our fourth year with the restaurant and each year has increased,” Izquierdo said. “I think a lot more people are moving here and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has brought in a lot more tourists than we had in the past.”