Tastings Wine Shop in Lexington, North Carolina opened in 2009 when five friends decided to go in together and bring the wine lifestyle to this quaint little town. One of the partners took on the responsibility of running the shop on a day-to-day basis. They catered to their regulars and started building up a name and a reputation for the wine shop. Then the partner running the shop suffered some health issues that made it extremely difficult to run the store. Heartbroken, the partners put their heads together trying to decide whether to sell the shop or to simply close it. They decided to close – quietly and with no fanfare. But as fate would have it, things never go as planned. In step Chris and Kristin Briggs – visiting family over the Christmas holidays, 2011 and they heard thru the “grape-vine” that the store was closing. They decided to pay the wine shop a visit and have a talk with the owners about buying them out.
As the store was set to close by January 1, a lot of wheels had to be put in motion quick – an ABC license, financing, replenishing inventory that had been depleted for the closing – and remember, Chris and Kristin didn’t even live in North Carolina yet!!! But obviously this was meant to be…..
Chris jumped through all the hoops the NC ABC Board threw in front of him in just 3 DAYS! Just in time to keep the current ABC license for Tastings from running out, just in time to keep the store from closing and just in time to go visit with Kristin’s family in Pennsylvania as planned for the New Year.
Not only were the original owners of Tastings gracious enough to keep the store running for 3 full months while Chris and Kristin went back to New York to sell their apartment and officially move to NC, they started ordering inventory and restocking the store so that Chris had a turn-key operation when he was ready on April 1, 2012 to take over.
Now for the learning curve! Chris had a background in robotics and special effects while Kristin had a background in event planning (you see where this is going, right?!?!) They had both been avid wine and beer hobbyists but had never studied wine and had never worked retail. (Can you imagine the conversations that went on in their car while they drove to Pennsylvania?) It was decided that Chris would handle the day-to-day operations of the store and Kristin would do event planning and handle the social media.
Chris reads everything he can find about wine from regions to styles to trends so that he can talk with his customers and answer their questions. Each day late in the afternoon, he tries to open something new and different for him so that he can taste and make the right kind of recommendations; he shares this new wine with customers coming in as well and offers them free tastings of the day’s selection. Chris feels that learning about wine and being able to share that knowledge is almost as pleasurable as the wine itself.
Tastings is not a wine bar, but they do sell wine by the glass as an added benefit to their customers. They also sell premium craft beer and allow the customer to mix and match the beer as they choose.
Although you will find a few local NC wines at Tastings, the selection is very limited. Chris’s philosophy on this is that the local wineries are so close that he recommends customers go visit the wineries for a full tasting of their wines and truly experience what the winery has to offer and to accommodate this, he keeps plenty of wine trail maps on hand to give his customers.
Chris is now “Enjoying a job where people come in because they want to be there.” The customers come in happy and it’s contagious so Chris is happy as well.
Feel free to visit Tastings at 312 E Center Street in Lexington, NC anytime and check out their website for a listing of events and happenings at www.tastingswine.com.
Cheers to Chris & Kristin for living the American Dream!!!