New Southside store proves irresistible to wine-lovers
Chattanooga is a unique place. Sure, everyone thinks that where they’re from is quirky and special, but Chattanooga truly is a funky place to live. It’s a living organism, growing in diversity and expanding in location.
The Southside is picking up when it comes to new eclectic restaurants, businesses, and now, Imbibe. Chattanooga needed more than just a liquor store, and owner Josh Carter filled that void with a hip, rustic-but-chic establishment, specializing specifically in wine.
Imported from all over the globe, the wine selection at Imbibe reaches the thousands, a fact you notice instantly upon entering. “We want people to walk in and be wowed,” says Carter. Well, mission accomplished.
Floor to ceiling shelves, rows and rows and rows, wine inhabits the building, signs depicting the country of origin perched above. There are the expected wine heavyweights present, Italy, France, Spain, but then you notice the list goes on with Australia, South Africa, Germany, Chile, Argentina, and more.
“I tracked down specific wines I wanted to sell,” Carter says. “I’ve loved wine for a very long time.” And that’s precisely the reason Imbibe came to be. When the vision came to life, it grew with the help of inspiring designers, architects, and business partners, becoming more than Carter ever imagined it would be.
He wanted to bring the wines he loved to Chattanooga, and after a little convincing of the distributors, he brought the wine to the people. Affordable wine, too, I might add.
Of course, there’s a $1,300 bottle of wine being babied in the cool room, but few will not think twice about opening a bottle so expensive. “My personal focus is to keep bottles under $15, maybe $20,” Carter says, pointing out that not all delicious wines have to break the bank, at least not at Imbibe.
But maybe you aren’t sure what you want. Perhaps you’re like I once was, a girl who stuck with the simplicity of Moscato because it’s sweet and easy to drink. Too broke to branch out in a restaurant, and definitely too broke to go out on a limb and experiment, I was doomed to sip the sugar forever. Until a wine tasting opened my eyes to darker, drier horizons.
Imbibe features such a bar, for tiny tastings. Free sips to help you make a selection?
Score one, Imbibe.
Page through an assortment of books on thirst-quenching topics, from making cocktails to bite-size snack wine pairings?
Score two, Imbibe.
Need to pick up a nifty gift for your favorite beverage connoisseur? Choose from flasks, shakers, shots glasses, and bottle stoppers.
Score three, Imbibe.
Although they’re a wine-centric liquor store, Imbibe stocks other essentials, too. Whiskey, bourbon, beer—they’ve got it, including a “growler station” where patrons can taste from a selection of 20 taps, including ciders and stouts. With more wine than any other liquor store in town, accessible prices, and a knowledgeable staff, Imbibe is setting the bar high for wine and spirits stores across Chattanooga.