Story by Belle Crawford | Photos by Joye Ardyn Durham
With so many options in Asheville for enjoying craft beers, it’s refreshing to find a locally owned business focusing on wine. The newly opened Cork & Craft offers wines from around the world on tap along with a small plate menu designed to encourage and supplement the art of wine tasting.
The idea for Cork & Craft came to co-owner Cody Stokes in a dream. “I woke up one morning and knew I wanted to own a wine bar,” he says. “I needed a partner and knew my beautiful and talented wife Lila was the right one for the role.”
Like many other great ideas born from the ethereal realm of the unconscious, Cork & Craft has come to fruition through a bit of creativity and thoughtful planning. “We bought Hops & Vines on Haywood Road in West Asheville envisioning a cozy spot where people could go to relax and let it all go,” Cody says. “We rebranded the business, and after a few weeks of redesigning the space, we opened back up on June 1 of this year.” The couple has added a retail store, an elegant but comfortable lounge area, a gallery for local artists to exhibit works, a handmade black walnut bar and a patio space with tables in the rear of the building. “We wanted a place for those who are knowledgeable about wine as well as for those who may find the subject overwhelming and need a little guidance,” says Lila.
The Cork & Craft food menu offers a hummus plate, a mousse plate, pâté, a Spanish cheese plate and a pickle plate to enjoy with wine orders. “Our tinned seafood is also very popular,” says Lila. “They pair very well with wine, vermouth and sherry. No one has a menu quite like ours. We have the largest selection of tinned seafood in town.” The Cork & Craft retail store offers specialty chips, crackers, charcuterie, mustards and pimento cheese, all of which can be made into a custom plate for customers who would like to eat in the lounge.
“We also have a really funky selection of craft beer and cider,” says Lila. “But the best part is that we always have 25 different affordable wines by the glass on the menu that are also available by the bottle in the retail store, so if you find yourself turned on to a new wine, you can buy a bottle and have it to enjoy at home or share with others.”
Over the coming weeks, Cork & Craft will be transitioning to a female-owned business as Cody steps away to continue growing his sales career and Lila moves forward as owner and operator. “I’m excited about the idea of opening more locations around Asheville,” says Lila. “But before that, I would like to add more taps, more seating and, possibly, a small kitchen.”
Cork & Craft is located at 797 Haywood Road, Suite 100. Learn more on the Facebook page or call 828.252.5275.