First Look: Twisted Vines Wine Bar and Bottleshop

If today’s final county inspection goes according to plan, the new Twisted Vines Wine Bar and Bottleshop on Columbia Pike will open its doors to customers for the first time this weekend, with a grand opening celebration to be held on March 6.

Twisted Vines will feature seating for 43, a selection of 128 bottles of wine from most of the major wine-making countries, cheese and charcuterie plates, and some more substantial fare from chef Caroline Guelle (hired away from Grand Cru in Ballston).

For owner Sybil Robinson, the journey from consulting management (her former career) to wine bar management started in Argentina.

Sybil, along with husband and co-owner Josh, had already followed their passion for wine to such viticulture meccas as France, Italy and Chile. Then in Mendoza, Argentina, while sitting at a wine bar overlooking the vineyards, lightning struck. They decided they wanted to bring the same comfortable, enjoyable, educational wine experience back home with them. The idea for Twisted Vines was thus born.

Since signing the lease at 2803 Columbia Pike in July, however, their vision for a wine lover’s paradise has been less about wine and more about construction and regulations.

“I’m talking about sheet metal and drywall when I’d rather be talking about wine,” Sybil said Thursday, amid a flurry of phone calls from a contractor. Luckily, “the fun is about to start.”

The Columbia Pike location is ideal, Sybil said. The couple bought a house in the neighborhood in 2003, and has watched intently as the Columbia Pike Revitalization has progressed. Now, they’re part of it.

“We wouldn’t have done it anywhere else,” Sybil said. “The whole idea when we thought of this was to bring something like this to Columbia Pike, so you didn’t have to keep driving to Clarendon all the time.”

“We really wanted to have a place for the community to come together,” she continued. “We’re not trying to be the best place in Washington, DC… we really just wanted that local, community kind of feel.”

Sybil and Josh — who is, for the time being, keeping his day job in IT consulting — have been joined in the endeavor by their son, 15-month-old “wine-snob-in-training,” Jacob.

“When we first started in July he couldn’t even crawl,” Sybil said. “Now he’s running.”

While that may be an excellent growth model for Twisted Vines, Sybil is keeping her expectations more modest.

“Our wildest dream is that people like it, that people come and enjoy it,” she said.

After the grand opening, Twisted Vines will open at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. A brunch will be offered on Saturday and Sunday, followed by tastings from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The store will be closed Mondays, but open for private events.

There will also be monthly wine dinners, consisting of five wines paired with five dishes.

For more info, check out Twisted Vines on the web or on Twitter.

Note on the pictures below: the wine racks will be stocked once the ABC permit arrives. The walls, now bare, will be covered with photos and mirrors by the time the store opens.

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