Arlington, VA

Crystal City’s only gourmet wine shop is now open for business.

The Crystal City Wine Shop, at the corner of Army Navy Drive and 12th Street S. on the ground floor of the Lenox Club apartments, quietly opened on Thursday and is operating under reduced hours this week while management hires employees and kicks the business into gear.

For the time being, the wine shop is stocking about a third of the wine and beer selection that will eventually be offered for sale. As they start ramping up sales and restocking, managers hope to offer some 150-200 types of beer and about 800 individual wines. There will be a special emphasis on Virginia wines, we’re told. In addition to wine and beer, the store is selling meats, cheeses, sauces, crackers, potato chips and chocolates.

Through Saturday, the store will be open daily from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Eventually, the store’s hours are expected to be 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 12:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The store does not yet have a website, though one is on the way.

The shop is wholly owned by the nonprofit Washington Wine Academy, which has offices in a building across the street. Alex Evans, the academy’s director of education, says the store was conceived after attendees at academy-run events — like the Crystal City 1K Wine Walk — started asking where they could buy some of the unique wines they were tasting.

“Now we can give them a definitive answer,” Evans said.

Evans says the store will be a friendly place where customers can learn about different types of wine and beer in a no-pressure environment.

“We want to be known as a community store,” she said. “The last thing in the world we want to be is snobby. That won’t be tolerated.”

Proceeds from the store will benefit the academy. Washington Wine Academy president Jim Barker says profits will be reinvested in scholarships for the academy’s certification programs (required for some local hospitality industry workers) and in reducing the price points of certain public academy events.

“It’s a great, logical support for the nonprofit [Washington Wine Academy],” Barker said.

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