Table Wine Asheville opened in August 2010, and quickly established itself as the premiere wine retailer in Asheville, North Carolina. We focus on “wines for the people” and our tagline is “artisanal wines at affordable prices.” Whether it be vin de table in France, vino da tavola in Italy, vina de mesa in Spain or just table wine in the U.S., every country has its own designation for honest, affordable and delicious wines that are consumed on a daily basis at the dinner table. Although we stock many premium wines, the average bottle price is about $15, and there are easily over 150 wines available for $15 or less. In total, we stock nearly 800 different wines so we’ve got something for every type of wine drinker.
One of the other things that makes our work unique is that we focus specifically on what we like to call “farmer” wines. Put simply, almost all of our wines come from producers who farm their own grapes or from those who purchase grapes from small, family grape farmers. These are the producers that subscribe to the notion that great wine is made in the vineyard with good, healthy, carefully grown grapes. In a sense, we offer a “farmer’s wine market”, and if you’ve ever shopped for your vegetables at one of Asheville’s many farmer’s markets, we think you’ll agree that the tomato purchased there far surpasses the quality, freshness and deliciousness of the one purchased at the grocery store. This same premise applies to wine!
We also feature Asheville’s largest and most focused selection of wines produced using organic, sustainable and biodynamic agricultural methods, but very few of the wines in the store are labeled as such. Many producers have been farming their vineyards this way for many years, but prefer not to spend the thousands of dollars it takes to get this designation printed on their labels. To them, organics is a necessity, a philosophy and a way of life, not a grand marketing scheme. We could go on and on, but the best way to learn more about these types of wines is to stop by the store and ask for Josh, Ben or Will and make sure you’ve got extra time on your hands!
The Owner – Josh Spurling
I must be honest. I got into this business by accident while I was enjoying my post-college “sabbatical” in Aspen, Colorado……aka goofing off before I had to join the real world. It was 1998 when I took a job at a wine shop/pharmacy called Sundance Drug and Liquor in Snowmass Village because the job provided me with a free ski pass. From there, store owner Barbara Wickes became my early mentor in the business. She gave me my first copy of Wine for Dummies, and I started shifting from a beer drinker to a wine drinker. These were blissful, heady days and it was in Aspen that I met Lynn, who is now my wife.
After we got married, we moved to Washington DC where I managed a small wine store in Dupont Circle, eventually landing a sales position with a major distributor in the area. After two years, the call to Asheville grew too loud to ignore. Lynn and I headed south to our new and permanent home. I found a place at the Asheville Wine Market, continually learning, tasting and listening to my new mentor Eberhard Heide as my dream of owning my own store percolated. After leaving the Asheville Wine Market in 2005, I took a job with a new distributor to Western North Carolina (The Country Vintner) and helped them to develop a major presence in Western North Carolina. After several years of continued business growth (and many miles), I grew weary of the grind and I left The Country Vintner in late 2009 to write my business plan for Table Wine and catch my breath. The store opened in July of 2010, and I haven’t looked back since then. Today, the store is stronger than ever, and I am extremely proud to employ two full time employees.
I love wine, I love food, I love the art of pairing them and I love communicating this knowledge to others. My gift is selecting the perfect wine for specific palates and occasions in any price range. I look forward to sharing this with you. Come to Table Wine, sit down, have a taste, and let’s have a conversation about wine!
Wine Consultant Ben Fort
My love for wine started amidst exchanging Christmas gifts as a child at my grandparents’ house (about two miles from Table Wine, by the way) and all of the consumables that were passed about. A bottle of scotch for my granddad, Mom’s homemade jam, pickles and nuts with fancy seasonings, baked goods from scratch galore, and bottles of wine numbering beyond recollection; and those were the things that often brought us together through the rest of the year, too. Family gatherings, and those among friends, are among my favorite memories, always with food and drink.
I started working in a restaurant after a bit of college, which is where I found my first mentor in this business. Victoria Quick was my bar manager and she had just finished announcing the new house margarita and the sales contest that would go with it. I had to talk to her about it since at 19 years old, I knew nothing about a margarita. After realizing I wasn’t pulling her leg, Vic exclaimed “Oh honey, come with me,” and thus it began. I began helping her with weekly inventory during which she taught me little tidbits about selling alcohol and how that enhanced my diners’ experience. Fast forward a few years and I’ve transitioned through a few different jobs until I’m working for The Country Vintner delivering wine that “some guy,” Josh Spurling, had sold. I quickly realized the wealth of knowledge he possessed about wine and we worked very well together. Again I paid attention.
We left those jobs around the same time; Josh to open Table Wine and I to work as a sales rep for another distributor. My move was not as well-suited as Josh’s and one afternoon, as I was in the throes of abandoning my wine career, I stopped by to see Josh and chat with an old friend. It was mid-December of 2012, and after catching-up awhile he asked me “are you looking for work?” I’ve been at Table Wine ever since and am continually reminded of just how much I love wine and helping people find the perfect bottles to share with those they love.
Wine Consultant Will Russell
My journey on the wine and food trail started in the mid to late 90’s soon after moving to Asheville. I got started in the business cooking in casual dining restaurants around town. Though the food was not so inspiring, I did develop an obsession for the world of food and wine. My first exposure to wine was while working in a small trattoria downtown. We had a meager selection of Italian wines, but I was excited to learn exotic words like Valpolicella and Sangiovese and especially to taste the wines these words described.
Fast forward a few years to the early 2000’s and I found myself living in New York City. I found a job on the opening kitchen crew at a soon to be Michelin starred restaurant. The wine program was top notch and I had the opportunity to taste many great wines. After a few years, I grew tired of standing at a stove 10-12 hours a day. I had a special interest in cheese and was very fortunate to find an opportunity at Murray’s Cheese in the West Village. I immersed myself in cheese and took advantage of the classes offered in pairing wine with cheese led by some wine shop owners and sommeliers in town.
After moving back home in the mountains, I took a job at Greenlife Grocery as wine buyer. Though I was in way over my head, I quickly became enthralled with everything in the wine world. I quickly recognized my affinity for the wines of the great importers like Kermit Lynch, Neal Rosenthal and Vintage 59. Learning that I could trust those guys’ selections was my guiding light as I got my feet wet.
After five years, it became time for a change. I knew Table Wine to be the best bottle shop in town so I jumped at the opportunity to work with Josh. I am very excited to be here and to have the opportunity to work with the clientele that shops here. Getting to explore and learn all these new fantastic wines makes me feel like a kid in a candy store.