Vermont is just coming into its own when it comes to wine bars, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality or atmosphere. You just have to know where to look. So follow along as we count down the top wine bars in the Green Mountain State.
Cork is a combination wine bar and retail wine shop with a focus on natural wines. At the eight-bar side, a variety of cheese & charcuterie, small plates, and oysters shucked to order are among the offerings. Open seven days a week, there is also seating in the lounge and dining room, and a variety of wines, beers, & hard ciders are on tap in addition to bottle and by-the-glass options.
Dedalus is a wine shop, market, and bar that was built on a specific set of entrenched philosophies about wine. They are, admittedly “very opinionated” about the products they carry. They also love wine here, and through classes, tastings, and wine dinners, Dedalus hopes to help others understand and appreciate wine as they do.
Beef, beef, and more beef. What goes better with red meat than wine? Nothing. Mariasha and Ozzy Giral take you on a three-hundred label wine adventure. Featuring wine from around the world to pair with your Certified Angus Beef (CAB) or fresh seafood, the experience is simply viniferous.
Everything about North Branch is delicate, from the soft, patterned cushion seats to the background music. Co-owner Lauren Parker wanted to create “an eclectic, Montpelier kind of thing,” and the wines certainly are a testament to that. Specializing in exotic and never-heard-of-before wines, pastries, shortbreads, and snacks like local chevre and pita or spiced curry, North Branch provides an effervescent experience. But don’t plan on an afternoon cup of joe, though, as this is a wine and TEA cafe.
The experience here is divided into two approaches. The first approach features selected wines on a rolling admission of new and seasonal varietals, while the second approach introduces patrons to “top” wines that are considered to be classic picks kept on hand year-round. By the bottle, glass, or flight, all wines are available at any time, and your wine discovery is meant to be an adventure where SD will guide you through eclectic and off-the-beaten path vino selections.
The brainchild of Leslie Stuart and Wendy Neal, Stemwinder’s philosophy is pretty simple: pair great wine with tapas-style dishes to promote a sharing and communal atmosphere. Cheese and meat plates, thin crust pizzas, lamb meatballs, and roasted red pepper ravioli grace the menu as well as a bevy of wines.
This bar focuses on small production wines from all over the world. Available by the glass or as a flight designed by chef/owner Stephen Sawyer. And if you get peckish, the kitchen serves various cheeses and cured meats from Vermont, Italy, and Spain. This lounge is quirky and cozy and boasts nearly 100 wines.
Located in a historic building on College Street, this bar specializes in sparkling wine, which is a unique niche here in the Green Mountain State. Nevertheless, the owner, Nancy Weber-Curth believes she is on to something and boasts true champagnes from (where else?) Champagne, France. Gaston Chiquet, Pierre Gimonnet, and A. Margaine are all options here, and local Vermont cheeses and chocolates are available accompaniments.
A funky, laid-back pub that offers a variety of musical entertainment, including local and regional musicians, karaoke, and an Open Mic Night, Metropolis also boasts a game room with a pool table and darts. The décor is fun and whimsical, featuring hand-painted murals spanning two floors, which is not surprising considering the bar is owned by Alyssa Blittersdorf and Alan Blackwell, both artists.
Why not go straight to wine's source by visiting a wine bar at a vineyard? Whether you are a novice or an expert, the friendly folks at Shelburne will pour you a glass or a tasting flight and even let you keep your glass. You’ll learn about wine, too, like how varieties grow, how the wines are produced and blended, and the challenges to Vermont viticulture. Full tours are also available.