Gervais & Vine owners Kristian Niemi and Harold Ham also own Mr. Friendly's New Southern Cafe in Columbia, winner of a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for its wine list. The two decided to open the wine bar because they saw a need both personal and professional. "What we're trying to do is give people some diverse choices," said Niemi. "Also, I wanted somewhere I could just come and drink the wines that I like."
Wines on Gervais & Vine's list are reasonably priced; Niemi said he has priced glasses based on the retail price per bottle plus $10. The wine bar offers full glasses of 5 ounces and half glasses of 2.5 ounces. Selections include Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 1997 from New Zealand ($5.50 for a full glass, $2.75 for half), Franciscan Oakville Estate Chardonnay 1997 ($5.50, $2.25) and Gallo of Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon Barelli Creek 1994 ($6.25, $3.25). There is also a light menu of appetizers and desserts.
Next to the wine bar, Niemi and Ham have opened up a wine shop offering a good selection of California and French wines. Patrons can buy bottles there and drink them in the wine bar for an extra $10. In addition, Gervais & Vine is offering weekly wine tastings of selected varietal wines.
Niemi said that Gervais & Vine, which features a tasteful Tuscan decor, has so far been well received in Columbia and that the city is experiencing a boom in wine appreciation. "A lot of people thought Columbia wasn't worth it," he said. "But people really do want to learn more about wine. We've sold out every wine tasting we've had."
Gervais & Vine
620-A Gervais St.
Telephone: (803) 799-8463
Fax: (803) 799-8422
Open: Bar, 4:30 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday; shop, 11 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday
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