History repeating itself isn’t always a good thing, but at Hampton Street Vineyard in Columbia, S.C., revisiting the past yielded something very positive: A revitalized version of an iconic wine destination.
Hampton Street Vineyard was first opened in 1995 by three sommeliers and quickly became a local favorite, earning a Wine Spectator Restaurant Award from 1998 to 2013 before the COVID pandemic caused the restaurant to close in March 2020.
That summer, the property was acquired by a different trio of wine lovers, Chelsea Carrier, Hernan Martinez and Jonathan Lopez, who met while pursuing sommelier certification in New York City. Hoping to maintain the restaurant’s legacy as a respected wine destination and honor its founders, the three friends kept the original name and built their own Restaurant Award–winning wine list. The 124 selections are backed by a 1,500-bottle cellar built by Martinez, who serves as the restaurant’s beverage director.
While most of the world’s wine-growing regions are represented, the list is strongest in French bottlings, with a solid selection of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. The team hosts monthly wine dinners, focusing on particular regions, producers or holidays such as Bastille Day. In addition to the wine list offered on site, the restaurant also sells a selection of wines to-go at retail pricing. Keeping with the French-American theme, chef Christopher Holme crafts brasserie-inspired dishes like the le fracas burger with brie and braised onions on a croissant bun, duck à l'orange with a fennel salad and a fish of the day with artichoke barigoule and basil pistou.