Rivertown Wine Around

Notice the imprints where your thumb goes!  So neat!

Notice the indent where your thumb goes! So neat!

Conway Downtown Alive is a fabulous organization that hosts numerous events throughout the year.  Karen and I have participated in their Dine Around, and will soon be participating in the Chocolate Walk.  Most recently, we had the pleasure of participating in the Rivertown Wine-Around.

Karen and I arrived at the Conway Visitor’s Center, where we picked up our maps, wrist bands, and wine glasses (which we were able to keep). The map showed us the ten places we would be stopping along our journey as well as the wines we would taste at each stop.  I quickly counted the number of wines and realized we would be consuming the equivalent of an entire bottle of wine throughout our three-hour journey.  Because of state law, two of our stops were not able to offer samples of wine.  Instead, they offered food tastings (and you were able to buy a glass of wine if you really needed more wine!)

Our first stop was Essential Massage and Back to Basics Organics where we met the two owners, Ashley and Katie.  Ashley is a nationally certified massage therapist and offers Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, and prenatal massage as well as chair massages.  She will also tailor massages to each individual’s needs.  Katie works with the organic foods and natural product lines that the store carries.  A blackboard offered numerous types of reasonably-priced organic produce, and Katie explained that for $65 a year I could become part of her co-op and earn an additional 40% off.  The store also carries local, organic, fresh meat.  You can simply place an order with Katie on Monday and pick your items up on Tuesday.  Additionally, the store carries a wide variety of environmentally-friendly products, including cleaning products, beauty products, and even reusable sandwich bags (which I haven’t been able to find anywhere!)   I have been looking for a place like this since moving to Myrtle Beach four years ago, and I know that this will be my new favorite store.  Oh, I guess I should also mention we tasted a Bitmore Zinfandel and a Menage a Trois Red. Katie had also made delicious spinach-artichoke dip and hummus was available to munch on. 

Karen and I crossed the street to find Oh Sew Cute, a store specializing in customized embroidery and children’s apparel. If you ever need something monogrammed, this store seems to be the place you should go.  The store also boasted a lot of clothing options for Gamecock and Clemson fans, and I found myself wishing they had some CoastalCarolinaUniversity gear.  Karen mentioned that she was sure they would be able to make it for me, as they often did custom orders.  Here, we sampled Trinity Oaks Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon.   Although this didn’t seem to be a place I would shop at often, it is a very cute place for anyone with children, and the owners seemed very nice.

Our next stop was Solano’s Trattoria, where we were able to have our first food tasting.  We opted out of purchasing a glass of wine, as we thought the bottle each we would be consuming throughout the walk would be plenty.  We enjoyed sausage stuffed mushrooms, crostini topped with mushrooms and a roasted red pepper sauce, and tasty cheese-stuffed bread.  Everything was delicious, just as it had been during the Dine-Around.

We next ventured into US International Nail Spa, a place that I had been curious about for a while but had never actually stopped in.  As we walked in the door, we were asked for our information and given a $10 gift certificate to be used on any of their services, including nail services, massages, facials, and waxing. Karen was offered a free massage, and we both enjoyed some Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.  The women were very friendly and fun, and we both decided we would return before the end of the month to use our gift certificates.

Palmetto Patio and Hearth was our next stop, where we sampled Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling, Folonari Chianti, and Jason Stephens Merlot.  This store had many unique grills and fire places, including a fire place built into the wall feet above the ground.  If anyone is shopping for fireplaces or grills, this is definitely the place to go!  Karen and I were intrigued by the wine slushy kits they sold.  The owner told us they were 10 times better than Daiquiris, which led us to the decision to try them this summer.

At this point, Karen and I were beginning to feel all of the wine we had been sampling, and decided it would be best to stop into Bodega, which was only serving food.  Most of the wines we had been tasting were also available for purchase in Bodega, and we thought it would be a good idea to look around.  Bodega was offering jam and cheese pairings, which neither Karen or I had ever thought of.  The cheeses included brie, goat cheese, cream cheese, and blue cheese.  The jams were made by a local woman and had been named as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2012.  There were really unique flavors, and Karen and I were able to taste the strawberry-basil, blueberry-lemon, peach-ginger, and blueberry-lavender.  We both agreed the blueberry-lavender was the most delicious, although they were all very wonderful.

Our next stop was Conway Glass, another store I had been meaning to check out for a while.  Inside, we were offered Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut, Tortoise Creek Zinfandel, and Big Gun Red (my favorite of all of the wines I sampled that day).  We were in awe of all of the beautiful designs, and learned that they offered glass blowing classes to teach people how to make various glass creations including an ornament, flower, and paperweight.   You can expect one of us to be blogging about our glass-blowing experiences shortly!

Ann Booth Jewelers offered a lot of beautiful jewelry, and we also learned that they repaired pretty much any type of jewelry there is.  Here, we sampled Hedges Sauvignon Blanc, Montinore Borealis, and St Cosme Cotes Du Rhone.  Karen plans on bringing her daughter’s necklace here to be fixed, as everyone seemed genuine and friendly.

Our second to last stop was The Shabby Chick,   where we tried Pasorina Moscato (the most delicious moscato I’ve ever had) and Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais.  We were impressed with all of the furniture and household decorations, and were intrigued by a sign offering painting classes.  After speaking with the owner, we learned that the painting classes were to teach how to paint and distress furniture.  She has only been open since October and eventually would like to offer numerous classes for people to enjoy.

The final stop is another new favorite of mine, 3rd Avenue Home.  As one of the owners explained, this store was thought up by a group of artistic friends over a pitcher or two of sangria.  The store boasts creations from over 50 local artists, and everything inside of it is unique and hand-made.  I purchased the most incredible smelling soy candle, and know I will be spending more money there in the future.  We really learned a lot about the ladies running the place, and we were invited to participate in their monthly events where they drink wine and have local artist come as a guest speaker.  The woman pouring the wine really knew her stuff and handed us a card with information about each of the wines we were about to enjoy.  These included a Foxglove Chardonnay, Borsao Caranacha Tres Picos, and a Cartilidge & Brown Cabernet Sauvignon.  We were even given some chili dark chocolate to compliment the Tres Picos.  These women seemed like a lot of fun and people I could really enjoy hanging out with, and I am excited to visit every month or so to see what new creations are available.

The Rivertown Wine-Around was a great experience and my favorite event Conway Downtown Alive has sponsored thus far.  Not only were Karen and I able to try some delicious wines that we may have otherwise not experienced, but we were introduced to a whole collection of stores which we may had never found if not for these downtown events.  Tickets cost $20, which was beyond reasonable for the equivalent of a bottle of wine, an introduction to some amazing stores, and a fabulous time with a wonderful friend.