Vine ripe

Taste test: Terri Karlsson educates customers at The Tree and Vine olive oil and vinegar tasting gallery.

The Tree and Vine opened early this summer in Biltmore Village. The shop, owned by Terri Karlsson and her husband, Paul, also carries pastas, olives, almonds and other specialty goods. Terri says that all three olive oil-and-vinegar tasting rooms in Asheville are quite distinct.

What makes The Tree and Vine different? There are three different business models, all represented now in Asheville. Oil and Vinegar is a franchise out of the Netherlands. I know what franchises require, and you have absolutely no autonomy; that store has to do what [the parent corporation] tells them to do. The other model is what Olive & Kickin’ is; while they are not a franchise, they are not independent because they have a contractual obligation with one supplier and they have to use the products from that one supplier as well as their bottles [Editor’s note: Olive & Kickin’s Karen Kortendick clarifies this point in the shop’s own profile]. I am completely independent. I independently source everything for my stores. I sample products from everywhere to determine what’s the best product out there.

We also provide a very individual one-on-one tasting experience that reflects our vision of customer service and personalities. Also, because we are independent, we can carry many locally and regionally sourced products. We also carry Mediterranean wines, which neither of the other stores do. [The shop also offers products from overseas with a local connection, like Theros olive oil, sourced from a Greek family with members living in Asheville.] We also offer wine tastings. We also offer tastes of the other products we carry, not just the balsamics and olive oils.

What is your favorite product that you carry? Our 18-year-aged balsamic from the Modena region of Italy.

Do you carry truffle oil? I carry a white-and-black truffle-infused olive oil.

What are your favorite oils you carry? The Theros olive oil. I believe we're the only ones who carry the unfiltered oil except for the Theros family, who are very good friends of ours. I believed it sells more than the infused oils we carry.

The Tree and Vine is located at 22 Lodge St. in Biltmore Village. For more information, visit thetreeandvine.com or call 505-4049.

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