Small bites: plēb urban winery opens in the RAD

UNASSUMING BUNCH: plēb urban winery co-owners Lauren Turpin, right, and Chris Denesha, top left, see their new winery as a fun and welcoming place. Also pictured is assistant winemaker Tyler Kay, bottom left. Photo by Thomas Calder

When you hear the word “winery,” what comes to mind? If you’re like most, you probably think of California, France or Italy. No matter the location, you likely picture a vineyard out in the countryside with endless rows of grapevines. The air is crisp and fresh. And if you turn your nose up, you’ll detect not only the rich aroma of the fruit itself, but that undeniable scent of refinement and class.

You won’t find any of this at plēb urban winery. Located at the southern end of the River Arts District, the 10,000-square-foot winery occupies the former Paneling World Inc. warehouse. Wine production claims half the space, while a taproom makes up the rest. On Saturday, Sept. 1, the new venue will host its grand opening.

Co-owner Lauren Turpin describes the winery’s vibe and aesthetic as “relaxed and welcoming.” Barrels are scattered throughout the taproom’s open floor plan, functioning as both tables and table bases. Colorful murals designed by local artists Ian Wilkinson and Gus Cutty decorate the walls. “That’s probably the most surprising part,” Turpin says. Most people, she notes, don’t associate street art with wineries.

“We’ll be bringing in grapes within a two-hour radius of Asheville,” she continues. From there, plēb will crush, press then move the grapes to one of its 12 fermentation tanks. “Some will go to barrel, some will stay in the keg and some will maybe become sparkling,” Turpin says.

For winemaker and co-owner Chris Denesha, developing relationships with local growers and exploring all varieties of grapes are crucial elements to the business model. “Farmers don’t get paid as much for growing the right grapes in the right places,” he says. “That’s been a pivotal thing for us. If we want good grapes and we want to support our farmers to grow these obscure grapes, we need to pay them.”

The winery’s environmentally friendly approach, says Turpin, will help achieve this goal. Rather than bottle and package each new batch, plēb offers its wines straight from the tap. In doing so, it keeps production costs low, “so we’re able to pass those savings along to both the consumer and the grower,” Turpin explains.

All of these components — from decor to production — feed into the winery’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere. “It’s just a great place to come and hang out and chat with friends and enjoy a glass of wine,” Turnip says.

The winery is at 289 Lyman St. Its grand opening runs noon-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. For more information, visit pleburbanwinery.com

Postero fundraiser dinner for Pisgah Legal Service

On Thursday, Aug. 30, Postero will host a benefit dinner for Pisgah Legal Services. “Community fundraisers not only raise important funds for Pisgah Legal’s work, but these collaborations also raise awareness of ways we meet our clients’ critical needs,” says Michelle Spiegel, the nonprofit’s development manager.

For Postero’s owner and chef, Jason Reasoner, the event is a way of giving back, both as a business owner and community member. “Really we just want others to get outside of themselves, raise their heads and look around and see what needs doing,” he says. “If we can do that while dishing out some deliciousness, then all the better.” Highlights from the four-course, prix fixe menu include scallop escabeche, beef tournedos and Round Mountain Creamery goat cheese angel food cake with roasted peach and bourbon ice cream.

The dinner runs 5-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, at Postero, 401 N. Main St., Hendersonville. The meal is $85 per person. For reservations, visit avl.mx/58g. For more on Pisgah Legal Services, visit pisgahlegal.org.

End-of-summer cupcake pairing

Craft Centric Taproom & Bottle Shop will team up with Three Eggs Cakery to bid farewell to summer on Monday, Sept. 3, with a cupcake and beer pairing. Flights will combine four mini-cupcakes with four 5-ounce pours of beer. Pairings include lemonade cupcakes with Asheville Brewing Co.’s Lemon Space Dog; apple pie cupcakes with New Holland Brewing’s Passion Blaster; banana split cupcakes with Prairie Artisan Ales’ Paradise and s’mores mini-cupcakes with The Bruery’s Or Xata.

The End of Summer Cupcake Pairing runs noon-8 p.m. (or while supplies last) Monday, Sept. 3, at Craft Centric Taproom & Bottle Shop, 100 Julian Shoals Drive, Unit 40, Arden. Flights are $18, plus gratuity and tax. For more information, visit avl.mx/58h.

Gut health and nutrition lecture

Monica Corrado, chef, certified nutrition consultant and certified gut and psychology syndrome practitioner, will offer a free lecture, Reclaim Nutrition to Reclaim Your Health, on Thursday, Sept. 6. She will also offer a two-day workshop on the topic Friday-Saturday, Sept. 7-8, at the Organic Growers School’s fifth annual Harvest Conference at Warren Wilson College.

Reclaim Nutrition to Reclaim Your Health runs 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6 at Lenoir-Rhyne University, 36 Montford Ave. The event is free to attend. For more information on the Harvest Conference, visit avl.mx/58j.

North Carolina Apple Festival

Apple is king at the 72nd annual North Carolina Apple Festival. A street fair with arts and crafts booths, entertainment and children’s activities will take over Hendersonville’s historic downtown for four days beginning Friday, Aug. 31.

The festival runs Friday-Sunday, Aug.31-Sept. 3, at Courthouse Square, Hendersonville. Event times vary. For details, visit avl.mx/58k.

Coffee for Champions campaign seeks roasters

The Buncombe County Special Olympics launches its third annual Coffee for Champions program in September. Throughout the month, coffee shops, cafes and restaurants in Asheville and Buncombe County will help raise funds and awareness for the Special Olympics. So far, participating shops include Dynamite Roasting Co., Ivory Road Cafe and Kitchen, Vortex Doughnuts, Corner Kitchen, Biltmore Coffee Roasters, Trout Lily Market & Deli and PennyCup Coffee. Co. Businesses can sign up to join throughout September.

For more information, visit coffeeforchampions.org

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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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