thanks for the vine
New Memorial wine bar from Union Kitchen owners uncorks 200 bottles in rustic-chic space
Anyone who’s dined at The Union Kitchen knows that it offers a lengthy wine list. Now the husband and wife duo behind that establishment are expanding on that aspect of their business by opening a new wine bar and bottle shop in Memorial.
Gr8 Plate Hospitality owners Doris and Paul Miller have claimed the former Memorial Wine Cellar space (7951 Katy Fwy) for Vine Memorial. Both Millers have enough of a passion for wine to have earned a WSET Level 2 certification that’s part of the training program for many sommeliers.
As Paul Miller explains, the couple had wanted to open a wine shop for awhile. When the Memorial Wine Cellar space became available, he jumped at the opportunity. He had weekly meetings there with his father for several years. The Union Kitchen’s second location on Memorial Drive has become a neighborhood favorite.
“TUK Two on Memorial has been such a great community for us,” Miller tells CultureMap. “We just renewed our lease there for another five years. I’m excited to get another place in the Memorial area.”
Vine will sell approximately 200 different bottles in a range of styles alongside two dozen wines by-the-glass, split between red and white varietals. One section of the store — dubbed “Evelyn’s Bubbles” after Doris’s middle name — showcases her passion for champagne and other sparkling wines. Overall, the selection tries to balance big names that people know with varietals or wineries they might not have tried yet.
“We’ll carry all the big names. We also want people to try something new, something unusual,” Miller says. “It’s what we try to do at The Union Kitchen. Maybe you like Napa Cab but you’ve never tried the right or left bank from France. It depends on how creative a mood you’re in and how willing to experiment you are.”
Miller intends for pricing to be at or below other retail outlets. For example, he notes that Vine is charging less for Caymus than a nearby location of a popular retailer. In addition, those who purchase a bottle from the retail section may consume it on site without paying an additional corkage fee. People who bring bottles from their personal collection to consume onsite will pay a corkage fee.
The couple also worked with master sommelier Guy Stout to ensure they covered a wide range of styles and regions. Of course, his Stout Family Wines will be available, as they are at both The Union Kitchen and Passerella, the couple’s Italian restaurant.
“He’s been a great resource and a good person to bounce ideas off of,” Miller says about Stout. “I met him two or three years ago. I let him know this was something I was thinking about. Anytime I see him, we always talk about it. Flash forward two years. Here we are are.”
“I am very excited for Paul and his team,” Stout said in statement. “Our family has enjoyed his restaurants for years. They are wonderful people, and I am happy to see him bringing back a great wine bar and bottle shop to this part of town.”
James Lundy, corporate chef for The Union Kitchen’s parent company Gr8 Plate Hospitality, has created a menu of flatbreads, panini, salads, and charcuterie boards that pair well with wine. Lunch specials will include soup and sandwich combinations. Since the space lacks a vent hood, Miller purchased a convection oven that he refers to as the “F-150” to heat and serve items quickly.
Doris Miller took the lead on the space’s design. It includes a private room called “The Oil Man’s Lounge” that seats up to 24 people and has audio-visual capabilities. A 60-seat patio will open in time for spring weather.
Vine Memorial will be open daily from 11 am until 10 pm.