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Capitol Hill is getting uncorked.
On Tuesday, the owners of DCanter arranged rows of sparkling wines closest to the door for the soft opening of their new wine and beer store on Barracks Row. It was one of the hottest days yet of Washington’s summer and the sparklings, rosés and crisp whites were on bold display — as were the cans of DC Brau in the back.
When designing her new business, Michelle Lim Warner wanted it to be far removed from the stereotypical dark, mahogany-lined wine cellar.
Bright, crisp and boutique-like, DCanter hopes to invite those timid oenophiles scared by dark rooms with rows and rows of indistinguishable bottles. Signs atop the shelves show which wines are bolder or lighter in style; books and wine and beer gizmos line tables and shelves throughout. Classes, tastings and other events will round out the store’s focus on education and love of artisanal wine and craft beer.
She and her husband, Michael Warner, a certified wine specialist, will fully open the store at 545 Eighth St. SE on July 23. DCanter is a part of the recent boom in all things wine on Capitol Hill: Art and Soul and CityZen were among the seven D.C. restaurants named in Wine Enthusiast magazine’s top 100 wine restaurants in the country. Chat’s Liquor regularly hosts wine tastings, including a Champagne event during a Barracks Row culinary festival. A creamery and wine bar, Sona, announced plans to open in late fall on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The fervor has even extended to the Capitol itself, with the ever-popular Wine Caucus planning an East Coast-themed event for September. As with fine dining, wine is becoming more accessible — this has resonated with the residents of Capitol Hill, many of whom were already wine lovers. People want to know about the wine-making process, want to sample everything and are less intimidated by fine vintages.Drink the World
DCanter will offer some 300 artisanal wines (think small production, low-yield) and 60-80 craft beers. It will be open Sundays, taking advantage of new D.C. liquor laws that will help put the District’s old blue laws to bed. The Warners hope to offer classes a few times a month and weekly tastings. Most tastings will be free — after all, most participants walk away from a tasting with a bottle in hand — and classes will cost $35-$70. The sessions will be taught by the Warners, by their producers and by beer and wine specialists from throughout the country, even via video conference, Michelle Lim Warner said.