Time to Unwine

Enjoying Fine Wines at Corkscrew

Text by Andrew Baumgartner

Photos by Dan Corcoran.

With Fort Mill’s burgeoning growth bringing a greater variety of choices for a night out, there are some places that stand out more than others. Corkscrew Wine Bar & Shop in Kingsley Village Town Center is a mere stone’s throw from Baxter Village. While founded by a group firmly grounded in the world of wine, Corkscrew at Kingsley flaunts a menu of curated cocktails, rarely-found beers, and delectable small plates in addition to their award-winning wine list.

Photo by Dan Corcoran.

Award-winning is right. Recently bestowed a prestigious honor from Wine Spectator, Corkscrew’s General Manager and certified sommelier, Michael Corcoran, has spent many months developing their array of wines.

“The award is something I’ve personally aspired to since taking the job here,” said Corcoran when asked about the recent accolade. “The primary hurdle was creating a wine list with the breadth that could stand up to the sort of lists one might encounter in Charleston, Atlanta, or Charlotte.”

The effort has paid off, earning them Wine Spectator’s 2023 Award of Excellence for their wine list. That’s no mean feat. They are the only ones in Fort Mill with this distinction and a classified strength in multiple wine production areas. Many recipients only have a single wine strength; California wines, for example. Less than a dozen restaurants in Charlotte can say the same as Corkscrew, and fewer than 20 even have a similar Wine Spectator award. Impressive.

That is why you might not recognize many of Corkscrew’s wines. There are some classic, familiar names, but many are from smaller, lesser-known vineyards. “I have a strong bias… for small, family-operated wineries,” Corcoran said. “I love wines that eschew cellar manipulation and let the grapes speak for themselves.” So, you’re not going to find something you can pick up at the grocery store, but that’s a good thing, and an opportunity to try something different.

Daunted? Not to fear. Even if you don’t know the difference between Chardonnay and Chablis, (trick question - they’re the same thing) just talk to a staff member. Alternatively, ask for their digital wine list which details the bottles available, plus the wine’s origins, description, price, and oftentimes a score from a regarded wine reviewer.

Corkscrew’s by-the-glass wine list is no slouch, either, boasting dozens of wines from across the globe. Italian Pinot Grigio? Got it. Californian Cabernet? Certainly. French Rosé? Calling your name. Sparkling wine from Slovenia? You’ll find it here, too. They have so many options by the glass or bottle there’s something for every wine drinker.

Wine may be where Corkscrew started—their original location in the Lake Norman area was a household name for nearly two decades—but their Kingsley location pushed the envelope and expanded into liquor.

Like their wine list, their liquor selection is carefully cultivated and exceedingly special. Chances are you can find an exceptional bourbon or special tequila that most retail stores cannot keep in stock due to demand or rarity.

Photos by Dan Corcoran.

What stands out most about Corkscrew is the sheer variety of their selection. Bar Manager Aaron Tran plans and tests tirelessly to come up with new, innovative craft cocktails, so you don’t have to drive into Charlotte to find the best the area has to offer.

From staples like their fresh-brewed Nespresso Martini to innovative seasonal cocktails, the cocktail list is a winner when imbibing in something other than wine. Even their non-alcoholic concoctions are a cut above. Made with Seedlip, an alcohol-free spirit that retains the elegant botanicals of liquor without the inebriating effects, these are no mere juice and club soda quick mixes, but as artfully created as anything with alcohol.

Photo by Dan Corcoran.

Not to be outdone, Corkscrew takes their food just as seriously. Their cheese and charcuterie boards exhibit some of the finest cheeses and meats, both from Carolina producers and cheese makers worldwide. Like the wines, you might never have heard of the proffered choices, but they are just as sumptuous and rewarding.

With varied dips, gourmet flatbreads, and even new offerings like the Black Truffle Burrata plate, they have precise pairings for their wines, beers, and cocktails. Desserts include perfectly bite-sized specialty chocolate truffles for a delightful sweet treat.

Photos by Dan Corcoran.

Everything is enjoyed in a space that exudes relaxation. From the start, Corkscrew’s founders aimed to serve not only quality drinks but atmosphere as well. Their motto is an amusing play on words: ‘Relax, Uncork, Unwine’ which succinctly explains their philosophy. 

Relaxed enjoyment is as much a part of their identity as the fine products they serve, which has clearly carried over to Kingsley. It is quality without pretension, and that speaks volumes. You can find visitors conducting business right alongside a girls’ night out group. Corkscrew simply suits people of all kinds.

That’s why, when you’ll find me out in Fort Mill, you’ll find me at Corkscrew.

Try it for yourself.  Corkscrew Wine Bar & Shop is located in Kingsley Village Town Center at 1365 Broadcloth Street, Suite 102 in Fort Mill. To inquire about private parties or catering call 803.547.0202 or online at corkscrewwinepub.com/kingsley.



Andrew Baumgartner is a freelance writer, Corkscrew member, and amateur enthusiast of wine.