Wine may be the most intimidating adult beverage. Ordering a glass or a bottle requires a dizzying array of choices—red, white, or rose; still or sparkling; organic, naturally produced, or conventional wine from more than a dozen countries and representing innumerable styles.

Wine bars provide a solution, with a large selection of wines by the glass and a staff eager to mentor. Most offer flights—samples of three or four wines following a theme or showcasing a single producer.

Food menus generally follow the concept of tapas, wine-friendly snacks and small plates like those popularized by wine bars in Spain. Elsewhere the fare ranges from fancy to stripped-down.

This guide pops the cork on popular wine bars from around the state.    


Golden Age Wine (Birmingham)

Naturally-produced and sustainable are the watchwords here. The retail side carries an extensive selection of bottles from grapes grown organically and fermented using naturally occurring yeast. Golden Age also promotes wines made by women. Food includes hand-sliced artisanal charcuterie, burrata cheese, almonds, and warm Castelvetrano olives.


The Wine Market (Tuscaloosa)

Opened by the owner of Central Mesa (which is next door), Avenue Pub, and Cravings in T-Town, The Wine Market sells affordable wines by the glass or bottle to drink there in a comfortable and airy setting, and stocks more labels for bottle service or to go. A modest menu features charcuterie boards, baked brie or feta cheeses, and baked almonds.



Aviné (Birmingham)

Buy a bottle at Aviné’s well-stocked retail section to go or drink onsite for a corkage fee. The bar, with 18-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, offers more than two-dozen wines, plus cocktails and beer. At night, Aviné opens Magnums of exclusive wines, and pours reasonably-priced glasses. The menu nods to Spain, France, and Italy with tartines, small plates, and make-your-own charcuterie boards.


Flight Plan Wine and Tapas (Huntsville)

Flight Plan specializes in wine flights. Sample the wines by the glass (six-ounce and nine-ounce pours), or buy a bottle retail and enjoy it there for a corkage fee. Tapas menu includes cheese plates, snacks, naan pizza, salads, and small plates like empanadas, pan-seared scallops, and beef and pork stuffed meatballs. Food is served for lunch and dinner.



Taste (Montgomery)

Taste and its sister location, Taste Too, bill themselves as casual havens for good times and live music. Multiple red and white wine-flight options are available under catchy names such as “Bubble Bliss” and “Badass Blends.” Tapas-style food included Spanish-style meatballs, grilled steak sliders, stuffed mushrooms, and baked brie. The menu also includes salads, small plates including short rib pasta alfredo, seafood, and entrees.


Carriage Wine and Market (Florence & Sheffield)

It’s a one-stop shop for wine, craft beer, gourmet groceries, and cut flowers. The wine bar pours mostly five-ounce and nine-ounce glasses; retail bottles can be opened for a corkage fee. Wine flights change weekly. They also serve wine-based aperitifs like Amaro, and wine cocktails including Mimosas. The menus at each location are built around cheese and charcuterie with french macarons as a dessert option.