Table Wine owner Josh Spurling first developed an appreciation for wines at family gatherings in his home state of Missouri. And not far from Hannibal, where he grew up, was the town of Hermann where wineries were located.
“I’ve been in wine since 1999,” he says. “It’s fascinating to me.”
After graduating from the University of Missouri, Spurling headed to Snowmass, Colorado, where he began working in a wine shop—the official start of his career in the wine business.
Spurling also met his wife in Colorado, and the couple later moved to Springfield, Virginia, where he worked for a wine distributor based in Northern Virginia.
In 2003, he and his wife moved to Asheville where Spurling found employment at a local wine market. While there, he began thinking of owning a business.
“I had always wanted to open a wine store,” Spurling said.
His desire became a reality when Spurling opened Table Wine on Hendersonville Road in 2010.
In developing a business plan for his wine store, Spurling sought a focus, a theme, which he evolved into a concept of “wines for the people” that were produced by small growers and wineries.
“One of the other things that make our work unique is that we focus specifically on what we like to call “farmer” wines,” he says. “Put simply, almost all of our wines come from producers who farm their own grapes, or from those who purchase grapes from small, family grape farmers … In a sense, we offer a “farmer’s wine market.”
No big brand names are found at Table Wine, Spurling points out. People who come to Table Wine are adventurers, he notes.
“We’re focused on wines that have a little bit of a story,” he said. “We’re looking for the ‘rising stars.’”
However, with an average price in the $10 to $15 range, many of the wine selections at Table Wine are affordable, he said.
“We’re a very interactive wine shop,” Spurling adds. “We know 90 percent of our customers by first name.”
Some people may feel intimidated when they first come into Table Wine, he says. But Spaulding and the staff at his shop are “wine geeks,” rather than snobs—and are happy to assist them with selections, he said.
To choose wines for his store, Spurling has traveled extensively from vineyards and wineries in California to those in France and other European countries.
“The main way I find wines is through my own research and tastings,” he said. “For me, it starts with the producer … I’ve been boots on the ground.”
“I have so much respect for small growers,” Spurling said. “The processing of the wine is equally important to us.”
Offering selections of organically grown wines is one part of the equation at Table Wine, he notes. While some of the wines found at are not officially classified as organic, many are produced using sustainable farming practices, he says.
Many producers have been farming their vineyards using sustainable practices for many years, Spurling remarks.
“To them, organics is a necessity, a philosophy and a way of life, not a grand marketing scheme … Sustainability is the bottom line,” he said.
The 800 selections of wines at Spurling’s store are almost equally divided between New and Old World European varieties, he notes. And deliveries of wines arrive almost every day.
Table Wine offers tastings on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as other events during the month. The store is located at 1550 Hendersonville Road in South Asheville.
By Sandra Barnes