An industry insider wants to bring his knowledge and access to wines from around the world to a new wine bar in northwest Fresno.
Chris Turner will have a soft opening for Winebar Bistro midweek at the northwest corner of Herndon and Marks avenues. He thinks Wednesday or Thursday. A grand opening is planned for mid-October.
“It’s just basically a wine lounge where you can sit and have a glass of wine or grab a bottle off the shelf and open it up, sit there and enjoy it,” Turner said.
As of right now, Turner has between 500 and 600 labels he’ll be stocking at the bar this weekend ahead of the opening. While there will be cabernets and chardonnays most people can recognize, Turner wants to provide wines people haven’t had before. He said there will be wines from every growing region of the world. He wants to provide wines people aren’t accustomed to having.
His background as a wine distributor opened the door to a lot of wineries.
They will also serve charcuterie plates and tapas.
“We try to lean more toward the owner-operator wineries rather than the commercial, manufactured style. We like to be able to talk about the winery and know who the owner and the winemaker are. And you know, the fact that they’re making hundreds and thousands of cases instead of hundreds of thousands of cases.”
Turner Wants to Create a ‘Friend’s Living Room’ Atmosphere
When Turner was 21 years old, he opened his first restaurant, South Sea Grotto at Ashlan and West avenues. The restaurant eventually closed but he stayed in the hospitality industry in one form or another.
He got the idea to open a wine bar when a couple friends complained about not having a place to drink a bottle of wine and relax.
At 1,000 square feet, Turner says the space isn’t that large, but with pub tables and a sofa pit, he described it as “like sitting in your friend’s living room.”
He has about four people working all who know wine and can talk about it.
“You can ask them questions, 90% of the time, they’ll know the answer,” Turner said. He wants to eventually do wine classes or tasting seminars.
Turner said what sets his bar apart will be a variety of “fully-matured” wines where he goes to private sellers to buy a particular bottle. That means he’ll have a ten-year-old bottle that may not be available at a retail store.
Winebar Bistro will be open seven days a week, Turner said, closing at 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sundays he will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Winebar Bistro is located at 7089 N. Marks Ave., #102.