Corks & Barrels brings the first wine and whiskey bar to Clay County


FLEMING ISLAND | Corks & Barrels, considered the first of its kind in Clay County, is preparing to open on Fleming Island.

James Henson, who is about to retire after serving 27 years in the United States Navy, owns the tasting-style wine and whiskey bar and lounges at 1824 Town Center Blvd, Suite 101 near East West Parkway.

“Hopefully we will open late next month [October] or early November. It’s a very fluid date. It’s been very difficult to find subcontractors and supplies and things of that nature,” Henson, an aircraft maintenance manager, told The Times-Union last week.

“When I considered opening this one, I knew it would be very popular here because there is no other establishment like ours. We are very unique in our approach,” he said. declared.

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The business, Henson said, is one he has considered starting for some time as his military career comes to an end.

“As I got older, my palate got a little more refined,” Henson said. “I’ve always loved good wine and I’ve always loved good whiskey, but I never really thought that was a possible business venture.”

Owner James Henson is in the final stages of opening Corks & Barrels, a one-of-a-kind wine and whiskey bar on Fleming Island.  The establishment, which looks like a tasting room, will offer a wide selection of wines and whisky.

That changed a few years ago when he was on deployment and friends took him to a small wine bar that was “absolutely packed” with customers.

Henson began to think about the possibility of opening a similar establishment. He recalled that one of the biggest complaints he had heard from friends on Fleming Island was that there was no place where their wives could meet for a glass of wine , except for a full-service restaurant or one of their homes.

“I thought so [wine bar] looked like a great concept and thought it would go well on Fleming Island. So when I got home I started planning to open one here,” said Henson, who has lived on Fleming Island since 2011.

As his taste for fine whiskey grew, the idea of ​​also offering a selection of whiskeys paired with wine in a bar filled with comfortable furniture and an inviting casual atmosphere grew.

“People love good wine. Obviously if a wife wanted to come, she could bring her husband and he could enjoy a nice glass of whiskey while his wife enjoyed a nice glass of wine,” Henson said.

The bar will offer a wide range of drinks

Corks & Barrels will have a “substantial stock” of whiskeys and wines for customers to choose from at the bar.

There will be a wide range of wines such as whites, reds and zinfandels.

“On the whiskey side, single malts, single barrels. We’ll have a nice wide range of ryes as well as wheat bourbons,” Henson said.

Corks & Barrels, a wine and whiskey bar that looks like a tasting room, will open in a few weeks on Fleming Island.  The facility is believed to be the first of its kind in Clay County.

The wine and whiskey bar has been licensed as a bar and package store so patrons can have a drink there or buy a bottle and take it home.

He intends to feature a different region for wine and whiskey each month. There will be tastings, pairings and charcuterie boards for wines and whiskeys.

In addition to charcuterie boards, there will be dessert platters. It will be light tapas because it’s not a full restaurant, Henson said.

“Eventually we’re hoping to have weekend brunches. We’re trying to see what we can do like mini-brunch platters with sweet waffles and pancakes and things of that nature. Bites,” Henson said. .

A bottle of wine and a glass sit at the soon-to-open Corks & Barrels bar — a tasting room-style wine and whiskey bar — on Fleming Island.  It is believed to be the first such facility in Clay County.

The facility will seat approximately 50 in a pod-like seating plan of comfortable sofas and armchairs.

They use jewel tones like deep red for colors, blues, greens and yellows. All are very brightly colored. At night, when they dim the lights, the atmosphere will be like in a wine cellar.

“There aren’t many tables. It’s literally a very close and personal environment where you sit with your friends and enjoy a nice glass of wine or a bottle of wine or a whiskey,” Henson said.

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