Wine shouldn’t just be for special occasions, says the group behind a new wine bar opening in NuLu. After all, in France, “wine is every day,” as one owner noted.
“It is woven into the fabric of that society, and it’s something that’s really missing in America,” said Scott Justice, an attorney who is opening the wine bar with his wife, Lauren, and their friend Aaron Dawkins. “It deserves a larger place at the table” in Louisville.
The wine bar called Nouvelle (French for new) is expected to open in mid-November at 214 S. Clay St.; its hours of operation will be noon to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon to midnight on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The bar will sell more than 40 wines by the glass and 200 to 300 wines by the bottle. Customers can either enjoy a bottle at Nouvelle or take it home.
Prices will range from $6 to $30 for a six-ounce pour. More than 25 percent of Nouvelle’s wine offerings will be $10 or less. Customers also will be able to choose from a three-ounce, six-ounce or nine-ounce pour, with prices for those varying.
Employees will go through an extensive training before Nouvelle opens and also will have the chance to sit for the first course of the Court of Master Sommeliers exam, which features four levels of certification.
“We need our employees to be the experts,” said Dawkins, and make recommendations to customers who may know very little or quite a bit about wines. Dawkins says he is a certified sommelier.
In addition to wine, a selection of beers, ciders, classic cocktails, bourbons and scotches also will make the menu to appease those who may not want vino. Additionally, customers can order small bites such as cheese and charcuterie, hummus and bread, and desserts.
The trio is working with chef Sunshine Flagg to create a limited food menu. They hope in the future to partner with local restaurants, particularly its NuLu neighbors, to offer more options.
Nouvelle will seat roughly 40 people inside and 30 on the outdoor patio and garden area. The building has two rare gems in the urban core, a green and shady garden and a parking lot. The property has eight parking spaces.
“We are just off Market, so we’re right in the heart of NuLu, but just that half block removed from the strip really creates this really nice sense of it being a little bit private and a little bit hidden and like a secret you want to share with your friends,” said Lauren Justice, who described Nouvelle as having a casual atmosphere.
The Justices said their desire to open a wine bar came after they visited France together for the first time. They visited the country on their honeymoon in 2015 and again last year for their one-year anniversary.
“We just love the European wine culture,” Lauren Justice said.
Both she and Dawkins used to work together at the restaurant Harvest in NuLu, and when the trio decided to open the wine bar, they wanted to be part of the “exploding” and “vibrant” neighborhood, she said.
Dawkins added that it didn’t take much prodding to get him on board with the idea, and he credited Louisville with getting him into the food and beverage industry.
“I consider myself very lucky to live in this town that values food and beverage the way that it does. I wouldn’t be in this career if it wasn’t for this town,” he said.
This story has been updated.