After years of preparation, the needle is set to drop on a new winery on the Southside.
Gramophone, which sells its own brand of wines sourced from vineyards in the U.S. and abroad, is preparing to open at 4827 Forest Hill Ave. in the coming weeks.
Behind the venture are longtime friends Arthur Grant, Justin Laughter and Chris Mayo, who’ve been working on Gramophone since early 2021.
Laughter is a business attorney at Threshold Counsel with plenty of local creatives as clients, including iconic heavy metal outfit GWAR. Grant has had a career in the wine industry, with a certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and has worked at local restaurants like Lemaire and Acacia Midtown. Mayo works in the tech industry.
The trio once played music together in middle- and high-school bands, and have used music to stay close over the years, Grant said.
They’re combining those musical ties and wine into the new venture, which has taken shape in a storefront once planned for a rage room and owned by Grant’s family. Gramophone was built to include a lounge and has plans to add a small stage, something Grant said would be ideal for hosting singer-songwriters.
“We were looking at ways to utilize the space and thought a winery would go great here and in the neighborhood,” Grant said. “So we thought why not have a combination – have some live performances and also wine.”
On the product side, Grant said Gramophone is sourcing its wines from vineyards in California, France and Argentina. Gramophone’s wine list includes a malbec, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, as well as wine cocktails like sangria, a white wine spritzer and frosé.
He said they’ve priced the majority of glasses at Gramophone at less than $10 with the idea that it becomes a neighborhood spot.
“It took a long time to cultivate the small list (of wines) we have. We only want to provide that which we think is a good value,” he said.
For food, Grant said Gramophone will offer small dishes like olives, charcuterie and cold sandwiches, and that they’re planning to keep a rotation of food trucks at the winery, all in an effort to create a casual atmosphere.
“There’s so much pretense surrounding wine, unfortunately, that doesn’t need to be there,” he said. “I’m happy to wax poetic with people who want to talk about their trip to Burgundy or Napa…but my focus is bringing wine to the people.”