The Grafted Wine Bar & Lounge is now open in a historic building in Belleville
There is a new wine bar in Belleville. Wine bar and grafted lounge, now open at 310 E. Washington St., offers a unique selection of wines not often found in the region and was born out of owner and sommelier Magda Gilpin’s desire to incorporate a more diverse wine list into the community.
“With small towns, when you don’t really have wine-focused places, every [wine] they have available is classic, but they don’t really venture into less common wines, ”said Gilpin. “When I came here for the first time, I noticed that the wines were lacking. [But] I could see a lot of people drinking wine. With so many people [I thought] there must be some interest, so let’s offer it.
According to Gilpin, Grafted currently offers 27 wines by the glass. Their wine list is also sorted by category, to help customers who may not be familiar with a particular bottle. “There are two types of people,” recalls Gilpin. “[Those] who know what they like, they don’t need to experiment. And we have those [types of wines] for the people. But if they [are the type that] want to experiment, we pour a taste so people can see if they like it.
Notable additions to the wine list include Assyrtiko, a dry white from Greece; Furmint, a dry white from Hungary; and Mencia, one of Gilpin’s favorites. “[I was happy to find] Mencia, which comes from a grape cultivated in northern Spain and produced by Raul Perez, an iconic Spanish winemaker, ”said Gilpin. “It might be my favorite right now.”
While Grafted is primarily a wine bar, there are also a few small plates available. “[We offer] cheese and meat boards, ”Gilpin said. “We have decent selections [for both], we therefore frequently change cheeses and meats so that regulars can have new flavors. Gilpin also offers some homemade creations with the charcuterie boards – onion jam, pickles, whatever she can find. “I buy produce from local farmers and make an appetizer for the day,” added Gilpin.
Belleville residents may know Grafted’s address. The historic site was built between the 1850s and 1870s, and Gilpin has had his fair share of work to bring the building up to standard. But its payoff is a beautiful interior space, with up to 50 seats available for guests inside and a patio seating up to 20 guests. There will be heaters available on the patio for the cooler months.
Gilpin designed the interior space of Grafted to have two themed rooms serving as additional seating away from the bar. The Old World Room is a Victorian-style living room with plush back chairs and bold wallpaper, giving it an air of royalty. Its counterpart is the New World Room, a mid-century influenced space that balances conservative Old World style by lighting up Grafted’s interior with pastel yellow walls and natural lighting.
“People tell me [that] depending on their mood, they’ll spend more time in the New World room, or they’ll try the Old World room, ”said Gilpin. “I had no intention of this happening, but it looks like the Old World Hall is attracting more red wine drinkers while [people] drink more white wine in the new world room.
There are plans to make more use of the building’s available space, but Gilpin doesn’t expect these features to debut this year. “We plan to open an Airbnb on the second floor in a few months, but a lot of things need to be fixed and changed,” Gilpin said.
Grafted is open Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to midnight, and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.