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Waynesville wine lovers’ best-kept secret

By Paul Viau | May 25, 2016
Photo by: Carol Viau THE SECRET IS OUT — Bosu's Wine Shop and Perfectly Seasoned Catering have joined forces to create a great venue for wine dinners in downtown Waynesville. Pictured in The Secret Wine Company kitchen are, from left, chef Jackie Blevins, Frank Blevins and Maleah Pusz.

I like to think that I keep on top of all things brewed, fermented and distilled — both in Haywood and Buncombe counties. That’s a tall order, indeed, but it’s the least I can do to reward faithful readers who have come along for this ride for seven years now.

In celebration of this milestone, I want to share a little secret — one of the best-kept secrets about fine wine and gourmet food in Haywood County.

The community has been pretty ‘hush-hush’ about this little secret for months, but with the owners’ permission, I am now going to (as they say) ‘spill the beans.’

(Which is way better than spilling the wine.)

Here‘s the big news — Starting Memorial Day weekend, downtown Waynesville will have another wonderful gathering place for celebration of fine food and beverage, aptly named The Secret Wine Company.

This collaboration is the brainchild of Bosu’s Wine Shop owners, Maleah Pusz and Tony Gaddis; and renowned local caterers Jackie and Frank Blevins, and is located in the space adjacent to Bosu’s Wine Shop, at 138 Miller St. in Waynesville.

My wife, Carol, and I were treated to a sneak preview of this great pairing of The Secret Wine Company last week at an event called, “The Perfectly Seasoned BYOB Dinner.”

As guests mixed and mingled before dinner, I quietly sipped a glass of Chardonnay and scrawled these words on a napkin: “This warm, inviting space celebrates life — marrying Bosu’s fine selection of wine with the ‘Perfectly Seasoned’ culinary artistry of Jackie Blevins catering.”

In simpler terms, The Secret Wine Company does wonderfully what all F&B establishments strive to do — to wine and dine their guests in a relaxing, comfortable environment.

The Secret Wine Company (TSWC) is actually next-door to Bosu’s Wine Shop — accessible from the wine shop by way of a newly crafted, sliding reclaimed wood barn door. To me that door symbolizes the attention to detail TSWC used to reclaim this space from other business that went before.

It is now a simple bar with restaurant tables and chairs and the rest of the room open for folks to sip wine, mix and mingle. A hallway leads towards the back to a more intimate room called ‘The Library,’ with several table set-ups, immediately across from the kitchen where food is lovingly prepared by Chef Jackie Blevins and helper/sous chef/husband, Frank Blevins.

The Blevins moved the Perfectly Seasoned commercial kitchen from their home to TSWC, and in this ‘soft opening’ BYOB event I can attest that all is working perfectly. We were treated to Bruschetta with Roasted Garlic Scape served with Antipasto Salad; followed by a salad of Ten Acre Farms Spring Greens with Feta, Berries and Strawberry-Rhubarb Vinaigrette; Crusty Bread with Dipping Oil; choice of Herb and Permasan Stuffed Pork Loin Chops on Spring Vegetable Rissoto or Slow-Cooked Salmon on French Lentils with Leeks, Fresh Garlic and Carrots and Lemon Vinaigrette; concluding with a choice of Tiramisu or Strawberry-Lemon Curd Shortcake.

Between courses, ever hospitable Frank Blevins charmed guests with jokes and stories.

You might recall that the Blevins owned and operated the popular downtown Waynesville B&B, Herren House.

“The rooms were nice, but the dinners were always the big draw,” said Frank. “And the the word on main street during those years was — if you want some really good muffins, come to Herren House.”

As for Bosu’s, Maleah Pusz and partner Tony Gaddis purchased the 23-year-old wine shop in 2014. Maleah Pusz has been a wine importer, distributor, restaurateur, bookkeeper and nanny.

Her goal in partnering with the Blevins is, “To see that there is always something to do in the evening in Waynesville.”

“The Secret Wine Company dinners are always no-rush with European service, and we always treat you like family,” said Pusz. “And don’t forget, you are here to have fun.”

After every dinner, we always ask ourselves, “How can we do it better?” Frank Blevins said.

“Our dinners are by reservation only, so we can ensure quality food without waste,” added chef Jackie.

To get a preview of The Secret Wine Company, come to the free wine tasting, 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 28.

While there is a wait list for the Grand Opening Dinners Memorial weekend, as of this writing, upcoming TSWC events including BYOB dinners June 9 and 23, and three-course Spanish wine dinners June 30 and July 5 still have space available. There will also be a French wine dinner celebrating Bastille Day on July 28.

Also, The Secret Wine Company is taking reservations for special events and already has some Christmas bookings. (I guess the secret is already out.) The space is perfect for cocktail receptions for up to 50 and sit down dinners for up to 32.

The Secret Wine Company also plans to have the wine bar open Fridays and Saturdays by mid-July.

“It’s the best kept secret in Haywood County,” Pusz said.

For other news and information about The Secret Wine Company, visit www.waynesvillewine.com, or call Bosu’s Wine Shop at 828-452-0120.