By Jeff James
The dream of opening a wine bar became my dream about eight years ago. Although, it started at the age of fifteen when I got my first job as a busboy in the restaurant industry. While working in restaurants through college, I found myself an Assistant General Manager of a restaurant serving seventy-five wines by the glass. As my passion for wine grew, I took a job working for an alcohol distributor where I took the course and received my sommelier’s certificate. With the birth of my two daughters, I became a stay at home dad by day, and I got back in the restaurant business working nights as a server and sommelier at a local steakhouse. I didn’t realize that through it all, GOD was providing me with the tools for my dream.
My opportunity came about when my co-worker, the son of a popular local restaurateur, made the connection that his mom wanted to open a wine bar in Mandeville. Vicky Bayley, who has owned, operated and consulted many successful restaurants, was ready to come home. Through the course of her life, she was also being prepared by God to come together with me to open a wine bar. We went to lunch to talk about our plans and nine months later, we opened St. Ann Wine Bar. With the help of Vicky, my dream had come into exsistance. St. Ann Wine Bar opened on Nov.30, 2018. I can recall on opening night, standing in the couch area staring across the room in awe that my journey of thirty-three years has led me to the fulfillment of a dream. And that dream was guided by God.
We created a comfortable environment where people can come together to share light bites, enjoy a glass of wine, and make memories. It also is a place to educate people about wine and its purpose. Offering fifty wines by the glass and half glasses will allow people try a variety of wines. We will also be offering seminars and educational avenues to learn the life cycle of wine which fits in with the decor concept of farm to table. We have a bar area with banquets, couch areas, the porch, tables and chairs and a banquet room. Our banquet room is named “The Harvest Room” referring to a coming together to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Everyone has a purpose and a dream. All of the things that happen in your life are preparing you for that purpose and dream. What I have learned is to believe in your dream, never let life get you down, and have faith in God and His timing. A toast to you and your Dream, Cheers.