Sip and Savor: 14 Top Wine Bars in Raleigh (and nearby)

Hey there, wine lovers! If you’re seeking the perfect spot in Raleigh to indulge in your passion for the nectar of the gods, you’re in for a treat.

Man and woman sitting on brown leather couch drinking wine.
Vita Vite Wine Bar, North Hills

Raleigh’s wine scene has blossomed over the years, and I’m thrilled to share my favorite wine bars in Raleigh with you. And it’s not just bars I’ve included, but retail stores that also offer a small bar area for wine tasting in Raleigh amongst the bottles or in cozy wine gardens.

And, as always on This Is Raleigh, we don’t just focus exclusively within the Raleigh borders but branch out a little to include some wine bar finds throughout the Triangle area because why limit yourself by the walls of a box? Vibrancy lives just a short drive outside the borders too!

Man and woman sitting at a bar drinking wine.
RBF Champagne Bar, Cary

We have personally visited almost all the wine bars in this post. Some I’ve included at the bottom that are on my list and come highly recommended. Please share in the comments at the bottom any of your recommended wine bars worth checking out that we’ve missed.

What I love most about the wine bar scene in Raleigh is they are all focused on good quality wines from smaller farms AND international that are big on flavor, but low on chemicals, additives, and all that stuff that gives you foggy morning wine hangovers – even after one glass!

Each of these gems below has its own unique charm and selection to offer, making them a must-visit for any oenophile. Alright, we’ve previously shared our favorite cocktail bars, the top sports bars, and the popular breweries, now it’s time to uncork the goodness of wine!

Wine Bars in Raleigh (and nearby)

1. Vita Vite Wine Bar (downtown Raleigh)

A woman sitting on a couch in front of a fire drinking wine.
Cozy comfort at Vita Vite, downtown Raleigh

Nestled in the heart of downtown Raleigh and the Warehouse District, Vita Vite Wine Bar & Bistro oozes European elegance and charm.

The dimly lit ambiance, adorned with vintage rustic décor, creates a warm and intimate atmosphere. You can sit on comfortable oversized sofas by the crackling fire or on the outside patio while enjoying a glass from predominantly small, family-run wineries around the world. 

It’s one of our favorite wine bars in Raleigh, especially on a date night, or while enjoying looking at art on First Friday in downtown.

Lady looking at artwork hanging on a wall.
Checking out art on display!

Vita Vite is Italian words for “life” and “vine” so you can expect that kind of atmosphere conducive to the enjoyment of the simple things: good wine, good food, and good conversations.

Founder, Lindsay Rice, has created a unique and classy wine list with outstanding selections from France, Argentina, Italy, and the Pacific Northwest. I LOVE how it’s a menu that celebrates the grape nectar outside of California!

It’s not just wine and artisanal cheese plates to enjoy here, but stunning art on display on the walls and gallery rooms showcasing southern artists. You might walk home with more than a bottle of wine and a good time.

Two women sitting on a brown leather couch in a wine bar.
Comfy leather couches

Every time we visit Vita Vite, I comment to Craig how pleased I am at their affordable prices for a glass of high-quality wine. There’s nothing worse than getting a lower shelf glass of wine at a top shelf rate.

2. Vita Vite Wine Bar (North Hills)

Man and woman sitting at a high-top table drinking wine.
Vita Vite, North Hills

“Hang on? Are you repeating yourself?” I hear you ask. No, as one of the best wine bars in Raleigh it needs its second North Hills location to have its separate section at number two on this list.

While the mission, vision and quality of wine (but different offerings) and service remains the same as its downtown Raleigh location, their second location in Midtown Raleigh has a slightly different atmosphere.

Lady sitting on a brown leather couch drinking wine with olives and chesses on the table.
Great wine and small plates

It’s more chic, modern, and open, with its standout features being their top deck and outside seating area on the lower deck. They also have a lovely upstairs bar and event space. Of course, art adorns the gallery walls as well.

We love the views from here, especially if there is one of the many North Hills events happening in the common square. It’s just a lovely place to sit, people watch, and drink great wine paired with Pimento Cheese and olives.

3. RBF, Your Authentic Champagne Bar (Cary)

Two men and two women sitting at a table drinking champagne.
Putting on our RBF faces (Resting B*tch Face)

If you’re looking for a touch of effervescence elegance in your wine bar, head straight to the RBF Champagne Bar in Cary. It only opened at the beginning of 2023 and is already building up a dedicated fan base of women showing up as their authentic selves.

While its focus is on Champagne and sparkling wine from around the world, you’ll find PLENTY of red, white, and rose wine offerings to suit your taste – you can even have wine cocktails. Choices here are heavy on the international – can I hear a hallelujah?

Lady pouring a glass of wine in a bar for a customer.
Owner Tiffany Welton pouring me a glass!

Thanks to owner Tiffany Welton (a friend of ours), I was delighted to discover Brut Nature, a zero-sugar bubbly to wipe away all guilt from pleasure.

Apart from a fine sip and a chic and contemporary atmosphere that makes you want to melt into couch conversations with your besties, what you’ll love most about this champagne and wine bar in Wake County is that its mission is centered around empowering women.

You will never be criticized as to how your face looks in this establishment, nor told to smile because “you look so much prettier when you do”. Your best RBF (Resting B*tch Face) is not only welcome but encouraged.

People sitting on green couches in a wine bar.
Love the interior decor!

Take one look around the walls to see friends and acquaintances of the owners brighten up the space with their RBFs. Don’t forget to snap your own! And permission granted to linger a little longer in the bathrooms to read the inspiring and motivating She Hero quotes.

Another reason this place makes my Aussie heart sing – Tiffany pays her staff a living wage. No tips needed!

Oh, and if you like poking fun at your ex-boyfriends, you’ll love the names Tiffany has created for her yummy charcuterie boards in honor of the ones who did not make it through to see the worthy realization of the RBF.

Lady sitting at a bar drinking a cocktail.
Enjoying a wine cocktails.

RBF also has live music, fun events and parties, and Phoebe – everyone’s best friend – may just join you on the couch for a chin wag!

This is the wine bar in the Triangle area you’ll want to visit with your girlfriends and men friends who just get it.

Toilet inside a restroom with photos on the wall.
Even the restrooms are interesting!

We had good friends from Australia visiting recently and where do you think was at the top of the list for us to take them and show off our lovely home town? You can’t get more unique and on point for friendship fun than RBF. Watch our video.

4. Killer Queen Wine Bar (Durham)

People sitting at a bar drinking wine with white couches in the foreground.
Stylish bar in Durham

Another Triangle area wine bar to love with a mission of lifting up and celebrating women is the Killer Queen Wine Bar in downtown Durham.

Killer Queen describes itself as the child of a disco ball and a bottle of wine! Quirky, fun, and full of sparkle, or velvet smooth if that’s more your style.

What sets this bar apart is its fusion of vintage elegance and modern sophistication, creating an atmosphere that effortlessly transports you to a bygone era.

Lady sitting in a red chair drinking a glass of wine.
Vibrant decor.

The dimly lit ambiance, adorned with antique decor and an eclectic soundtrack, promises an unforgettable experience – day or night.

It has 50 curated wines from around the world by glass in shades of rose, orange, white and red to suit any occasion or time of day. They also have small plates from olives to meatballs and charcuterie boards.

Glass of wine on a table.
Interesting artwork

Take your time to enjoy the women’s empowerment photos and quotes on the wall, grab their tarot card deck to trade fortunes with your friends, and pop outside to sit in their cozy terrace and have your selfie with the angels’ wings mural on the wall.

Lady standing in front of a mural of angel wings.

Another wine bar to visit with your best friends to savor the unique ambiance, delightful wines, and, undoubtedly, the memories Killer Queen delivers.

Lady sitting on a white bench holding a glass of wine.
Cool outdoor patio

It’s totally worth the 30-minute drive out there from downtown Raleigh! Just combine it with a game at the Durham Bulls, a show at DPAC, or a lovely dinner downtown. Durham is quite the foodie town!

5. Barcelona Wine Bar (Warehouse District)

A wine bar with people sitting at the bar and lights hanging down.
Wine + tapas

It might be a chain, but there is still a lot to love about the Barcelona Wine Bar in downtown Raleigh. You know as lifelong global travelers we cannot resist a place that takes us on a quick vacation without needing to whip out the passport.

As the name suggests, this wine bar in the Warehouse District offers a rich earthy taste of Spain. It offers an array of Spanish wines and tapas that transport you to the streets of Barcelona. Their small plate menu is always evolving, and it’s all about those fresh, clean flavors, seasonal goodness, and tasty bites inspired by Spain and the Mediterranean.

Glass of wine on a bar.
Taste of Spain

You know what’s super cool? They’ve got an award-winning selection of wines from Spain and South America, plus one of the biggest Spanish wine collections in the whole U.S. It’s pretty darn impressive and a worthy addition to our top wine bars in Raleigh list.

The lively atmosphere, rustic décor, and communal dining tables make it a great place to gather with friends or make new ones. It reminds me of the up-tempo vibe in Las Ramblas tapas restaurant in North Hills.

Charcuterie board of cheeses, olives, meats, nuts, and potatoes.
Impressive charcutrie board

Don’t miss their authentic paella and be sure to explore their extensive selection of Spanish wines, including some rare and unique finds.

They have a lovely seating area outside, and we also love to sit at the bar – perfect stop before exploring the art galleries during First Friday, on a date night with someone new or old, or a night out on the town with friends.

6. Cloer Family Vineyards (Apex)

4 people sitting around a table drinking wine.
Love their outdoor patio

This is also another winery in the Triangle area worth exploring: Cloer Family Vineyards in Apex. It’s right near the American Tobacco Greenway Trail and White Oak Greenway Trail.

We recently visited for the first time with our Australian friends and discovered a true hidden gem in Wake County. The wine tasting room is in a red barn, which is surrounded by tables overlooking the landscaped gardens, ponds, and grapevines.

What’s so cool about Cloer is that they don’t just serve up great wine – they grow and harvest the grapes, then bottle and sell them. We were all surprised at how good their wines were. We had a tasting flight of all their wines from dry white to sweet red and purchased a bottle of both of the Verandah and Resiling to enjoy with their charcurterie board.

A lady walking in a vineyard drinking wine.
Pretty property

This Triangle Winery is opened on Fridays and Saturdays and have a lovely outdoor seating area. Family and pet friendly! Read more in our Cloer Family Vineyard in Apex post.

Another winery we love near Raleigh is Hinnant Winery in Pine Level Johnston County. It’s about a 40-minute drive, but well worth a visit. They have a beautiful wine garden and often have live music. Read more in our JoCo Date Day Out!

7. Wine Authorities, N Person St, (Raleigh)

Wine Authorities, Raleigh
Wine Authorities

Expect a wine tasting adventure at Wine Authorities in the North Person Street area (possibly our favorite street in Raleigh). No wine corporate labels in site here!

Wine Authorities curate wines from small-farm wines from around the world, ensuring that you get wines that are vibrant, fresh, complex, wholesome and full of life. The focus here is on quality wines, but that doesn’t mean it has to come at a high price. They have wines to suit all price points.

Grab a glass from their wine bar or Enomatic machine and sit at the bar or outside on the small patio to watch the Person St life go by. They also have a location in Durham.

You might want to join in on Weeds and Wine at the Raleigh City Farm next door on Wednesday evening – wine supplied by Wine authorities!

8. The Raleigh Wine Shop (East District of Raleigh)

Bottles of wine on a table.
Image by theraleighwineshop.com

Before wine bars were even a trendy thing in the City of Oaks, there was the Raleigh Wine Shop – a Glenwood Ave staple since 2011.

It’s since grown and expanded to a new location – with space for a wine patio – to the East District of the downtown Raleigh area, near Transfer Food Co.

This larger size means more room for classes, private events and co-working. And a bigger space for wine and a full wine bar for wine tasting and wine by the glass including wine cocktails.

The Raleigh Wine Shop curates a selection of wine from affordable price points to collectable wines. No matter the price, the wines are artisanal, global, made with integrity, tell stories of the land from where they come, with memorable flavor profiles.

9. Drink (Glenwood South, Raleigh)

Brick building with a mural of a peacock.
Image by drinkraleigh.com

How does being part of a Wine Society of Friends sound? That’s what you’ll discover at Drink on Glenwood South. This small wine shop has a focus on family-owned and small production wineries from around the world.

Expect wines to always be changing so gather your friends to taste and discuss. Like most wine bars and shops in Raleigh, you’ll find wines created with minimal interference.

Take home a bottle or sit down with a glass in their intimate space inside or outside. Drink will encourage you to enjoy it however you like, whether it’s with a friend or a good book.!

I love the peacock mural on the of the brick building. Check their websites for events and collaborations. It’s a hot spot for First Friday.

10. Chatham Street Wine Market (Cary)

Lad standing at the entrance to a wine shop.
Downtown Cary

Chatham Street Wine Market is a small, neighborhood wine shop with a focus on unique, small production wines from around the world with many of their selections from family-owned estates, organically grown, and priced from $10-$20. 

There is a small bar and seating area inside for tastings and to enjoy one of their wines by the glass. The knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to offer suggestions if you’re not sure what wine to get!

Man and lady sitting on tables and chairs drinking wine.
Nice outdoor seating area

We love the small shaded outside patio area with bright mural and swinging chair. And they have free wine tastings every Thursday 5-7pm.

11. Peak of the Vine (Apex)

People sitting at a bar drinking.
Downtown Apex

Peak of the Vine wine bar and lounge in downtown Apex offers a cozy environment indoors and is a unique combination of wine lounge and wine shop.

Here you can sample wines and enjoy tastings from around the world, plus participate in trivia, theme nights, open mic live music sessions and stand-up comedy. It’s a happening local Apex gathering spot.

I love how they have wines on draft here. It’s a great way to taste interesting wines at a more affordable price in a way that takes better care of the environment. It’s rare to find wine on tap in the Raleigh area.

Woman standing outside holding a glass of wine.
Back garden area

They also have a nice outdoor patio and grass area if you prefer fresh air and sunlight. Often a food truck is on hand too. With a convenient location in historic downtown Apex, it’s a nice spot to meet friends for a wine.

12. Chatham Hill Winery (Cary)

4 glasses of wine on a table.
Image by chathamhillinc.com

You’re hearing a lot about Raleigh wine bars, but what about wineries? Can you believe we have Chatham Hill Winery in Cary, the first winery in the Triangle and the 14th in North Carolina! They specialize in traditional European wines that are aged, blended and bottled in-house.

Chatham Hill Winery has a small and cozy tasting bar with frequent events such as wine tastings on the weekends and live music on Fridays. I first discovered it attending a friend’s book launch and quite enjoyed the wines I tasted!

Chatham Hill offers charcuterie boards and have tasting stations set up at many of the Triangle and North Carolina markets. They also won the 2023 Silver Diamond Award for best wine bar!

13. The Wine Merchant (Cary)

People shopping for wine inside a wine store.
Cool wine store in Cary

“Halt the publishing” was what I said to Craig just before he was due to publish this Wake County wine bar post, “I’ve found a really cool wine store!”

I walked into the Wine Merchant store in Cary to pick up a bottle of wine and was swept up into the party like vibe. A large group of friends sat around the table up the front laughing and drinking wine. And a large group sat in the small beer and wine bar in the back watching the NC State football game.

People were walking around, glass in hand perusing the wine shelves packed with quality wines from small family-owned vineyards around the world and there was a wine tasting bar set up off to the side.

What a truly fun wine store that clearly cares about community having a good time while enjoying great wine. I’ll definitely be back!

14. Unwined on White, Wake Forest

Aerial photo of a rooftop wine bar.
Cool rooftop location in Wake Forest

What about a rooftop patio with your wine? That’s what you’ll find in on White St, in downtown Wake Forest. It’s perfectly set up for people watching, especially on busy nights down this bustling main street.

Like most wine shops in this post, Unwind has a large selection of quality wines from smaller family operated vineyards, incorporating organic and sustainable practices. 

They have complimentary tastings on Fridays 6-8pm and many other events from wine classes to yoga workshops. Yoga and wine? Yep, Unwined has a yoga studio onsite – it is all about unwineding after all – making it quite a unique wine bar in Wake County.

Final Thoughts on Wine bars in Raleigh

Lady standing at a bar holding two glasses of wine.
Vita Vite, North Hills

In a city as vibrant as Raleigh and its neighboring areas, these wine bars and champagne bars offer a little something for everyone. Whether you’re in search of an intimate evening, a creative outing, or a wine-tasting adventure with friends, there’s a wine bar near Raleigh waiting to cater to your desires.

So, pour yourself a glass, gather your friends, and embark on a wine journey through the heart of North Carolina’s capital and beyond. Cheers to your next wine adventure!

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