Raise a glass, Shaw residents: In just a few weeks, the neighborhood will have its very own dedicated wine store and artisan food shop when Wild Olive Provisions (2201 South 39th Street)
celebrates its grand opening.
Wild Olive Provisions is a longtime dream for husband-and-wife team Nerida Wilbraham and Scot Martin, who share a passion for wine — and specifically, have history in two well-known winemaking regions. Wilbraham, an Australia native, and Martin lived in San Francisco for many years before buying a home in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis about a decade ago. At their new shop, the pair will focus on Australian and California wines, drawing from their personal experience and knowledge to curate their selection.
"When we lived in California, we were frequently up in wine country, and each year we go back, and we go back to Australia as well," Wilbraham says. "The wineries that we really love tend to be family-owned and more like farms, because that's what they really are, right? And so we've found that over the years more wineries, especially the family-owned ones, are very focused on sustainable practices and growing varietals that are best paired with the climate and environment there. We will rotate the wines, and every now and then we'll have wines outside of Australia and California, but we're trying to stick with what we know."
Although Wilbraham and Martin will mostly stock Australian and California wines, they're aiming to offer something at every price point — Wilbraham says the goal is to offer affordable wines ideal to serve with weeknight dinners as well as higher-end (and higher-priced) wines for those wanting to spend a little more or celebrate something special.
The couple are in the process of renovating the space, which formerly housed the St. Louis offices of Chicago-based Omega Yeast. Wilbraham says the original concept for Wild Olive Provisions was smaller in scale, but when the storefront at 2201 South 39th Street became available, it was too tempting to resist. As such, the scope of the shop was expanded to include dine-in dishes, more artisan cheese and gourmet food options, local craft beer and possibly also craft spirits.
"Our space is so big that we thought, 'How will we fill it? Where am I going to put everything?'" Wilbraham says with a laugh. "We're looking at some artisan craft distilleries and craft beer. My husband and I have done all the work on it ourselves, and we're proud of it."
The shop will also sell grab-and-go boxes perfect for picnics at nearby favorites including the Missouri Botanical Garden or Tower Grove Park, or just a ready-made meal to take the work out of dinnertime for folks in the neighborhood.
"When there's events at the [Missouri Botanical] Garden where people can bring in a picnic, we'd like to be seen as the go-to for that, and just make it easy for people to pick up some really tasty artisan cheeses, wines and beers to go," Wilbraham says.
To start, Wild Olive Provisions will offer limited seating inside for its dine-in menu items, with plans to add patio seating next year. For now, Wilbraham is just excited to share her passion for Australian and California wines with St. Louis, and of course, to see her and Martin's dream become a reality. So far, it seems that Shaw residents are sharing that feeling as well.
"The excitement in the neighborhood is just great; people are knocking on the windows and saying how excited they are," Wilbraham adds. "The support so far has been phenomenal."
Wild Olive Provisions is planning to celebrate its grand opening during the last week of October. More as we learn it.
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