Charleston\u2019s charms, and a much-heralded dining scene, aren\u2019t lost on its almost seven million annual visitors, which make the South Carolina city among the country\u2019s top tourist destinations. Less known is that it\u2019s become one of America\u2019s best wine cities as well.\r\n\r\nPioneering wine-savvy restaurants like Charleston Grill, FIG, McCrady's, Husk, The Ordinary, Leon's Oyster Shop and Zero Restaurant & Bar have attracted and spawned a huge pool of talent. The city\u2019s also seen an influx of hospitality professionals drawn by the region\u2019s quality of life. Wine importers and distributors have also made the city a priority.\r\n\r\n\u201cSince Charleston is such an established culinary destination, it makes sense that the people living and visiting here would want the next progression in beverages as well,\u201d says Miles White of Graft Wine Shop. \u201cCocktail bars and breweries paved the way, and now the wine scene is rounding out the trifecta.\r\n\r\n\u201cPeople often say that Charleston has big-market amenities with a small-town feel, and it\u2019s finally getting there with wine.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\nWine Shops and Wine Bars\r\nWine & Company\r\nSouth Carolina allows on-site alcohol consumption at licensed retail establishments, which enables Wine & Company to double as a shop and a wine bar. Its bottles can be enjoyed at the large wraparound bar or taken to go at a $10 discount. If you don\u2019t want a bottle off the shelf, the store offers 36 glass pours, along with creative cheese and charcuterie plates. There are themed Wine Tasting Tuesdays, frequent winemaker visits and, as a bonus, the barstools are the coziest in town.\r\n\r\n\u201cCharleston is a sophisticated and open-minded market for its size,\u201d says owner Josh Walker. \u201cWe actually sell more orange wine than oaky Chardonnay, though we\u2019re happy to offer that, too.\u201d Ask for The List, a leather book with hundreds of rare one-off bottles, many priced well below retail. Recent sightings include \u201966 Ch\u00e2teau d\u2019Yquem and \u201962 P\u00e9trus.\r\nGraft Wine Shop\r\nGraft is also a combo retail shop/wine bar where bottles are priced at retail and a nominal corkage fee is charged to enjoy in-house. White and co-owner Femi Oyediran, a 2018 Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 honoree, opened Graft in March 2018 as a place to share the wines they love in an unintimidating environment. The relaxed vibe makes it a great place to taste wines that can be hard to find in other cities.\r\n\r\n\u201cFemi and I just want everyone to be comfortable and communal,\u201d says White. \u201cWe have people drinking Grand Cru Burgundy rubbing elbows with people drinking skin-contact whites from Slovenia, and it's really rewarding.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\nMonarch Wine Merchants\r\n\u201cCharleston has gone through an enormous amount of growth and immigration since my arrival in 2013, and the wine scene is a direct reflection of that,\u201d says Justin Coleman, owner of Monarch Wine Merchants. \u201cThe variety of wine now available in Charleston is 10 times what it was then.\u201d\r\n\r\nMonarch focuses on small and cult producers, Old World icons and rare and back-vintage bottles. The unpretentious neighborhood spot also has a back room for winemaker tastings, seminars and private sommelier-led events. Coleman says that many people from larger cities stock up on wines that are long gone from their hometown shelves.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s a credit to the distributors and importers who have been able to get so many hard-to-find, allocated, boundary-pushing wines to such a small market,\u201d says Coleman. \u201cSomeone from NYC or San Francisco can actually get their hands on l\u2019Anglore, Roulot, Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey and more. \u201d\r\n\r\n\r\nStems & Skins\r\nMany credit this North Charleston wine bar as the genesis of the city\u2019s current wine scene, when it opened in 2016. Owners Justin Croxall and Matt Tunstall, a former wine director at Husk, focus on natural wine, with a full bar and cocktail program as well.\r\n\r\nMore than a dozen premium pours are available by the glass via Coravin, in addition to a bottle list with almost 200 labels. A small food menu includes a lengthy list of tinned seafood, from trout p\u00e2t\u00e9 with Port to razor clams and sea urchin. Stems & Skins remains as popular and influential as ever.\r\nEdmund\u2019s Oast Exchange\r\nThe Exchange is the retail arm of Edmund\u2019s Oast, a popular restaurant that serves globally influenced Southern fare. The restaurant\u2019s general manager/wine director, Sarah O\u2019Kelley, stocks hundreds of selections.\r\n\r\nLook for the daily 3@3 happy hour with $3 half-pours from 3\u20134:30 pm, wine tastings on Thursdays to benefit local charities, a happy hour that features Champagne and live jazz on Fridays, while themed Somm School classes are held on Saturdays. Each Wednesday, it becomes a wine bar with $15 blind flights of three wines. No corkage is charged on bottles bought at the shop.\r\n\r\n\r\nRestaurants With Great Wine Lists\r\n\r\nTradd\u2019s\r\nThis space, formerly home to the iconic fine-dining restaurant Cypress, has been reborn as a bright, airy modern American restaurant with a buzzy lounge and cozy Champagne bar.\r\n\r\nExecutive Chef Brandon Buck helms the menu, with dishes like halibut with carrot flan and English peas, and roast duck with turnips and housemade spaetzle. Caviar, which includes selections from North Carolina\u2019s Marshallberg Farm, is sold at near-retail prices, a no-brainer when paired with the extensive Champagne list. There are more than 30 by-the-glass pours that include several sparkling and reserve selections.\r\n\r\n\r\nRenzo\r\nRenzo is a casual wood-fired pizza joint that might be the hottest place in Charleston. It boasts one of the city\u2019s only all-natural wine lists, curated by co-owner Nayda Freire. The pizzas and pastas are fantastic, but don\u2019t pass on the rest of the menu. It features such dishes as swordfish Milanese, roasted radishes with preserved lemon and an addictive crispy eggplant with XO sauce. A late-afternoon happy hour offers a Detroit-style square slice of pizza and a glass of wine for $10, and Saturday brunch is among Charleston\u2019s best.\r\n\r\nAsk if there are any off-menu wines by the glass or bottle, as the restaurant often gets very small quantities of specialty wines that aren\u2019t included on the list.\r\n\r\n\r\nJos\u00e9phine Wine Bar\r\nJos\u00e9phine has the cheery atmosphere of a wine bar, but with serious gastronomic appeal. Executive Chef Shaun Connolly\u2019s refined comfort food not only complements the wine list, but sometimes uses it, as evidenced by Sherry-roasted beets with pickled blueberries and pistachio vinaigrette, and handcut pappardelle with wine-braised short ribs rag\u00f9.\r\n\r\nThe restaurant\u2019s name is an homage to Napoleon\u2019s wife and noted wine collector, Jos\u00e9phine de Beauharnais. Accordingly, the wine list skews French. It\u2019s one of the most popular additions to the hopping Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood.\r\n\r\n\r\nOut and About Drinking Destinations\r\nDeep Water Vineyard\r\nOn Wadmalaw Island, about 30 minutes southwest of downtown Charleston, Deep Water is one of the Lowcountry\u2019s only wineries, as most are located in the northern part of the state. Deep Water grows only the Muscadine grape, or Vitis rotundifolia. It flourishes in the region\u2019s hot, humid climate that wouldn\u2019t suit other wine grapes.\r\n\r\nDeep Water makes both white and red wine from four Muscadine cultivars, as well as wines from California grapes. The winery\u2019s 48 acres are a great place to spend a sunny afternoon. Visitors are allowed to roam the grounds freely, and they\u2019re encouraged to picnic.\r\nWine Down Wednesday in West Ashley\r\nHeld eight times from the end of March through October, the Charleston County Parks sponsors this after-work wine party in Old Towne Creek County Park, just across the Ashley River from historic downtown Charleston. Drinking in parks, or any public space, is otherwise illegal in Charleston, so it\u2019s a great opportunity to enjoy the area's area\u2019s natural beauty and live music with a drink in hand.