Greencork is a wine bar with a modern twist. They have four Italian-made Wine Emotion Wine Dispensing Machines. Each one chambers eight bottles, and all are tied into the computer at the register. When you come in, you pre-pay as much or as little as you want on a card, and then you can use that card to select 2, 4, or 6 oz. pours from the machine.
I am generally not a fan of wine-by-the glass at restaurants or bars unless I really trust the server. If the bottle was opened yesterday, the wine will be OK, but if it was opened and recorked three weeks ago, it will be sour. The culprit is oxygen, and the Wine Emotion system avoids that by using the inert noble gas argon. Argon is pumped into the bottle to dispense the wine, meaning that each pour is just like opening a fresh bottle. (And before you get concerned about chemicals, argon makes up 1% of our atmosphere. You're breathing it right now.)
2156 Young Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38104
Tuesday-Thursday 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 5 p.m.-11 p.m.
There are 32 wines available at any given time, and the lineup changes depending on what's available and customer demand. The prices for full 6 oz. glasses are quite good compared to most restaurant wine lists, and even the basic 2 oz. pours would allow you to try through a lot of interesting wines without spending a lot of money. I think that the highest amount I saw was $14 for a full glass, but most of them are in the $6-8 range.
The staff is friendly and knowledgable, and the selection of wines is eclectic. While I saw a lot of California wines, I also spotted gems from Oregon, Chile, Argentina, and France. There may be opportunities in the future to sample some higher-end, well-aged bottles using this interesting bit of technology. I like the way they have the wines broken up into four categories: Light-Bodied Whites, Complex Whites, Medium-Bodied Reds, and Bold Reds. Each grouping is kept at the optimal temperature, and on the day I visited, they had a dessert wine snuck into one of the cases with smaller pour amounts. The wine's name, price, and the unit's temperature can all be controlled from the central computer at the register. When you insert your card, you get a readout of how much money you have left.
Eric Painter, with many pieces on display. The complex twists and turns of his oil paintings are fascinating to study while swirling wine in your glass.
I had a great afternoon hanging out with the staff before they were officially open for the day. It's a comfortable, pleasant spot, and I think it's an excellent pre- or post-dinner bar for gathering with friends when you're in Cooper-Young. Check it out the next time you're in the neighborhood, and let me know what you think.