It’s impossible to visit Jamaica without seeing copious bottles of Red Stripe, glasses of rum punch and flasks of rum. Yet wine, not typically the drink of choice, is now becoming more and more popular throughout Jamaica.
Just a few years ago, it was nearly impossible to find wine at local restaurants and bars. A few hotels on the island offered a (very) modest wine list. Guests had two options: red or white. Ossie Osman, who owns the new Kingston wine bar Wine Shop, says the tides are turning. Wine clubs are launching, wine lists are expanding, and people are taking an interest in learning more about different grapes and vintages.
Supermarkets have started selling wine in the last few years, and the shelves are stacked high with different varietals. “People want better wines,” says Osman. “Jamaicans have traveled abroad and they want those same options when they come home.” Emprezz Golding, a youth advocate in Kingston, recently told Outpostings that she often visits Osman’s shop for good wine and company.
While we won’t soon be giving up our rum or Red Stripe, we’re excited to see this trend grow. Here are two of our favorite wine bars in Kingston.
Ossie Osman, who spent his career in the hospitality industry, opened The Wine Shop in Kingston in 2014. Osman is always on hand, chatting with guests (who have become more like friends). The bar and restaurant serves a Mediterranean menu—hummus and pita is popular—as well as an extensive wine list, with wines imported from all over the world. Every Tuesday Paint with Merlot holds a class at The Wine Shop for those who are looking to get in touch with their artsy side (while tipsy). Follow The Wine Shop on Facebook for the latest updates.
Shop 7B, Southdale Plaza, South Avenue, Kingston, 876-620-5098
If you consider yourself a cheese lover, you should definitely visit Uncorked. The wine list has more than 150 labels—from Mendoza, Argentina, to Napa Valley. To match their impressive wine list, Uncorked serves gourmet cheese platters that includes triple-cream French brie and cocoa-rubbed goat cheese from Wisconsin. Keep up with the ever-changing wine and cheese lists on the Uncorked Facebook page.
Shop 2, 29 Barbican Road, Kingston, 876-632-5500