Chef Maggie McGovern-Tu, left, prepares food at Farmer and the Vine wine bar in Bayview. Owners Jen and Josh Peters look on. (Photo by Dave Felice)

Chef Maggie McGovern-Tu, left, prepares food at Farmer and the Vine wine bar in Bayview. Owners Jen and Josh Peters look on. (Photo by Dave Felice)

Farmer and Vine offers more than wine

The hosts of a new wine bar on Whidbey invite guests to “Sip, Gather, Graze.”

A desire to do something involving retail and local agriculture, along with an accommodating landlord, led Jen and Josh Peters of Greenbank to launch Farmer & The Vine, now open in the Bayview Cash Store.

Josh described the hybrid restaurant as a place “where people can stop for a glass of wine, socialize over a cheese plate and perhaps get a meal.”

In addition, bottled wine is available for purchase.

“With chef Maggie McGovern-Tu of Welborn Farm in Greenbank, we can also serve full-plated meals,” Peters said. “Our developing menu will focus on local and regional products, including pork from Welborn and other items from Willowood Farm of Coupeville.”

The Peters tried a similar food and beverage concept several years ago in Texas, but the real estate arrangement didn’t work out. Now, Josh said, working with the ownership of Bayview Store is positive.

“We are enthusiastic about the potential of working with Goosefoot Community Fund as our landlord,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the historic building and the way Goosefoot is accommodating the entrepreneurial activity.”

Josh has a background in commercial construction management, especially involving start-up businesses. Jen works in information technology.

They moved to Whidbey two-and-a-half years ago with the idea of starting a locally based hospitality business.

Farmer & The Vine is located in the space recently vacated by Blooms Winery.

After remodeling, including new furniture by Turnco Wood Products of Whidbey, the wine bar opened without publicity in late December.

The initial menu features an artisanal cheese board at $18 and a charcuterie board at $15. There is a winter kale salad at $8 and several “small bites” under $5.

The cheese board consists of four varieties, sourdough flatbread, Marcona almonds, apple-beet chutney and honey drizzle. The charcuterie board has salami, prosciutto and coppa with sourdough flatbread, house-made tart cherry mustard and pickled root vegetables from Willowood.

Small bites include olive oil and sel gris sourdough flatbread, warm marinated Greek olives, Marcona sweet Spanish almonds, herbed walnuts and spiced mixed nuts.

For a sweet ending, there is a wee plate of chocolate truffles from Sweet Mona’s of Langley.

Wines primarily from Washington, Oregon and California are available by the glass or bottle. Craft ciders and beers are also offered.

“This is a good market for this type of business,” Peters said. “There’s nothing specifically like an agri-tourism wine bar on Whidbey.”

Marian Myszkowski, Goosefoot program director, said the organization felt the unique wine bar would make the best tenant.

“Goosefoot’s first responsibility is what’s best for our current tenants,” she said. “This new local business has the potential of attracting both tourists and residents to the Cash Store on a regular basis.

The new wine store will not only be a welcome addition to Bayview Corner but also to the growing reputation of Whidbey Island as a wine lover’s destination.”

The restaurant is open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. It is closed Tuesdays.

“We’ll begin our full menu on Jan. 19,” Jen Peters said.“We will continue expanding the opening menu between now and then.”

Farmer & The Vine plans a Winemaker’s Dinner with Robert Ramsay on March 22. More information will be provided closer to the event.

Ramsay is known for his winery which produces high-quality Rhone varietals in Washington.