Leeah’s Old Village Wine Shop owner Ebony Mullins has settled in on Pitt Street after opening the Mount Pleasant shop in March 2020. And after a wild first year that started with supplying restless locals with bottles to get them through the lockdown, Mullins is expanding her offering with wine on tap, small plates, private tastings and other special events catered to wine newbies and enthusiasts alike.
“Within 90 days, we bought a business, sold a house, bought a house,” said Mullins, who came across the 500-square-foot Pitt Street space while living in California with her wife Kym, an Army veteran. “It was super scary and just kind of uncertain, but I was determined to make it work.”
In fact, Mullins — who used her middle name for the shop’s title as an ode to her father Lee — was so determined that she moved across the country on a whim, living in a hotel by herself for months while Kym wrapped things up on the West Coast.
“It was a trying time, however I met some really cool people that just kind of came and kept me company and friends that I think will be friends for life,” said Mullins, whose first order of business was upgrading the space. “We did a redesign, so we opened it up so we could fit more people there.”
Leeah’s can now seat 25 inside, and Mullins also added outdoor tables, a granite countertop bar and other features.
“We put more of a liquid-conscious flooring in, redid some of the shelves, added refrigeration, an oven — things like that,” she said.
You’ll find a wide variety of wine at different price points at Leeah’s, from bubbly Italian prosecco to California cabernet, Willamette Valley pinot noir or French Bordeaux.
“I probably purchase wine every week, and it’s different. Mainly, I’ll do a tasting with the distributor, and then we’ll decide what will work for the next couple weeks,” Mullins said. “We won’t buy wine if we don’t taste it, and that’s because we want everyone to understand what we have.”
Leeah’s doesn’t just offer wine bottles, either. There’s local draft beer, wine on tap and small plate-style options like charcuterie boards and naan flatbreads. And if that doesn’t get you out to the Old Village shop, stop by when Mullins is hosting a food truck or private tasting, events she hopes will make Leeah’s a community gathering place.
“Events are so much fun, and they’re pretty guaranteed,” said Mullins, whose next event will take place Wednesday, May 12 when international rare wine expert Peter Lashmet will lead a tasting featuring rare California cabernets from the 1990 and 1994 vintages. “It’s something different that you wouldn’t normally see.”
Mullins hopes to continue to grow moving forward — she’s even open to the idea of eventually opening a second shop. But right now, she’s happy to have found a place to share her passion for wine.
“Our philosophy is, ‘Building relationships through the center of wine,’” Mullins said. “I’ve seen people make friends in our shop. It’s just kind of fun to build that community, and I think that we’re going to grow that way.”