This is a question that has the makings of a Jeopardy daily double.
Q: Which business combines a cellar and a pharmacy?
A: What is B&C Winery in Maggie Valley.
Over the past seven years, owners Bob and Chris Choinski have produced award-winning labels from their modest cellar at 2427 Soco Road.
While Bob Choinski, RPh., Remained primarily the silent partner, Chris worked hard for years in the backroom, blending grape juices and skins from around the world with creative flavor combinations to come up with more. of 40 varieties of wine which are all available for tasting – the exception being when the inventory goes down to the last remaining bottles of a given vintage.
To say that B&C Winery is a combination of passions is an understatement.
Although the winery has its roots in Chris Chionski’s former career as a pharmacy technician, B&C Pharmacy is directly linked to her husband’s 45 years in the industry.
“We had a little over 200 extra square feet in the basement and were going to build a kitchenette, but then COVID hit,” she said, explaining how the idea of the pharmacy came to fruition as a strategic hub .
“I said to Bob, ‘You’re a pharmacist and this town needs a pharmacy, so put a pharmacy there,’ she said.
In March, the couple opened B&C Pharmacy in the room adjacent to the tasting room. The area has a counter that divides the space and a facing wall where supplies occupy several shelves.
Gradually, word started to spread that Maggie Valley has its own pharmacy, and Bob Choinski is proud to say that he works with Humana, Optum Health, Express Scripts, Tri-care and United Healthcare with new insurances added. . all the time.
In addition to filling and renewing prescriptions, the store offers vitamins, nutritional aids, diabetic supplies and over-the-counter medications, as well as crutches and canes.
“I’ve sold more crutches since opening because people have hiking accidents all the time,” Bob said.
The best part about pharmacy, he explained, is that it offers a pharmacist on call with decades of experience who isn’t too busy answering questions and explaining medications to customers.
“We’re an independently owned and operated pharmacy with a hometown touch, delivering better engagement and better care for a better community,” he said.
The move to western North Carolina was supposed to be “a retreat without quotes, but it only lasted a little while,” said Chris Choinski.
With her husband’s chemistry and makeup, it was so tempting the couple made it.
An ability to think outside the box is what made the winery so successful, both agree.
Without revealing any trade secrets, Bob Choinski shared a secret of success.
“We tested a number of waters before choosing one for its pH of 7.2,” he said, which is similar to the well water he has at home. “This is where the chemistry comes in. It’s just basic water versus acidic water. Basic water is called soft water and it is better for the taste buds. It was important to us in making our wine, and when we found a source, we used it.
B&C Winery participates in at least three competitions per year and is currently awaiting news of its submission to the Texas International Wine Competition. The Golden Italian Pinot Gris, with its crunchy notes of green apple and ripe honeydew melon, is already sold out in the cellar.
One of the winery’s top honors is receiving a double gold medal for Winter’s Warmth, its chocolate-raspberry-blend dessert wine, last year’s American Wine Society competition in New Jersey.
“We are competing to stay sharp,” said Bob Choinski. “It’s always nice to have comments. “
“We compete with all levels of wineries, from boutique wineries like us to international wineries like Stag’s Leap,” said Chris Choinski.
B&C Winery is not afraid to share its knowledge of oenology, and offers its know-how to those who wish to perfect their house vintages.
“I sell some of the chemicals and ingredients needed to make home wine that people might need to drive to Asheville to get,” said Chris Choinski. And if newbies need help or have questions along the way, both are ready to help.