Grafted Wine Bar & Lounge now open in historic building in Belleville

There’s a new wine bar in Belleville. Grafted Wine Bar & Lounge, now open at 310 E. Washington St., offers a unique selection of wines not often found around the area and was born from owner and sommelier Magda Gilpin’s desire to integrate a more diverse wine list into the community.

“With smaller towns, when you don’t really have wine-focused places, every [wine] they have available is classic, but they don’t really venture to less common wines,” said Gilpin. “When I came here for the first time, I noticed the wines were lacking. [But] I could see a lot of people drinking wine. With so many people, [I thought] there has to be interest, so let’s offer it.”

According to Gilpin, Grafted currently offers 27 wines by the glass. Their wine list is also sorted by category, to help aid guests who might not be familiar with a particular bottle. “There are two types of people,” reflects Gilpin. “[Those] who know what they like, they don’t need to experiment. And we do have those [types of wines] for people. But if they [are the type that] want to experiment, we pour a taste so people can see if they like it.”

Notable additions to the wine list include Assyrtiko, a dry white from Greece; Furmint, a dry white from Hungary; and Mencia, one of Gilpin’s favorites. “[I was happy to find] Mencia, which comes from a grape grown in Northern Spain and made by Raul Perez, an iconic Spanish winemaker,” said Gilpin. “That might be my favorite right now.”

While Grafted is primarily a wine bar, there are also some small plates available. “[We offer] cheese and meat boards,” said Gilpin. “We have decent selections [for both], so we change the cheese and meats frequently so that people who are regulars can have new flavors.” Gilpin also includes some house-made creations with the charcuterie boards – onion jam, pickles, anything that she can get her hands on. “I buy from local farmers’ produce and make an appetizer for the day,” added Gilpin.

Belleville residents may be familiar with Grafted’s address. The historic site was built sometime between the 1850s and 1870s, and Gilpin has had her fair share of work bringing the building up to code. But her reward is a beautiful indoor space, with up to 50 seats available for customers inside and patio seating for up to 20 guests. There will be space heaters available on the patio for the colder months. 

Gilpin designed Grafted’s indoor space to have two themed rooms serving as additional seating away from the bar. The Old World Room is a Victorian-style lounge, featuring plush-backed chairs and bold wallpaper, giving it an air of regality. Its counterpart is the New World Room, a midcentury-influenced space that balances out The Old World’s conservative style by lightening up Grafted’s interior with pastel yellow walls and natural lighting.

“People tell me [that] depending on their mood, they’ll spend more time in the New World Room, or they’ll try the Old World Room,” said Gilpin. “I didn’t intend for this to happen, but it seems like the Old World Room attracts more red wine drinkers while [people] drink more white wine in the New World Room.” 

There are future plans to utilize more of the building’s available space, but Gilpin doesn’t anticipate those features debuting this year. “We’re planning on opening an Airbnb on the second floor in a few months, but many things need to be fixed and changed,” said Gilpin. 

Grafted is open Wednesday from 5 to 10 p.m., Thursday from 3 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to midnight, and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.