Updated: Aug 14
Cork and Cap's other half.
Husband and wife team Erin and James created the concept for Cork and Cap on their first date. Since then, James, a seasoned wine professional, and Erin, a marketing and local food advocate, have always dreamed of opening their own neighborhood bottle shop—a space to offer the handcrafted wine, beer, and artisan products they've spent a lifetime loving and learning about.
gastronome (def): a lover of good food.
Erin was raised in Aiken, and has maintained a consistent connection with the area her entire life. Though she moved away after graduating from South Aiken High School, she was always happiest to come home to visit Aiken. She holds dear her early memories of art camp at Rose Hill, biking through Aiken Estates neighborhood, swim team at Fermata, and being at the barn everyday with her ornery pony, Grady. She's been thrilled every time Aiken adds another feather to its cap (like making Southern Living's best small town!). When Erin was young, all she wanted was to move away. And she did! Now that she’s experienced many different places, she is ready to come home and contribute to the unique and vibrant community that helped shape her.
Erin graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Arts Management and headed to Washington, DC to work in communications and media relations at the Smithsonian Institution’s modern art museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. After six years there, she decided to advance her studies. Erin's passion for local food and curiosity for culture led her to an institution dedicated to studying the inextricable links between the two—the University of Gastronomic Sciences—in a famous winemaking region of northern Italy, called Piemonte. 2012 was a year wholly committed to tasting and traveling through Italy and beyond, meeting artisan producers and winemakers, studying local food systems, participating in the work of harvest as well as hospitality and tourism of the Piemontese region. She learned that wine is an integral part of the table in Italy, to be enjoyed as a complement to the food grown and prepared there. She also learned that wine is a true agricultural product, and takes backbreaking work, patience and practice to make well. But most of all she learned that wine and food tell a story of taste and place.
Erin returned to South Carolina with a renewed enthusiasm to champion the farmers and foodways of her own home state. She landed in Columbia, where she worked with the USC’s School of Public Health on a research grant for sustainable food systems change, while assisting with a documentary film that highlighted the good food efforts happening in SC. After that, she joined the team at City Roots, Columbia’s first urban farm, to grow farm education, events and agritourism efforts. Now, she works from Aiken remotely for Congaree Land Trust, managing communications and marketing efforts for one of the largest land trusts in the Southeast. She can’t wait to accompany her husband in opening Cork and Cap, and in opening a gateway to gastronomy that is approachable, accessible, and FUN. And she can’t think of a better place to do it than the South’s best small town, her hometown of Aiken!
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