After more than five years in Orlando’s SoDo District, Swirlery Wine Bar is looking to expand eastward.
“If you know me, you might know that I’m a water baby,” says co-owner and Advanced Sommelier Melissa McAvoy, who says she’s been thinking about a coastal presence for some time.
She says she’s actively looking for locations in New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach that could host a wine shop / wine bar hybrid similar to Swirlery’s SoDo setup.
McAvoy broke the news today in an interview for the one-year anniversary episode of the UnWineding podcast, which debuts later this week.
“Magnetic pull” towards New Smyrna
New Smyrna Beach would be McAvoy’s first choice for Swirlery’s second location. She says she feels a “magnetic pull” towards the scenic Volusia County spot.
“I just think the town itself is ready for a really good wine shop and wine bar,” she says.
She also thinks it would be easy for her Orlando customers to drive out for a visit.
McAvoy realizes availability is tight in New Smyrna, though, so Daytona Beach is also high on her list. She thinks building a wine scene there could be a heavier lift, at least at first, but she’s up for the challenge.
“I feel like they will be ready for it, but it’s going to be a little bit more of a commitment,” she says.
McAvoy envisions taking the lead at the coastal location, spending most of her time there but coming back to Orlando two days a week. Her business partner Damian Roman would manage the SoDo location.
When the pair opened Swirlery in 2015, it quickly became a hub for the local wine industry. Weekly blind tastings attracted aspiring Master Sommeliers – and a few current ones too – as well as passionate amateurs and the occasional unsuspecting novice.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she teamed up with then-local sommelier Brian Phillips to launch a series of virtual blind tastings called the Juice Box Set, featuring guest sommeliers from across the country.
McAvoy plans to take the Masters exam herself next summer, some eight years after beginning her formal wine studies as a server at Citrico’s in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.
Time is right
As Swirlery approaches its sixth anniversary, she feels now is the right time to expand; and her affinity for the sea is only growing stronger.
“I love the water,” she says, “I pretty much dream about it all the time.”
The timetable is not set in stone, but McAvoy imagines Swirlery’s coastal outpost could open as soon as this fall.