Film, Wine, and a Good Time -- With a Charitable Cause Added In
Catch the last movie of the season at the Wine Bin's side lot tonight.
At about 7 p.m., the parking lot begins to fill – not with cars, but with lawn chairs.
At the top of the hill of Main Street in Historic Ellicott City, the Wine Bin has shut down its side lot every Saturday night since the first week of July for community movie nights.
The rules are simple. The movie is free and any alcohol at the venue must be purchased inside at Dave Carney's little wine shop.
Carney had the idea to gather the community around a projector and a bottle of wine last year, but the event was rained out twice. His ambitions for this summer were small -- weekly movie nights for a month. But after drawing 100 or more people each week, he extended the promotion two months.
Today marks the final showing with a screening of the 1987 classic comedy, "The Princess Bride."
The types of people who gather each week run the gamut, and most would not qualify as wine aficionados. Carney says one of his missions is to de-mystify wine and he is encouraged by the recent surge in young adults drinking wine – the largest growth demographic in the industry.
"There are wine snobs, but there is nothing snobby about wine," he said. "It's all grapes in a bottle."
The small business' co-proprietor, Carney left his job in sales at a nearby restaurant and wedding venue to open the Wine Bin in 2008. When he began to burnout in his previous employment, his wife told him to follow his passion. His response, he said, was, " I love to drink."
Carney, a resident of old Catonsville, and his friends and co-workers, taste every wine that comes into the store. He carries few especially expensive wines, aiming to keep his stock reasonably priced and accessible, but he won't compromise quality for price. Each wine comes with in-house tasting notes and he doesn't buy anything that he wouldn't drink himself.
His passion has created a destination for wine drinkers around the state. While liquor stores generally draw the majority of their business from a two-mile radius, he says the Wine Bin has customers come from 30 miles away.
When he first started brainstorming about starting the store in early 2008, he discovered he had a specific vision -- a small business with a conscience.
The store opened on Dec. 5 of that year and Carney decided to use his business to continue his dedication to the non-profit Voices for Children, where he served on the board of directors. Carney estimates that by the end of 2010, he will have donated $8,000 -- a portion of which comes from his Saturday night movies where popcorn is served for a charitable donation.
Voices for Children is a nonprofit run by Howard County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to help abused and neglected children.
Tonight is the final date on the summer movie schedule, but the lot will also be closed down at the end of October for a special Halloween feature of the classic film Ghostbusters.