The bar at Lorne Wine, which is also a retail shop, in Biddeford. Photos by Angie Bryan

Before I visited Lorne Wine, the wine bar and retail shop in Biddeford that opened in late June, I would have told you that I was not a fan of natural wines or of driving for half an hour to get a glass of wine. Lorne Wine and its owners, former Dallas firefighter Carson James and former fashion designer Erin Sheehan, completely changed my mind on both fronts.

Lorne specializes in natural wines.

As soon as you enter, the serene décor makes you feel more relaxed. The attention to detail is evident, with little touches like flowers and candles throughout, complete with perfect cozy lighting. The barstools have leather backs, there are electrical outlets (but, sadly, no purse hooks) under the bar, and the bathroom is beautiful – an important factor if you’re going to be drinking wine all night.

The focus of Lorne (a family name) is on “low-intervention wines” that are sustainably grown, often using organic, bio-dynamic, dry-farming and no-till approaches. James and Sheehan know their wines inside and out and manage to convey their knowledge and enthusiasm without coming across as either pushy or pretentious. A flight of three half glasses is $20, so my friends and I ordered two flights to share among us. The owners talked us through the various choices, asking about our preferences as they guided us to new options.

The menu, which changes all the time, has an excellent selection of wines by the glass; there are also often a few off-menu options. The day we were there, the menu listed two sparkling wines ($12), three rosés ($6-$11), five whites ($10-$12) and four reds ($10-$12). There’s also a full page of beer and cider options (most of which are between $4 and $8). Fun side note: The menus are typed in a font based on Sheehan’s very neat handwriting. There’s also a small-plates menu; we tried some cheeses (three for $8) and some $5 sourdough bread and butter, which was shockingly addictive thanks to the addition of Old Bay Seasoning. (Just what I need, another vice.)

A flight of three half glasses is $20.

If the fact that you can talk wine, taste wine, and purchase wine all in one location isn’t enough to persuade you that you need to check out Lorne Wine for yourself, I should mention that there’s a punch card for frequent patrons and a wine club with three membership levels (Quench Your Thirst, Treat Yourself and Have It All).  On a completely unrelated note, my birthday is Jan. 28. The wine bar also throws frequent special events such as free wine tastings, snow day specials, collaborations with other Biddeford establishments and classes. I mean, seriously, just about the only thing missing is a matchmaking service for its customers (hint, hint).

Lorne Wine is the kind of place you want to return to as soon as you leave. If I lived in Biddeford, I’d be there all the time.

Angie Bryan is a former diplomat who is enjoying getting acquainted with her new home in Portland, one cocktail at a time.

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