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Speakeasy Allure: Madison Welcomes Wine Nox
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Speakeasy Allure: Madison Welcomes Wine Nox

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F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “Here's to wine, the rose colored glasses of life.”

Such is the allure of downtown Madison’s newest evening establishment, Wine Nox, and its ambitious and elegant owner, Corie Doss. Offering thoughtfully curated wines, craft beers and a rotating selection of seasonally inspired wine slushies, Wine Nox, unites the ambiance of a modern metropolitan speakeasy with the charm of Doss’ western Rockingham County hometown, Madison.

At 30, with an endearing and understated kindness, Doss embodies qualities comparable to the cultured and bold wines she showcases.

Crediting her artistry and resourcefulness to her childhood spent antiquing in Stoneville, Doss is thankful for the opportunities and mentors she has been given in life.

She speaks lovingly and with great respect about her paternal grandparents and their family-run auctioneer business in Stoneville, Bric-A-Brac.

Her late grandfather closed its doors more than a decade ago, but Doss was inspired by her grandparents’ humble and hard-working entrepreneurial spirit.

Upon graduation from McMichael High School in 2009, Doss attended UNC Charlotte where she majored in sociology and criminal justice.

Doss was eager to taste the offerings of city life. One of her favorite weekend outings included a well-known Charlotte haunt called The Wine Vault.

Drawing inspiration from its modern day speakeasy vibe and its unique wine selection, Doss began dreaming about her own version of such a venue.

After finishing college, Doss knew she was meant to return home to her roots. And after spending a few years supporting her family’s business, she put her dream plans into action.

In January, Doss and her husband purchased 120 E. Murphy Street in the heart of Madison's historic downtown. The two quickly put their creative and resourceful minds to work. Even with the onset of the coronavirus, they moved forward renovating much of the space that was formerly Gigi’s beauty salon.

Contractors painted and removed the drop ceiling, and Doss and her husband realized they had unearthed hidden treasures of the building. It's bare weathered brick and exposed pipes gave it a seasoned 1920s industrial feel.

Through the late summer months and into early fall, Doss styled the space and appointed decor to reflect the Prohibition Era, the very time during which the building was built.

Relying on her keen eye for vintage treasures, Doss looked to Facebook Marketplace where she discovered two fringed velvet, mustard-colored settees.

She also employed Thomas Hair of Kurrent Welding to create industrial-style tables from wood and metal for group seating.

The Dosses crafted more seating, spraying wooden chairs a coppery gold. They also repurposed a split barrel as side tables for the intimate setee area.

With a handcrafted wooden bar and elegantly displayed wine and craft libations, Doss paired industrial bar stools for her counter-depth bar.

As a finishing touch and a nod to the establishment’s name, Doss purchased lunar globes for lighting that gracefully orbits over the bar.

The way the lighting plays on the exposed brick and dark gray and indigo walls creates a mesmerizing mood.

It's a place that's suitable for small or larger groups to gather.

The outside entry has allure with its tinted glass and understated sophistication. Hanging over the main entrance is a metal sign, wrought by Kurrent Welding, which also features lunar motifs.

Doss describes her space as having moody, Art Deco vibes. She says the unique name Wine Nox was inspired by her husband's love of mythology and fictional wizard Harry Potter.

Derived from the Roman goddess of night, Nix, the word "Nox" also integrates an homage to the world of Potter's Lumus and Nox, which mean "light" and "dark."

Doss welcomed her first guests at the end of October and she's already eager to see what's ahead for her new enterprise.

With multiple confirmed event bookings into the new year (pandemic restrictions permitting), Doss may expand into space outside her building. Plans also include having a jazz pianist play on the small front entry stage.

For the holidays, Wine Nox will also offer unique wine-themed gifts, including a "Christmas Cheer" wine box and New Year's boxes to feature champagne, flutes and rock candy.

These will be featured alongside her revolving and expanding wine and craft beer selections. In addition, Doss hopes to expand her nightly specials and extend her hours. Ultimately, she plans to offer Saturday and Sunday brunches, featuring signature favorites like Mimosa and Bloody Mary cocktails.

The Doss' vision of backyard outdoor seating is for a space that already features a small courtyard with a heated fire pit and cozy cushioned seating.

Eventually, the Dosses want to create an outdoor space for special events, complete with a bar, heat lamps, mood lighting and full coverage for year-round use.

Doss said she  draws much of her inspiration from a vintage-themed outdoor bar and event space, The Society, in Macon, Ga.

Doss is thankful for her success as a female business-owner: “In this season of Thanksgiving, I’d have to say I am blessed with a supportive husband, family, friends and a community for which I am forever grateful. I am so blessed to be able to use the gifts God has given me to spread joy throughout my community through my creativity and my businesses (Doss co-owns an events/design business called “The Three Pines”).

Doss is in the good company of more than 15 other young professionals who over the past 10 years have forged new businesses in downtown and beyond.

And Doss’ creative spirit is truly contagious among the youth of the area, community leaders say.

“I think it is very exciting that we have so many young people who have new and unique upstarts apart from the traditional family business,'' said Mavis Dillon, executive director of the Western Rockingham Chamber of Commerce.

"Many of these are young entrepreneurs who have returned to their childhood roots.''

If Doss’ dreams are any indication for the future of Madison and the rest of western Rockingham County, there's a lot to look forward to.

Doss is happy to be part of this new dawn in Madison's development, she says.

And to echo Fitzgerald’s sentiments, Doss proudly wears her own pair of rose colored glasses as she looks to a future of artful entertaining and revival of a spirited Madison.

Wine Nox is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Follow them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/winenox/

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