So, you love wine. Where do you go to be surrounded by other people who love wine as much as you—maybe more? Cathy Bentley’s new wine and food bar Cork and Fork is just the place. Bentley knows pretty much everything about wine, but the good news is that you don’t have to know as much as her to fit in. She loves educating wine newbies just as much as she loves getting into the nitty gritty details with fellow wine obsessives. I spoke to Bentley about her new establishment, which opened in the spring.
Does the name mean that you place equal importance on food and wine?
CATHY BENTLEY: We’re getting there. I am a wine person. I’ve been in the wine industry for about 10 years. I also wanted to add food. There are nine items on our small plate dishes. And we’re going to be adding fresh-made pizzas to order. Last week we did mozzarella-stuffed turkey meatballs, which were a huge hit. Yesterday I did a big batch of pulled pork sliders. Just trying different things each week. I don’t want to be a full restaurant, but I want to have substantial food that goes well with the wine. The pizzas have been my plan all along. I like the thin crust handmade pizzas. We’ve also got truffle Parmesan popcorn, sweet and spicy nuts, cinnamon roasted almonds.
Tell me a little about how you choose wines.
I’ve been in Santa Cruz maybe 25-30 years. I’ve worked at several of the wineries out here. There are certain wineries I really like and admire. I initially went to five different wineries and told them what I was doing and what my goal was. I kept it local, and with the people I know well. I wanted an up-to-date wine list that could be easily managed. I’m going to be doing research and carrying wine from the Paso region, and also the Murphy’s area and El Dorado Hills, and Anderson Valley. This is very personal for me, so I want to buy directly from the wineries. I want to know everything I can possibly know about that winery, so that when I bring it back, I can talk about it. I want to take pictures. I want to have wine club trips. I want to bring people into the wine side of it.
Do you see Cork and Fork as a space for wine geeks to go and geek out?
I love explaining things to a beginning wine person, but I also love talking to winemakers and people that really know a lot. Not just winemakers. And a lot of consumers are really into wine. I love talking to them, also. I don’t know which is more fun. Probably the beginners. I can spew all kinds of information about wine. I started taking classes 12 years ago. I started teaching a of couple years ago.
312 Capitola Ave., Capitola. 435-1110. corkandforkcapitola.com.