Ark Gilsdorf, the general manager at The Grape, the Greenville Avenue wine bar, says he sees too many people who are afraid of wine — for no reason at all.

“Anybody who acts like a real wine snob, the odds are that usually means the less they know,” says Gilsdorf. “The only real rules about wine is that there aren’t any rules. If you want to drink a white wine with beef, go ahead. We have a lot of people who do it, and if that’s what they want, we’ll have them find a wine to drink.”

The Grape offers 130 wines, with 20 or so by the glass. Among Gilsdorf’s favorites are:

• Ceretto Arneis 1998 ($10 retail). This Italian white is similar to the more wellknown Pinot Grigios, but a little softer. Drink it well-chilled with mussels steamed in white wine or an spicy Asian-style salad.

• Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc 1999 ($10-15 retail). What do you get when a car company and an ex-Cowboy, kicker Glenn Carano, make wine? This nifty California white is more sophisticated than its less expensive California
and Pacific Northwest cousins, but still crisp and citrusy. Serve it well-chilled with grilled shrimp and light pasta dishes.

• Franciscan Magnifcat 1997 ($15 and up retail). A California red wine blend that’s made in the style of much pricer French Bordeaux. It’s rich and full-bodied — ideal for serving at room temperature with lamb or venison.

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