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Thursday

April 2014

24

New face for downtown Oconomowoc business, Vino Etcetera

Vino Etcetera expanding in former Accentuate!

There's more to a glass of wine than, well, just the wine. Most wine aficionados will agree. Wine has a story: where the grapes are from, how they were grown, the hands that selected them, the history of the family vineyard. The story doesn't stop once the bottle is corked; rather, it continues when it's uncorked. Whether it's two people or several, sharing some wine creates an opportunity to create new stories or relive an old memory.

Corrienne Winkels said her business, Vino Etcetera, embraces this rich tradition in wine culture. Winkels said her quaint business in the lower level of the building that houses her father-in-law's business, Accentuate!, is a place to share stories, a place to make friends.

"What I love is that when people are here, they are truly relaxed. Whatever is going on in their life, it's left at the door," said Winkels.

Since opening in May 2011, Vino Etcetera has attracted 100 people to its wine club, which treats members once a month to food, a featured region and wine, with a representative on hand to share information. People drink, eat and share stories. In fact, she said 80 percent of her members now have new friends they've met through the club. The wine events offer a time to hang out.

"I remember one night we had Sonoma wine, and one man talked about his memories of Sonoma Lake," Winkels said. She said it's this kind of fellowship and experience that makes her business a unique destination in downtown Oconomowoc.

On Valentine's Day, Vino Etcetera invited patrons to a night of "Love the Wine You're With." Every woman received a long-stem rose, chocolate-covered strawberries were on hand, live music and of course, wine. It was a different way to celebrate the day, Winkels said.

And there's a new chapter for Vino Etcetera. Building owner Jason Dvorak received Architectural Commission approval Feb. 13 to redo the building's facade. The entire face of the building at 120 E. Wisconsin Ave. will be torn off beginning around March and the facade moved to the sidewalk, new paint, new windows - a completely new look.

While that's the story outside, inside Winkels has a story to share. Her father-in-law, Bill Winkels, recently asked her if she'd like to expand upstairs. He is semi retiring and will close Accentuate!

Serendipitously, Corrienne Winkels recently partnered with friend and professional colleague Linda Valasak, who she met selling wine in Brookfield. Valasak holds a doctorate in biochemistry and was a professor at Carroll, but wine has always been a love. When Corrienne Winkels and Valasak met at the Brookfield wine store, they became kindred spirits and after a busy wine event one night they sat down to a glass of wine and some calamari at Palmer's Steakhouse. Winkels asked Valasak if she ever had a dream to do more in the wine business. From there a dream began to become a reality that has grown into the partnership today.

The business partners will expand Vino Etcetera to the upstairs portion of the building. There will be a stage area to the rear of the upper level for live music, a wine bar to the right when you walk in and a fireplace and cozy seating on the left. With the facade remodel, there will be plenty of space for more seating in the front part of the business' upper level that will boast a wine barrel theme.

The two women are excited to begin the new journey. Winkels said it will be nice to have the building's front entrance closer to the street. "We'll be noticed," she said.

They hope to have a second grand opening for Vino Etcetera in conjunction with May Gallery Night.

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