By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jul 01, 2017 at 12:02 PM

Summerfest has always been a great place to fill up on cold beer and fried foods. But, it’s traditionally been a virtual wasteland for wine lovers.

All that has changed this year, thanks to the inaugural run of the Corkscrew, a wine bar located just outside the American Family Insurance Amphitheater. And if you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy a glass of great wine, along with some cheese or charcuterie, this is your spot.

Corkscrew boasts a menu of wines that range from Italian Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero and Ruffino Moscato D’Asti to French M. Chapoutier Belleruche Rose, Flor de Campo Chardonnay and California Cabernet from Greystone and Josh Cellars, all priced in the $9-12 range. All were chosen to appeal to wine lovers, and are often finds that aren't necessarily readily available around town.

Staff are fully trained so they can assist you in choosing wines you’ll love. And if you’re interested in learning more, wine representatives will be present nearly every evening during The Big Gig to chat about wines.

You can also come to the Corkscrew prepared to nibble since they also offer four shareable cheese and charcuterie plates.

  • All American: sharp cheddar, pepper jack, Swiss, Klement’s beef summer sausage, red grapes, strawberry, flatbread ($13).
  • Wisconsin Cheese: Widnmer’s 4-year aged cheddar, Clock Shadow Creamery cheese curds, Sartori rosemary and olive oil asiago, Sartori Bellavitano Gold, dried cranberries, salted Marcona almonds, lingonberry jam, flatbread ($13).
  • Wisconsin Cheese and Sausage: The above Wisconsin cheeses and accompaniments plus Usinger’s Theuringer and Nueske’s liver pate ($16).
  • Italian cheese and charcuterie: Artigiano Vino Rosso, Artigiano aged balsamic and cipolline onion, American grana, sharp provolone, shaved prosciutto, capocollo, marmalade, salted Marcona almonds, red grapes, strawberry, flatbreads ($16).

I highly recommend the Wisconsin selections, which do a nice job showcasing a sampling of the delicious cheeses made right here in the Dairy State. I’m especially fond of the Sartori rosemary and olive oil asiago. It’s a great pairing for Chardonnay, though I’ll admit I ate it alongside a pinot noir, and it was delicious nonetheless.

Zac Brown fans: this one’s for you

In addition to a playlist that features daily music selections from the Amp headliners, Corkscrew also pays homage to the World’s Biggest Music Festival with a very special selection created by country star Zac Brown in collaboration with winemaker John Killebrew.

It's not really a big stretch for Brown, who has developed a reputation as a food lover, hosting the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival and (this was just announced Friday), apparently opening his very own restaurant.

So, if you’ve got tickets to see the Zac Brown Band show at the Amp on July 1, you should really get your friends together to sip a few glasses of Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Red Blend ($10) as a celebratory pre-show tipple. After all, it’s totally what Brown would want you to do.

"Wine has always been important to me because it brings people together and connects them with the bounty of the land," notes Brown on the winery’s web site. "I’ve always believed in putting everything you have into what you create. When you make something you are proud of, there is a special reward in being able to share it with family and friends."

Aww, shucks.

The Corkscrew, which is operated by Saz's Hospitality Group, opens daily at 4 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.