By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Dec 23, 2022 at 11:02 AM

This week Ben Christiansen of Waterford Wine & Spirits and Randy Wautlet, managing partner/proprietor at Steve’s McKee Road announced the news that the Fitchburg location of Steve’s Wine Beer and Spirits, 6227 McKee Rd. will become part of the Waterford store family beginning in late January.

Wautlet, who spent the majority of his 40-year career assisting Steve’s in becoming one of Wisconsin’s leading beverage merchants, opened the McKee Road store 14 years ago, transforming into a destination for fine wine and unique spirits.

Throughout the years, he has guided the Madison community through countless dinner parties, weddings, wine cellar constructions and more. But, he says, he’s more than ready for his next chapter, which includes retirement and passing along the torch to Christiansen.

The transition of ownership is slated to take place on Jan. 31, 2023. Steve’s will remain open throughout, offering the same service and hours as usual. Guests can also remain confident that their favorite wines, beer and spirits will remain in stock and the staff members they’ve grown to know and love will also remain a part of the business.

Moving forward, Steve’s will be expanded to include a tasting room where Waterford guests can enjoy wine seminars, spirits tastings and beer classes. Fans can keep up with the evolution of the shop by following Waterford Wine on social media.

The Fitchburg location will mark the fourth for Waterford Wine & Spirits, which was established in 2005 on Brady Street in Milwaukee. More recently, the shop was relocated to an expanded storefront at ​​2120 N. Farwell Ave. The brand, which has assisted in transforming the way Milwaukeeans drink wine, has grown over the years to include locations in Delafield (opened in 2017) and Green Bay (debuted in 2021). 

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.