By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Jan 16, 2006 at 5:35 AM

Come March, Brady Street will have another boutique to add to its repertoire -- but instead of fashionable accessories or one-of-a-kind clothing items, customers will find a small shop dedicated exclusively to wine.

Ben Christiansen's Waterford Wine Company will soon replace the kitschy canine accessories store, Metropawlis, at 1327 E. Brady St. Metropawlis is making the move to the Third Ward, and Christensen says his store will open March 14, with the grand opening slated for April 14.

Aiming for a friendly, warm and open environment, Christiansen hopes to establish his store as a place where people feel comfortable learning about wine.

"I'd like to think of it more as a wine boutique," he says. "There'll be chairs for people to sit down if they want to talk or think about what they're getting. I'd be more than happy to chat about wine to anyone who has questions."

Christiansen says that rather than organizing his store by grape variety or geographical region, he will display his wines according to their style.

"I just want to make it as easy as possible for people to find what they want," he says. "If you know you like a full bodied, peppery red, for example, I can point you in the right direction. You won't need to know everything about France or Italy to be able to find what you're looking for."

Motivated by his zeal for good wine, Christiansen hopes to make purchasing it more accessible to novices.

"I love wine and I love to talk about wine," he says. "I'm really excited to make it an enjoyable experience for people. Understandably, many people get intimidated in the wine section and they get turned off to the idea of buying it. I would love to change that."

With a degree in cooking and master's degree in education, Christiansen is ready to combine and exhibit his passions at his new store, which is his first business. He says he will offer a daily, in-store sampling of a selection of wines during business hours and, as the store grows, he plans to incorporate wine tasting and education events.

"I think this will be a great environment for people to educate themselves about what they are purchasing. I mean, who wants to hang out at a place with fluorescent lights and tile floor?"

As Waterford Wine Company opens its doors, Christiansen says he will be running the store solo.

"It's a small space, and I really want to be identified with both the store and the neighborhood. I think it's going to be a great fit for Brady Street."

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”