In Dining

Vine Society is slated to go into the space just south of the Avalon Theater.

New Vine Society wine shop promises quality without pretense in Bay View

Bay View could be getting its very own wine shop as early as mid-February. The proposed retail establishment, which will be called Vine Society, is slated for 2483 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., just south of the Avalon Theater.

Behind the project are Calvin Andersen, a lifelong industry veteran whose experience includes work with a number of Fox Valley and Milwaukee restaurants including the former All Purpose, and Jordan Burich, longtime bartender and "liquorist" for the ongoing Sprezzatura pop-up dinners. The two seem to be the perfect pair for a shop that's expected to offer a wide selection of wines from a variety of countries across the world.

"Calvin has a real interest in the science of wine, including growing methods and terroir," says Burich. "Meanwhile, I'm into the cultural history and the stories that stem from the wine's origins. Our common bond comes in our awe and enthusiasm for wine."

Andersen notes that their retail focus will be on wines that are produced with minimal intervention, from producers who respect the grapes and create wines that reflect the values of sustainability, health and supporting small family farms.

"We're there to tell the story and history behind the wines and their producers," he says. "You can go to Walmart or you can go to the farmer's market. And this will really be more like going to the farmer's market."

What will set the shop apart from other wine shops in the city is the vibe, says Burich, who describes the shop as a little bit punk rock and a lot of fun.

"It's about creating a place where it's fun to hang out and that's not at all intimidating," says Andersen. "We view ourselves as ambassadors for the wine. We also really aim to create this place where people are welcome and comfortable. The goal is to make it intentionally different from other places."

"Our mantra is really based in the idea of no pretension," says Burich. "There won't be any grape vine motifs or designs with a patina. The space will be irreverent and bright … think less library and more record store."

You'll find vinyl spinning in the background, says Burich. "There might be a pinball machine or vintage arcade games. But, we'll also be bringing a restaurant quality orientation to service. A really friendly vibe in an unconventional space is what we're going for."

The vision for Vine Society includes a daily apertivo hour featuring discounted wine pours and cicchetti (snacks) to go alongside.

Burich says the shop also plans to offer a wine subscription program featuring monthly wine selections that can be picked up at the shop. The subscription will come with accompanying literature that talks about the wine and offers an overview of the flavor profile, recipes and pairing tips.

Andersen says his hope is that the shop not only fills a void in Bay View, but also advances the depth of Milwaukee's wine culture.

"A really well developed dining scene has a wine culture to match," says Andersen. "Despite the fact that you might currently be able to find quality wine by the glass or bottle in the Milwaukee area, adding diversity will help bring additional depth and breadth to the already existing culture."

Watch OnMilwaukee for additional information about Vine Society as plans move forward.

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