Our Red & White Story… is a lot like wine iself. The idea of owning a wine bar-was on the vine for a number of years, nurtured slowly, before we began to see the grapes. When we saw the grapes (figuratively), everything happened very quickly, and R&W was born in December of 2019.
Boy (Mike) meets girl (Kari) in September of 2010. We would spend some time in Appleton with Mike’s family & friends...we’d often meet at a wine bar named Red & White. Although they are no longer open, we loved the vibe & we would “float” the idea that we should open a wine bar someday. We did get married just over two years after meeting, but the idea of a wine bar faded. Until we spent an summer afternoon at Toot & Kate’s in Verona, WI. in July of 2019. We didn’t know what we were looking for, until we found it. Enomatic wine machines to “self serve/pour” the wines. A simple (not pretentious) fun vibe, a gathering spot. When we walked out that day – we both knew we had found a path.
Less than a week after our Toot & Kate’s experience, Kari found out that a business named Lake Life Candle, was going to vacate a leased space on Main St. in Waunakee. When we went in the next day, it was like the start of a race. We decided to run the race!!! We talked through the lease...naming financing...licensing. All along the line, we thought there could be red flags at any turn & we would & could “back out.” That never happened. By September we had the lease, by October we had our license, on December 1st, 2019 Red & White Wine Bar had a soft opening. December 5th we were open to the public.
The less time spent here, the better. On March 17th, 2020 R&W closed for the pandemic. We remained closed until May 26th. This is our common & uncommon story of managing covid-19. As a business, we had to re-invent what & how we could remain viable. Kari found ways to increase our social media profile & do virtual tastings. We had incredible community support & we survived in part due to ingenuity & our space. We have a fantastic patio & the patio was a business saver from May-November of 2020. I’m not sure how, but we also survived through the toughest business season...winter 2020 & restrictions in Dane County that were not conducive to staying in business. We did!!!
Open for business again:
We are now celebrating being open for business without restriction. With great wines, bourbons, cheese boards, flatbread pizzas & a great family of support from our guests. We now feature music up to 3-nights a week...great tasting events & a bright future. Our staff has been beyond belief in their energy, willingness, passion & intelligence. In a time that so many businesses are struggling with staffing issues, we have thrived. We are so blessed to have a second family...our staff.
We are so excited for what is around the next corner. We started with a business slogan that is part of who we are & what we hope to continue to be.