Meet Your Good Neighbor Front Porch Series: Grape Water Wine Bar
A perfectly poured glass of wine can change the course of a life.
That’s what happened to Nicki Prestigiacomo, who visited a wine bar and was taken in by the establishment’s high-tech Italian-made wine dispensers. The self-serve dispensers kept the wine at a perfect temperature, and with the swipe of a card, delivered the perfect pour.
Prestigiacomo, who was working in IT at the time, had been pondering a career change.
“Oh my gosh, these dispensers are so fun,” she thought, as she poured a glass. “This is it.”
And so began the adventure of Grape Water Wine Bar. The establishment, which opened in 2017, is located on Hubbard Avenue in the heart of downtown Middleton. Its motto is emblazoned across the front window.
“Unsnobbing the wine bar, one glass at a time.”
That’s Prestigiacomo’s aim, and she has built Grape Water around that simple idea.
“You don’t have to get all dressed up to enjoy a good wine,” she explained.
Grape Water’s self-service system is simple and fun to use: Scan a card, select a wine and the size of the pour and settle up when you’re ready to leave. The system allows customers to choose pours of various sizes while enjoying an environment that is as relaxing as home. Prestigiacomo said the small pours are especially popular.
“You can try several ones and not be committed to a full glass,” she said
Because of the current health order, Grape Water’s seating is limited to outside tables (weather permitting), although the wine bar is holding some DIY Wine Tasting Events inside. Check Eventbrite for more information. The wine bar is also selling wine by the bottle curbside and it has some playful gift boxes available online.
For example, the “Treat Yo’self Kit” includes your choice of a sparkling wine, a bag of GW popcorn or Slide Gourmet Potato Chips, a champagne flute and straw and a coupon for a free small pour at Grape Water.
Prestigiacomo said she’s coming up with creative ideas like this to help keep the business going during the health order — she simply can’t imagine working anywhere else.
That’s how it’s been every day since she started the wine bar. Prestigiacomo said she’s never worked in a bar or restaurant before and had no idea what she was doing when she opened the place.
“Either I jumped over the cliff eyes wide open or eyes wide shut, I don’t know,” she said with a laugh. “But that’s how it all went down. I just decided I was going to do it.”
When Prestigiacomo decided to open the wine bar, everything just fell into place — the location, the liquor license and a million small details. Prestigiacomo said she feels like she’s doing exactly what she is meant to do and she’s glad she didn’t not overthink the venture, because she might have changed her mind.
“Was this the smartest move?” she said, sitting near the dispensers that started it all. “Who cares. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
About Grape Water Wine Bar
7466 Hubbard Avenue
Middleton, WI 53562
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Thursday-Friday, 4 p.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 3 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday-Monday, closed.