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As the inaugural issue of ‘Uncorkt, Untapped and Unplugged’ the message is what makes Uncorkt a unique experience and a gem in downtown Racine for over 14 years. In June of 2004, Sherry Etes opened the doors of Uncorkt on 6th street with the vision to open a wine store that not only provided boutique hand-picked wines that you couldn’t find at other places, but also you could enjoy a glass or bottle at Uncorkt’s bar or lounge.

They moved to the current location on Main Street by mid-2008, expanding their selection of the wines and into craft beers. Tony Bigonia the current owner and a customer for over ten years took over in 2014 with little change other than to improve and expand.

Distributors of either wine or beer come to our store every day with new selections for us to choose from. The first rule we go by is that the wine should not be available in any grocery store since we cannot compete with the pricing that they can get because of the volume they buy. Then we pride ourselves that we taste every wine before we bring it into the store to be offered for sale. Either Cindy or Victoria tastes the wines and based on their over 20 years of experience choose those wines they feel our customer would enjoy.

We also have those situations where a varietal is presented to us that no one would recognize, for example, Schioppettino a delicious dry red wine. We call these wines hand-sell wines, which means we would have to put in on our ‘featured’ wine tasting list, which changes every week, and when people try it then they will buy it. We have many of those type wines within our store, just ask and we’ll point them out, and then you can take one home to enjoy or open it in the store.

As for beer, our distributors are just learning that we need to taste the beers before we bring them in to feature. Just last year Tony had acquired a self-proclaimed beer snob Tom to help expand our beer selections and its uniqueness. We began doing beer tastings on Tuesday nights coining the name: “Tuesday Brewsday with TNT.” I think you can figure out how we got TNT – Tony-n-Tom. So now we are Untapping beers, or maybe we should say Uncapping different styles of beer each Tuesday. You can taste four 4-ounce pours of the beers being served that night and if you like, take home one or more at $1 plus 10 percent off each.

As for this column, the goal is monthly to ‘Unplug’ about wine or beer or service that we provide so that you learn and experience what we like to call the third product we deliver: Good Company.