A self-service wine bar? Its time has come. Kate Biechler shares ownership of Toot + Kate’s, 109 S. Main St., Verona, with her husband, Ryan, and sister, Megan “Toot” Clark. “People are hungry for some nightlife in that area,” says Biechler.
While it’s not the only self-service wine in the Madison area — Festival Food’s “Mezz” area also features the technology — it is the only one in a dedicated bar, rather than a supermarket. Toot + Kate’s enomatic wine system, which looks a little bit like a high-tech vending machine, houses 16 wines. The eight whites and eight reds are arranged from sweetest to driest white, and then from lightest-bodied to heaviest-bodied red. Each bottle is hooked up to a tap containing a nitrogen system (to eliminate oxidation) and to a computer that controls the pours. Wines stay fresh for up to 21 days; the system helps eliminate waste.
Patrons are given a wine card loaded with $100 after leaving an ID or credit card. They then pick a wine, put a glass under the spout and insert the card. Lastly, there’s a button to push for the size of the pour: a 2.5-ounce taste, a 5-ounce glass or a 7-ounce quartino. At the end of the night, patrons settle the tab by handing in the wine card.
Not into wine? Toot + Kate’s has a full-service bar, craft beers, champagne and sangria (seasonally). Cheese plates, olives and chocolate are also on the menu, along with pairing suggestions. Customers are welcome to bring in their own food, too, as long as it doesn’t compete with anything on the menu. Customers sometimes order takeout from nearby Avantis Italian Restaurant and have it delivered.
Nine Vines moscato has been Toot + Kate’s top-selling wine to date. Currently, featured wines include local Wollersheim riesling, Migration Pinot Noir and Tortoise Creek red zinfandel.
The shop hosts live music regularly and is available for private parties.