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Partners in wine: Making pour decisions
Friends open new wine bar in downtown Monroe
wine bar
Spilled Grapes Wine Bar opens this week on Monroe’s downtown square. The new business started from the ground up by friends Amanda Spotts, left, and Tina Buholzer, right. The bar features a computer pouring system (left), which will allow patrons to determine how much — or little — they have with each glass. Spilled Grapes is one of 18 businesses participating in Main Street Monroe’s April 26 Wine Walk. - photo by Natalie Dillon

MONROE — Wine connoisseurs rejoice — Monroe is getting a new self-pour wine bar on its historic downtown square. Owners Teena Buholzer and Amanda Spotts are opening Spilled Grapes Wine Bar at 1010 17th Avenue just in time for Main Street Monroe’s Wine Walk.

The idea blossomed over a glass of wine — how else? — and conversation between Buholzer and Spotts where the two thought Monroe could benefit from a wine bar.

“We both enjoy a good glass of wine and have visited and enjoyed wine at similar places with the concept of a self-pour wine bar over the years,” Spotts said. “We felt that Monroe could really benefit from having a cozy, relaxing self-pour wine bar right at the heart of town.”

What makes Spilled Grapes Wine Bar stand out from the rest is its self-pour concept where customers can pay for a card, swipe for their desired wine, choose how much to drink and the machine does the rest. 

Self-pour locations are growing nationwide and locally — Dirty Dog Taphaus in New Glarus; Victory Pickleball in Loves Park, Ill.; Leinies Lodge and 3rd Street Market in Milwaukee are all self-pour establishments. The benefit of this model is that customers can sample a variety of alcohol before committing to a larger portion.

spilled grapes
Spilled Grapes is one of 18 businesses participating in Main Street Monroe’s April 26 Wine Walk. - photo by Natalie Dillon

When it comes to wine specifically, Buholzer and Spotts say that customer taste buds can differ drastically. What one person describes as oak or floral could taste like smoke or jam to others.

“The self-pour concept allows the wine drinker to try multiple varieties and the option to go and select a small pour, half glass, full glass, or even a bottle to share once they find that one they like,” Spotts said. “Part of the experience is trying wines from all over the world, as we rotate bottles throughout the year, focusing on particular regions as well as different varieties of grapes.”

If wine is not at the top of one’s list, the bar also offers beer, malt beverages, champagne, mimosas and sangrias.

And what better to pair with wine than a little bit of cheese? To complete the experience, Spilled Grapes Wine Bar will also have a variety of award-winning cheeses on site.

“We are fortunate that our area and state offer the best varieties of cheese available — most of them award winning,” Spotts said. “Like a lot of businesses in the region, cheese sales are a staple and almost expected from visitors and locals that venture out to shop or dine.”

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Spilled Grapes Wine Bar features a computer pouring system (left), which will allow patrons to determine how much — or little — they have with each glass. - photo by Natalie Dillon

Spilled Grapes Wine Bar plans to open just in time for Main Street Monroe’s annual Wine Walk from 4-9 p.m. on Friday, April 26. The event features 18 businesses that will provide two wines or a beer and cider for sampling, as well as food. It is also an opportunity to cash in on shop specials going on.

“We are genuinely excited to share the experience with the wine walkers and are hopeful they will come back with friends and family,” Spotts said. “The Main Street does a great job promoting the Wine Walk and it is at the perfect time for us to lock in a definite opening date and really dive into seeing how the concept is going to be perceived by wine lovers during the event.”

Tickets are $30 per person for general admission or Early Bird Tickets for $40 per person, which allows consumers to start at 4 p.m. versus 5 p.m. A Designated Driver ticket is $20 per person. They can be purchased through or by calling Main Street Monroe at 608-328-4023. Registration begins at 2:30 p.m. and goes until 6 p.m. at Buehler Interiors (1900 12th Street).

On the night of the event, participants must pick up their tickets and wristband at Buehler Interiors. A photo ID is required. There, consumers will also get a brochure of participating businesses and what they offer. From that point on, the night is determined by guests — the pace and sampling are up to them.

Participating Businesses

Main Street Monroe’s annual Wine Walk will take place from 5-9 p.m. April 26.

■ House to Home Designs

■ JoAnne’s Dress Shop

■ Bliss Salon

■ Toy Haus

■ Luecke’s Diamond Center

■ Frame ‘n Color

■ Made to Inspire*

■ Max’s Threads

■ Payne Coffee Haus & Odditeas^

■ Thrift & Thrive

■ Green County Historical Society Museum*

■ 213 Mercantile

■ Monroe Antiques Mall

■ Spilled Grapes Wine Bar^

■ The Local Joint

■ Urban Spa & Boutique

■ Vintique Junque

■ Minhas Kitchen & Wine Garden

*First Wine Walk  ^New Business