Rehan efforts create growth at Fine Vineyard
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After the corner bar, nothing speaks of a Milwaukee neighborhood more than its liquor store. Heading through the Third Ward out of Downtown, the first Walker's Point liquor store you'll come to is also one of its best, Fine Vineyard, 601 S. 1st St.
Located in a high-traffic crossroads of the neighborhood, Fine Vineyard is part of the Walker's Point Plaza, which runs between South 1st and 2nd Streets. Owned and operated by Rakesh Rehan, the liquor store used to be called Martha's Vineyard, which Rehan managed from when it opened in 2003 until he bought the store in 2008, when he also changed its name.
"The name change was at the suggestion of my accountant, in case of any potential conflicts. Also, everybody knows where the real Martha's Vineyard is," says Rehan.
Rehan and his Fine Vineyard staff pride themselves on having a lot of hard-to-find liquor, including Canton ginger brandy and St. Germain from France, Barenjager honey liqueur from Germany and Tuaca citrus and vanilla liqueur from Italy. Fine Vineyard also has the largest selection of Efe Turkish Raki in Milwaukee. All brands and bottles of Efe Raki sell for $26.99 and sit on the shelf next to Metaxa Ouzo, also not always easy to find.
The liquor store also specializes in high-end, single malt Scotch, carrying brands such as the 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, and single barrel whiskeys, like Willett rye.
Rehan says they always run wine and liquor specials. Some of the current specials include Ciroc peach vodka for $29.99, Bacardi liters for $14.99 and wines on sale from $3.99 to $20, such as Cupcake and Barefoot.
"I'm a big beer, wine and liquor guy. I'm selling what I know," says Rehan.
Rehan indeed knows his way around his alcoholic beverages, but he also knows people and takes care of his customers, knowing many by name and carrying on conversations about various wines and liquors while keeping the beer sales going.
On a recent visit, he transitioned from talking about the new High West double rye whiskey (sells for $34.99) with a customer fortunate to have a wallet full enough for his discerning tastes to talking with one of this author's Walker's Point neighbors about the price and quality differences of low-end vodka sold behind the counter (25 cents / no real difference in taste).
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