Bringing the ‘etcetera’ to wine bar
Vino Etc. undertakes new ownership, extends offerings

By Alex Nemec

Jan. 24, 2019

Brian Borkowski, pictured bartending, bought Vino Etc. and started running the Wisconsin Avenue wine bar on Jan. 1.
Submitted photo

OCONOMOWOC — Vino Etc. is under new ownership as of Jan. 1 with former Vino Etc. bartender Brian Borkowski taking over.

Borkowski said he has lived in Oconomowoc for 15 years, and after being a high school coach at University Lake School and Lake County Lutheran High School, he stepped down when his son got to high school.

“(It) made me want to find another creative outlet,” Borkowski said. “Four years ago I started bartending at Vino. From there, I’ve always had a passion for owning an establishment.”

Borkowski said he wants to be famous for his customer service. “You can’t do everything, but I do want to react, innovate and change,” he said.

In his four years of bartending at Vino Etc., 120 E. Wisconsin Ave., Borkowski said he knows the clientele and what they are looking for.

“They want a clean, lively, atmosphere. I’ve opened up our space a little bit to avoid clutter and made it inviting,” Borkowski said. “We also have live music where artists can show up, set up and perform an acoustic show, which people really like.”

Vino Etc. offers a wine club where members get a loyalty card and special discounts.

It was expanded to a bourbon club with the same benefits, Borkowski said.

Customers had said to Borkowski that they didn’t come in because they wanted to watch sports games while having a glass of wine, but Vino Etc., didn’t have a TV.

So Borkowski added a TV to watch, along with a revamped menu and a slew of specialty drinks since taking over.

“My wife and I created our own spin on an old fashioned, which is an old fashioned with pinot noir with either bourbon or brandy,” he said.

Borkowski said Vino Etc. is known for its wine, but wants people to know the wine bar is also stocked as a full bar.

“We have slew of bourbons and vodkas,” Borkowski said. “We’re famous for wine, but we are a full bar.

“The sign says vino, but I’m bringing the etcetera.”