It’s been a long road for Wild Epitome, but Saturday it’s time to celebrate.
Pam and Robert Frei will hold a grand opening at the downtown winery and gift shop from noon to 4 p.m. There will be product samples, special pricing, and a mix of door prizes, include two grand-prize baskets based on coffee and wine themes.
The store is located at 816 Fifth Ave., the former Cutting Edge. It is among the linchpins of the downtown’s revitalization, aided in part by a series of city grant programs aimed at revitalizing the community’s core.
Saturday’s event marks the culmination of a long road for the Freis, who started a decade or more ago making wine at their home.
“We’ve gone through disappointments and the wrath of Mother Nature,” Pam Frei said, noting that damage to their building from a summer thunderstorm delayed production and the store opening for months. “Now, we’re comfortable with our production and where we’re at.”
Visitors to the shop will find a cozy, welcoming atmosphere, with a display of the various wines produced in basement facility, off-limits to the public.
But there’s much more as well, including an array of local and regionally-produced artwork and gifts.
“We’re working with Antigo Visual Artists and other organizations,” Pam said. “We try to emphasize local connections with everything we have.”
One of their suppliers is The Stock Market, located in Shawano. The purveyor of extra virgin olive oils, aged balsamic vinegars, loose leaf teas, gourmet goods and more has a tale similar to Wild Epitome, started by two sisters in a Shawano storefront.
There are also Sara J. Lang photos, bags and magnets, hand-glazed mugs, sea shell ornaments, Tapped Maple Syrup, candles, melts and warmers from Keeper of the Light, Grandma Dotties dip, dessert and drink mixes, and Do It with Coffee varieties.
And the Freis are always looking for more.
“We’ve got room to grow,” Pam said. “We want this to be a place where people can come in, sit down, enjoy a glass of wine and relax.”
While the gifts are an attraction, Wild Epitome’s star remains its wine.
The Freis specialize in country fruit wine in blackberry, blueberry and raspberry, made from 100 percent fruit.
They also make tea wine including blue velvet, featuring rosehips, hawthorn, blueberry and peach, and Rastanzie, which include hibiscus, rosehips, raspberry, tangerine and more.
They also offer mead in original honey and cinnamon clove honey. Soon-to-come will be ginseng wines and maple syrup mead along with cranberry raisin wine.
Wild Epitome opened quietly this summer, and the Freis said they were pleased with the initial response.
“We have been surprised,” Pam said. “We are getting a lot of interest and a lot of people stopping in.”
And with Christmas fast-approaching, that will likely continue.
Current hours are Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 7 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.
Source: Antigo Daily Journal, Thursday, November 14, 2019 edition.