FARGO — The owner is ready to put a cork in her time with custom winery Uncorked, but she hopes someone else will buy the business and keep the wine flowing for years to come.
Kathy Swiontek said she’ll close Uncorked, 1700 32nd Ave. S., before her lease is up at the end of June. She plans to liquidate her inventory and supplies in the weeks leading up to that.
But she’d rather find someone to buy Uncorked and continue the business she’s run and owned for nearly seven years.
Swiontek made the announcement last week on the Uncorked Facebook page, dreading having to “disappoint” her long-time customers who have enjoyed custom-made wines for weddings or special occasions.
“That was the hardest thing to tell my customers, ‘Well, I’m not going to be making you wine anymore,’ ” she said.
Swiontek has already downsized things a bit in her time with Uncorked, which was a Vintner’s Cellar franchise when she first started managing it in July 2010 while the business was in downtown Fargo.
After learning the tricks of the trade and managing the bar, restaurant and winery for several months, as well as securing all the licenses she needed to own the business, she dropped out of the Vintner’s Cellar franchise network and changed to independent winery Uncorked in 2011.
She moved Uncorked to its current location in 2014, dropping the restaurant and bar components to focus on the winery side of the business. Now, she said she’s ready to downsize more.
Swiontek’s start with Uncorked was a bit of a surprise in the first place. At the time, she was a graphic design teacher in Valley City, N.D., and as she prepared to move to Fargo to be with her fiance, she realized she couldn’t get a similar job here.
Ted Swiontek owned Oven Door Catering, and they had made batches of wine at Vintner’s Cellar before, so she decided to buy the business that could complement his catering company.
But he sold Oven Door Catering about a year and a half ago and has a “normal job” and normal schedule with Food Services of America now, and Kathy Swiontek said she wants that, too.
“It’s kind of up in the air,” she said about her plans after Uncorked. “Just something with less responsibility and weekends off with my husband and vacation with my husband.”
Even though she’s looking forward to the change, she said it’s “bittersweet” to start thinking about life after Uncorked.
Swiontek is asking customers to get their final orders in by Friday, April 7, so she’ll have time to order supplies next week and process the orders for one last batch.
While she’s preparing to wind down at Uncorked and sell off her inventory, Swiontek said she’d much rather sell the business to someone who can keep it open in the community.
She said many of her regulars bring in their own fruit, including apples, grapes, rhubarb and chokecherries, to make custom wine. She’s even turned red beets and vidalia onions into wine, and she said she’s learned just about anything can be used with a little creativity.
“I have a really loyal customer base, and I enjoy every single one of them,” she said. “I will miss that.”
Where: 1700 32nd Ave. S., Fargo
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Phone: (701) 356-4014