Meet Brian and Sue Larson!
Brian and Sue started out as home winemakers. They often purchased their supplies from the Lil’ Ole Winemaker Shoppe when it was located in the banquet room of Gulliver’s Landing in Rib Mountain, Wisconsin. During one such supply run, Mike and Gail Closer (owners at that time) made them an offer – “I have a wine shop for sale if you are interested.”
That simple statement changed the course of Brian and Sue’s lives. They decided to purchase the Lil’ Ole Winemaker Shoppe in September 2009. They worked closely with Mike and Gail, learning every aspect of the business – from ordering supplies to the business side.
Knowing that the banquet room was not a long-term solution, they began to look for a more suitable location. Since the wine was being manufactured in a converted garage of an adjacent house, the Larson’s approached the landlord about renting the entire building. The landlord agreed. Many hours were spent renovating what would be the storefront on the first floor of the building. They now had space for a wine display, tasting area and a gift shoppe. In October of 2009, they were ready for business.
Within three years of the purchase date, Brian and Sue realized that they were limited by its location, they needed to expand. So, the search for a new location began again. They found that location downtown Wausau, at 602 Jefferson Street. This new location had the retail space, winemaking space and meeting areas that they envisioned for growth.
After four weeks of extensive remodeling and inspections, the Lil’ Ole Winemaker Shoppe made its move to its current home. The doors opened in July 2013. Since that day, the Lil’ Ole Winemaker Shoppe has grown and built a reputation for its wine.
The main level consists of the Gift Shoppe, the Tasting Bar, lounge/table area, access to the Wine Garden and meeting rooms. You will often find Sue behind the tasting bar, enjoying conversations with regular customers and meeting new. style="color:
Brian spends the majority of his time in the 2000 sq. foot wine cellar, where the magic happens. The additional wine cellar space allowed Brian to increase production to meet the ever-increasing demand. Brian and Sue is always happy to help wine makers with any questions that they may have.