“After the Vine” opens in Rockton

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Connie Kieffer, owner and manager of "After the Vine" Wine Bar is ready to open something new in Rockton. Kieffer will carry a large variety of quality wines and a smaller selection of craft beers and spirits.

For the past few months, wine lovers have been eagerly awaiting the opening of “After the Vine,” a unique wine bar tucked away at 181 Hawick St. in Rockton, between The Mix and Rockton Sanctuary Spa.

The wait is over. At the end of September 2021, Connie Kieffer opened her doors to a new Rockton experience. 

"I have always thought it would be great to own my own business," Kieffer said. She looked around Rockton and realized there was something missing in the quaint little village: a quiet spot to sit down with friends and have a nice glass of wine - a wine-tasting shop.

She began scouting different store options and businesses in Rockton and eventually found what she was looking for on Hawick St, across from Settlers Park.

Kieffer said she enjoys wine and is eager to learn more about it. “I’m not a wine expert, but I wanted to open a comfortable and approachable place where people could taste an assortment of red and white wine and purchase what they want by the glass or bottle.” Wines will vary in price from $9 to $100 per bottle.

“After the Vine” will not offer food, other than charcuterie boards. In
addition to a large assortment of wines, the bar will have a small selection of spirits and craft beer from Lena Brewery. (Her daughter is the manager of the Lena, Il. brewery.)

Pairing wine with different foods and different occasions has become a popular trend in recent years.

Kieffer has already reached out to several businesses in the area for pairing opportunities. Owners of Sugar Britches and 808 Cheesecakes in Janesville (formerly in Roscoe) are interested.

"After the Vine" is open for business. The cozy wine bar is located on Hawick Street across from Settlers Park in Rockton.

The entire 2,000 square feet space has been renovated. It easily holds 60 people. Kieffer’s taste is evident in the soft moody orange walls and charred wood shelving that bring out the style and ambiance in the room.

Several comfortable chairs are scattered throughout. Cozy tables and chairs for two, or a party of eight, fill the room. The large bar is lined in stone-faced tile laid by Kieffer herself.

Once the business is up and running, she plans to add low-key live music.

The wine bar is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Kieffer wants to introduce wines by holding “Chardonnay Night” or French Bordeaux Night, and to host special occasions such as bridal showers and birthday celebrations. 

Born and raised in Freeport, Kieffer spent many years working in retail and the restaurant industry. She lived in Pearl City and in Machesney Park, where she raised her son and daughter. She now makes Rockton her home and is excited to open her business and put down roots.

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