The backstory: Molly Moran earned an English degree and worked at Epic Systems Corp. for several years before deciding to open her own business. “I honestly thought it would be a bookstore,” she says. But Moran, who has also worked in restaurants, now uses her experience to help others select and learn about great, affordable wine at Table Wine on Atwood Avenue.
The vibe: The shop’s dark teal walls were inspired by colors from The Blue Marlin, the restaurant that closed in 2015 after 29 years on Capitol Square. “I fell in love with the color after having dinner there,” Moran says. “I wanted my shop to be a color that I love and makes me feel calm.” Chalkboards and light pink accents around the shop make for just the kind of serene surroundings Moran was going for.
The menu: Each built-in shelving unit at Table Wine displays wines from a different region of the world, and you can browse between Italy, Spain, South America and others. Moran hand-selects the wines in her store, and she tastes about 50 wines per week. “I’m constantly learning about a new varietal or a new technique that I didn’t know about,” she says. And almost every bottle of wine in the store is less than $25. “There are some outliers, but I try to keep everything in that $12-$20 sweet spot,” Moran says.
The must-try: You’ll often find displays within this Atwood Avenue store offering tidbits of information about certain wines, and you can sign up for sit-down lessons here, too. More than once a week throughout the winter, Table Wine classes last about an hour and a half and are typically taught by Moran. Learn about particular varietals, regions, food pairings and more at one of these intimate classes, which start at $15.
The bottom line: Moran enjoys wine that she personally would buy and drink, which translates to a sincere, unpretentious atmosphere perfect for asking questions when picking up a bottle of wine to take home, or learning about a certain pour at a wine class. “I don’t have a cellar. I don’t memorize vintages. I just wanted table wine. That’s why the store is called what it is,” she says.
2045 Atwood Ave., No. 111, 284-9732
Andrea Behling is managing editor of Madison Magazine.