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Minnesotans To Meet: Katie Greeman, Of Spill The Wine

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’re a wine lover, there’s nothing better than sharing a glass with good friends. Spill the Wine on Lake Street is a perfect hangout to do that.

Between the rustic wood beams and the mason jar water glasses, it’s a romantic spot and a true labor of love for Katie Greeman.

She’s the owner, who had to overcome skeptics, tragedy and a move before finding the recipe for happiness.

On a busy Friday night, you’ll find Greeman buzzing between the tables, the bar and over to the kitchen.

There’s never a dull moment at Spill the Wine in Uptown. But on a Tuesday Morning, you’ll find Greeman and her son, Charlie, digging into her other demanding role of single mom.

While she never really pictured her life this way, waitressing and wanting to learn more about the business became infectious.

“I was studying to take my LSATs before I took on the GM role down the street,” Greeman said. “I loved it. I loved the business, the food cost, the liquor costs and labor and that stuff was fun for me and energized me.”

It’s also how she met her partner, Karl. And in 2007, after prodding from friends and making a business plan, they opened the original Spill the Wine on Washington Avenue in Minneapolis.

“The song came on by War called ‘Spill the Wine,’ which I had never heard, because I was 26 and my partner at the time knew it very well. He was a little older than me, and he turned it up and said, that’s what it’s going to be called, Spill the Wine. And from that point, it’s almost like we made a commitment,” Greeman said.

After opening the restaurant, the two got married.

A year later, along came Charlie. The business kept growing. Everything was picture perfect, until 2010.

“Karl passed away unexpectedly from advanced coronary heart disease and obviously that was the biggest turning point in my life,” Greeman said. “As much as I wanted to be in the restaurant business, I wanted to be in it with him … I didn’t want to be in it by myself.”

She surrounded herself with women, both friends and connections she made in professional organizations.

“They were the ones who would build me up and give me strength that I needed to remind me tomorrow is another day,” Greeman said.

That gave her the strength to make a move to Lyndale and Bryant in Uptown.

She wanted more of a neighborhood hangout.

Construction started in 2013. And she picked out all the decor herself.

In just its first year open, MSP Magazine named it the city’s Best Wine Bar.

And in the fall, Charlie will go to kindergarten. It’s these new exciting moments in life that get shared with her sisterhood, over a glass of wine.

“By the time you finish the wine, you have solved the world’s problems, you’ve caught up on each other’s stories, your friends, your family, there’s a story in every glass and every bottle of wine,” Greeman said.

And like some of the fine wines on her menu, her story is only getting better with time.

Her favorite wine is a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

Every four to six weeks they change out wine flights, so you’ll find something new to try almost every month, with an updated menu every six.

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