Fall in love with the stories behind your favorite wine, while shopping for your next favorite bottle at Public Wine.
A new wine shop is on the horizon for Old Town Lafayette, inspired by a love of wine and a desire to provide the community with specialty wines, connection, and education.
Sharing a passion for wine that is just as strong as their passion for the Lafayette community, Doug Wargo and Genae Lako will soon open the doors to their new business, Public Wine—a community-minded wine boutique for customers to ask questions, get recommendations, and build relationships with their wine.
“Public Wine came about in a really wonderful, serendipitous way. Doug and I both have an affinity for good wine, and we noticed a lack of smaller, specialty-curated selections of wine in the area. There wasn’t a place we could walk into and talk about what we were purchasing or looking for,” Genae said. “The idea of opening a wine shop was something that we always had in the back of our mind that we thought would be something fun to do someday.”
Doug and Genae are the perfect team to bring this concept to Old Town Lafayette. Each has their own expertise to contribute to the business, but their combined skill sets make them the ideal duo for this project. Doug spent more than 15 years in the restaurant and bar industry, with over a decade working specifically with fine wines and global vineyards. He’s also a woodworker by trade, which has made renovating their new space an even more personal experience. Meanwhile, Genae’s background in marketing and communications allows her to create a meaningful brand that represents Public Wine’s mission to break down the barriers in the wine community, build meaningful relationships, and share memorable experiences through really great wine.
Over time, their desire to open a more meaningful wine shop grew. They were tired of the big box stores and underwhelmed with the tiny wine shops with little selection. Instead, they wanted to create a real wine culture in Old Town Lafayette where people could fall in love with the stories behind the wine, just like they did.
“Once we found a location, the rest was just a perfect confluence of events and influences. It was all too perfect to ignore, so we dove in and started to make it happen,” Doug said.
Public Wine is not your typical wine shop; it’s a community gathering place open to conversations, expanding taste buds, and learning more about wine and where it came from.
“We don’t want to have a snooty environment where things are super expensive or obscure and nobody wants to talk to you. It’s important to us to create an environment that is very conversational when it comes to picking out wine,” Doug said.
Genae added, “I want to make wine and gaining knowledge about wine very approachable. Like how beer culture in Colorado is so down to earth. We want to bring a little bit of that to the wine scene.”
Both Genae and Doug value the history behind each bottle of wine and hope to establish lasting relationships with their winemakers, so they can share their stories with everyone who steps into Public Wine.
“Knowing where the wine comes from and knowing how much love and care is put into it is so transportive. The fact that you can open a bottle of wine and experience that is like a magic trick to me. Having a connection and narrative around wine is my favorite thing,” Doug said.
From experienced wine enthusiast to first time sippers, Public Wine will have the perfect bottle for any experience. The new shop will start with a relatively small selection of wine, but will be catering to what people are gravitating to as the store grows. If someone is looking for a particular wine, Public Wine can track it down.
Doug and Genae are hopeful that Public Wine will be ready for opening in early 2023. While they wait for final approvals and touch ups to the store, Doug and Genae continue to be in planning mode for the near future of Public Wine. They want to host in-store wine tastings so that their customers can experiment and try new and different wines. They are also excited about offering a local wine club at some point.
In the meantime, wine lovers can follow Public Wine on Instagram for updates about the exact opening date—and of course, people can check out their website for all the latest and greatest in the Public Wine story.