Listen to the Podcast About Nineteen09 Wine Bar

Podcast for Nineteen09 Wine Bar

Podcast Summary

In this exciting episode of the Eventful Endeavors podcast, host Jake Ashey warmly welcomes his special guest, Cassie Ballweg, the owner of the historic Nineteen09 Wine Bar located in Cross Plains.

Cassie shares the intriguing backstory of Nineteen09 Wine Bar, a name that ingeniously serves as the address for the establishment. This captivating wine bar, nestled in a historic stone building dating back to 1854, originally served as a general store and post office. The establishment’s distinct history and aesthetic charm are highlighted by its robust 27 inch thick stone walls, preserving most of its original character.

Jake Ashey delves further into the specifics of the exclusive features of Nineteen09 Wine Bar. As Cassie elaborates, guests not only get to relish in the rich history and ambience, but they can also serve themselves from 16 varieties of wine-on-tap, making the Nineteen09 Wine Bar a unique cornerstone in the Cross Plains, Middleton, Madison area. Alongside the self-serve wine situation, the wine bar also serves an array of beer, seltzer, and mixed drinks, rounding off a thorough and varied menu.

As a community hub, the Nineteen09 Wine Bar hosts a myriad of events like art classes, workshops, and trivia. Highlighting the imminent summer season, Cassie shares her excitement for the recurrence of the crowd-favorite event, Dueling Pianos. The charm of Nineteen09 Wine Bar clearly transcends its historic walls, making it a vital part of the local community, bustling with activity and entertainment.

Learn more about Nineteen09 Wine Bar

This interview was provided by Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos

Podcast Transcript

Jake Ashey (00:24)
Hello everybody in the universe. Welcome to the Eventful Endeavors podcast. I am your host, Jake Ashey here in Madison, Wisconsin. Delighted to introduce you to my guest today. This is the owner of the historic wine bar, Nineteen09 Wine Bar in Cross Plains. Everybody say hi to Cassie Ballweg. How are you doing today, Cassie?

Cassie Ballweg (00:44)
Hi everyone, I am fantastic. Very excited to be on the podcast today.

Jake Ashey (00:50)
Yes! We are so excited to have you. I know we’ve got a bunch of shows coming up this summer. It’s always a party. We’re looking forward to it.

Cassie Ballweg (00:58)
Oh yeah, yes, we love dueling pianos coming to the wine bar and Cross Plains has become like the staple event of Cross Plains, Middleton, Madison area of the summer. It’s one of our most favorite things we do and we get very excited when summer rolls around because we know it’s dueling pianos time.

Jake Ashey (01:10)
Love hearing that.

I love that. I love that. We love Governor Cross Plains So, um, love to jump in and hear a bit about this wine bar. Can you explain for people who have never been never had the pleasure of experiencing, uh, what is Nineteen09? Where’d that name come from as well?

Cassie Ballweg (01:32)
Yeah, absolutely.

So Nineteen09 is actually the address. I actually purchased Nineteen09 from the previous owners back in July. We actually opened in July of 2018. And then I worked here for a while in a couple different capacities and then took over ownership. So yes, the name is the address. But when you see our building, people assume that it’s the year it was built. Because it’s a very old historic stone building in a very old historic town in Wisconsin.

Jake Ashey (01:37)

Cassie Ballweg (02:04)
The building was actually built in 1854 as a general store and post office. So people assume that 99 was the year but it was actually built you know 60 years before that. So the name is actually the address so we’re really easy to find. If you know our name you know where we’re at.

Jake Ashey (02:08)
Thank you.

I love that, that is super easy to find. What a twist as well, that’s like even 60 years older than you thought it was. It was. You do it.

Cassie Ballweg (02:26)
Right, yes, and you can tell the building is very cool. It has 27 inch thick stone walls, has a lot of the original character. It’s a very, very cool building along with being a very cool, very cool wine bar, if I do say so myself.

Jake Ashey (02:32)

Absolutely. Tell us more about that. I know you guys got some really cool modern features.

Cassie Ballweg (02:46)
Yeah, so we have 16 self-serve wines on tap. And so if wine is your jam, it’s all self-serve. So you interact with the bartender to get your wine card, and then you act as your own bartender. So that’s our claim to fame in the area. But outside of that, we are so much more. We actually have more beer, seltzer, mixed drinks, that kind of thing, options than we do wine, but the self-serve wine situation is pretty cool. So we are a regular bar.

Jake Ashey (03:01)
Yes, it’s crazy.

Thank you.

Cassie Ballweg (03:15)
We’re open five days a week, just like any other bar, with a ton of events sprinkled in. We do a lot of things that you don’t necessarily see at a typical bar, art classes, workshops, doing pianos, live music. We bring food trucks, trivia, anything for anybody, any interest, we’ve got it.

Jake Ashey (03:32)

You get a ton of stuff going on. That’s very cool. Any events coming up that you’re particularly excited about?

Cassie Ballweg (03:41)
Yeah, definitely.

Well, dueling pianos, of course. We have, we just dropped our tickets for all four shows that we have this summer. Those fill up really fast. We almost always sell out. I can only think this is our either third or fourth summer having dueling pianos come. Felix and Figures specifically. And we’ve only a handful of times not sold out. So that is by far, like I said, most popular. We also have started a murder mystery party series. So every few months I write a murder mystery event.

Jake Ashey (03:49)
Yeah, I guess I do.

and I’ll say it. Yeah.

I don’t.


Cassie Ballweg (04:17)
Everybody gets a character and a costume and a little bit of a script. And you come and you figure out who was murdered at this party. That’s a huge hit. We have our June 1 out on our website. And then we also have a class in creation series that we are really excited about where you come and for about a half hour you learn a skill or you learn about something.

Jake Ashey (04:35)
Thank you.

Cassie Ballweg (04:36)
them and then for the second half you actually get to create something. So tonight for example, we are doing candle painting. So everybody who bought tickets will be learning about how to paint a candle and how to make it last and how different ways and then they get all the materials to paint some candles to take home with them. So that’s a lot of fun.

Jake Ashey (04:40)
It’s really good.

Also, writing your own mysteries, that sounds like a fun little side to it.

Cassie Ballweg (04:58)
Yes, so fun.

Super hard. It definitely uses all of my creative juices. And people love them so much that they want to do them all the time. But it takes me three to four months to write. They’re three-hour events. It takes me a long time to write those. But that’s why I got into this business. I mean, we’re definitely, we’re a bar, but we’re also an event center. And that’s the kind of stuff I enjoy doing. And so getting to use my brain in that way is a lot of fun.

Jake Ashey (05:11)
Jeez, yeah, that’s cool.


I do a lot with it. Well, really you’re doing a lot with it. So, very fun. Kind of treating it like a playground for a bunch of fun events and features. What brought you, what did you do before running the bar? How did you make your weight in it?

Cassie Ballweg (05:31)

Yeah, sure. So I graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in rehab psychology, and then I used that for a while teaching preschool, a lot of times with kiddos with special needs, and then I was a respite care specialist for a while. When I was teaching preschool, I had my first daughter and decided I wanted to be home with her during the day, and so that’s when I got a job bartending here at Nineteen09. Things kind of spiraled. I quickly, after that, became the event coordinator, got to

Jake Ashey (06:00)
Oh yeah

Cassie Ballweg (06:09)
stuff and then became the manager. And the story to ownership is I think a little funny. My husband and I have had own a bar on our bucket list for retirement since we met. We always thought that would be fun, something we’d be really good at. And so I put a bug in the owner’s ear here at Nineteen09 and they happen to say, yeah we’re ready to move on. We’re ready to do something else.

Jake Ashey (06:24)
That’s awesome. Yeah.


Cassie Ballweg (06:35)
And so a few months after that, we signed on the dotted line and became owners.

Jake Ashey (06:40)
Wow. What an incredible story and just great evidence that just be bold and ask those questions because they could just say yes. That is so cool. Crossing retirement bucket list off of stuff already. That’s very cool. And it’s living up to the hype. You guys loving it?

Cassie Ballweg (06:50)
Right, exactly.


Oh, we are absolutely loving it. Yes, there are obviously challenges with owning a small business. It’s very hard to turn it off. It’s kind of a 24-hour job, but thankfully, it’s something we love.

My husband Tyler and I do this together. We both also have full-time jobs outside of running Nineteen09, so we’re very thankful. We have a full staff of bartenders so that we get to focus on the behind-the-scenes creative business side of things and then we have amazing staff who will be the ones actually pouring your drinks and handing you your wine card. So we’re very fortunate that we’re able to do everything that we do.

Jake Ashey (07:14)
Oh wow.

That’s fantastic. Yeah, great staff, supportive staff. Love that, you got so much in the back. And yeah, you guys gotta come by, get that wine card and try that self-serve wine. That’s the way of the future. Has that rollout been that, has that rollout been pretty good? How long have you guys had that feature?

Cassie Ballweg (07:41)
Yes, yeah.

That was the business model from the beginning. From day one, we had the self-serve wine machine. So we have two machines, eight bottles of wine in each machine. We’d like to expand one day, but for right now, this is really serving us well. So it’s very…

becoming very popular in the area, these machines are kind of popping up and it’s just such a easy way for people to try different things or you know maybe try something they haven’t tried or if they know they really like something they know that we’ll always have it have it in the machine. So it’s a really fun really fun way to get your wine.

Jake Ashey (08:20)
It is, you’ve completely eliminated the fear of mispronunciation of strange regional reprimands, so I’m feeling good.

Cassie Ballweg (08:23)
Exactly, yes. Yeah, and we pride ourselves on not being a snooty wine bar. We don’t care what you drink out of, we don’t care what you drink, we don’t care what you don’t like. It’s a great, it’s a very relaxed place to come and try something new.

Jake Ashey (08:30)

Fantastic, fantastic. And you guys do host events, private events and weddings as well.

Cassie Ballweg (08:45)
Yes. Our main

Um, event that we do or baby and bridal showers. We do a baby or bridal shower every Saturday and Sunday from April 1st to October 31st with a few sprinkled in, um, during the winter. This is Wisconsin. After all the winters tend to, you know, people tend to stay home and people really don’t get married in the winter as much here in Wisconsin. So that’s our big market is showers. Um, and we’ve really entered in the last probably 12 months, the wedding world. We have a smaller venue. Um, but we’ve noticed something that has come, maybe a positive thing

from COVID is more intimate style weddings. So that’s definitely something we’re seeing more of people either getting married later in life or just really wanting their closest people here with them. Our venue can hold 75 people up to 150 if our patio is tented. So we can host larger groups, but that 80 person wedding range, that’s really our niche. That’s where we’ve got it down. So.

Jake Ashey (09:27)


We’re doing a ton of those too. I’ve also noticed that same trends, kind of more intimacy, but then you kind of can invest even more in your guest experiences. But that’s 75 number 80. That’s actually what I had my wedding, it was 80 people. And I vouch for that group of people with such a great level of intimacy with kind of all your guests. And I wish we’d done it with you guys. I would kill to have guests also get to use the self-service line bar. That’s a cool statement. That’s it.

Cassie Ballweg (10:08)
Right, right, yeah.

Jake Ashey (10:11)
Oh, that’s great. Well, so you’re seeing some smaller groups. You’re 12 months in. You’re catering to kind of 75 to 150 person weddings. Any particularly fun things you’ve seen from some of your guests? Some new ideas?

Cassie Ballweg (10:27)
Yeah, one thing we’ve seen a lot, especially for our venue. So we don’t do any food. So everything, all food is catered in for events. We allow any outside food, even when you’re just coming to drink your wine, you can bring food with you. So we’ve seen a lot of food trucks. That has become kind of the thing. Sit down dinners, we’ve noticed at least in our niche is kind of a thing of the past. People like to…

Jake Ashey (10:43)

Cassie Ballweg (10:49)
grab food and dance and drink and mingle kind of as the night goes on. So that’s the biggest trend we’ve seen is one or two food trucks. They’ll park right outside our venue and people can go grab food as they’d like, which I think is so cool and so relaxed and very fitting of our laid back venue.

Jake Ashey (11:04)
Yeah, that’s fantastic. Wine bar and food truck combo. Very potent, very powerful. And I’ve been hearing that from others as well, is more of, they like that mingling vibe, the kind of mobility, but having it be just the tone, kind of feel more casual, invest in the connections and experiences of the guests. So I’ve been hearing that elsewhere as well. It’s really exciting. I’ve personally loved that vibe when I’m playing this way.

Cassie Ballweg (11:08)



Me too.

Jake Ashey (11:31)
And then for if you’re if you got us and it’s you know me and Cassey working together and you get an all request show coming up and it’s just laid back fun. It’s fantastic.

Cassie Ballweg (11:39)
Yeah, definitely. One thing that I will be remissed if I don’t mention about our venue here that is kind of unique is I have actually been sober for 613 days No big story there. No, you know, no real reason other than I just while my kids are little I’ve decided to put alcohol on the back burner. So we actually purchased Nineteen09 when I was almost a year sober Which I think is pretty unique. I mean I bought a bar and Knew I wanted to even when I started my

Jake Ashey (11:44)
Please. Yeah.

Thank you guys very much.


Cassie Ballweg (12:08)
my sobriety journey. So we actually have one of the largest non-alcoholic menus in the Madison area and that is very important to us. We are really big on if you come to my bar there’s going to be something you can drink whether you’re consuming alcohol or you’re not. Judgment free zone, no questions asked, we have something for everybody. So that’s very important to our business model.

Jake Ashey (12:14)
Oh, no.


That is very cool. I bet that makes a lot of people feel seen and respected and appreciated. What a cool story. I mean, such a, to be one, celebrate one year sober by buying a bar, that’s such an unorthodox and declaimed thing, courageous, and clearly it’s working out. So that’s great. That’s great.

Cassie Ballweg (12:44)

You’re right. Yes. Yep. So I get to leave the wine tasting out to my husband and I always make sure we’ve got an awesome non-alcoholic old-fashioned on behind the bar. So we’ve got again something for everybody.

Jake Ashey (12:59)
model. You’ll have to wait for that to take a try at one of those. That sounds great. That’s fantastic. I love it. So we talked about some of the fun stuff that you’re liking or seeing. Are there any kind of just flip side of the coin? Any cringe-worthy moments you’ve seen kind of in your first year of weddings? Things that you wouldn’t want repeated? I’d like to know. They like to know what they were trying to avoid.

Cassie Ballweg (13:03)

Hmm, that’s a great question. I think that…

Right? Right. Gosh, that’s a hard one. I think I have been very impressed by how unique everything has been. I guess since our realm is the, you know, baby bridal shower, I think the most cringe worthy showers are the ones and even weddings I’ve seen are where now weddings are harder for what I’m about to say. But when you bring two sides of the family together, that probably should host events separately when there is a clear divide in the room between dad’s side of the family

Jake Ashey (13:30)
Thank you.

Oh, yeah.

Cassie Ballweg (13:54)
mom’s side of the family and no one is mingling, that’s real awkward for your bartender because it’s palpable in the room when maybe you should have hosted shower separately. That’s been the most, yeah, when you’re behind the bar and you can tell that there are people who are not happy with each other, that gets a little awkward.

Jake Ashey (14:01)

with advice.


Yeah, that’s definitely a process, you know, joining families together for sure. So you’ll see them in the shower phase. It’s some great advice for sure. Yeah, very cool. Excellent. Well, I know we’re looking super forward to a lot of these events. Let’s see, we talked about some good ideas, some, some maybe things you want to avoid if you’re planning the showers, overall trends in the industry.

Cassie Ballweg (14:21)
Yes, yeah.


Jake Ashey (14:40)
Any other advice that you would give? We have a lot of prospective brides or people hosting other private events listening to this podcast. If you’re starting your journey, anything else you’d give advice to that person.

Cassie Ballweg (14:51)
Yeah, I think that, you know, the one piece of advice I would have is to worry more about the experience than what everything looks like. You know, everybody in the moment will notice your pretty centerpieces and they’ll notice your gorgeous charcuterie table and everything, but what they’ll really take away is if they had fun. And I think that if you can take the pressure off yourself to have the perfect number of votives and the perfect color scheme, if you can take the pressure off yourself and just worry about…

Jake Ashey (14:59)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Cassie Ballweg (15:19)
having fun and really throwing the party that you want to have to celebrate whatever you’re celebrating, that’s the most important piece and that’s what people will remember.

Jake Ashey (15:27)
That’s fantastic piece of advice couldn’t agree. I’m obviously biased as an entertainer But I always say the same thing as the things that are gonna create those lasting memories are gonna be those experiences I love that very cool Well last you guys if you haven’t been yet got to go to cross planes check out Nineteen09 Wine Bar Nineteen spelled out 09 is the numbers love that it’s a great touch Check out their self serve wine bar and their extensive

Cassie Ballweg (15:32)

Yeah, absolutely.


Jake Ashey (15:57)
Non-alcoholic menu. What’s some of the best non-alcoholic items you can get there, Cassie? What do you recommend? What’s your non-alcoholic recommendation on top of the menu?

Cassie Ballweg (15:58)
Yes. Yeah. Absolutely.

Ooh, let’s see. I got two favorites. The Spiritless Old Fashioned is fantastic. You would not know. It’s got the burn you love. It’s got the flavor that you love. You wouldn’t know it’s non-alcoholic. And then anything from the Shirley non-alcoholic wine brand, Cream of the Crab, amazing. Again, you wouldn’t know you were drinking a non-alcoholic glass of red wine. It’s incredible.

Jake Ashey (16:09)



The fantastic, bold words in Wisconsin, the non-alcoholic old fashioned, people know how to order them. Do they have the same code, same lingo, or is it not so much for all of that? Sure, sure, yeah.

Cassie Ballweg (16:38)

So a lot of things in the non-alcoholic world are premixed. So you can’t really, you know, you can’t say I’d like a, you know, old-fashioned press or sweets, whatever. It’s kind of, the non-alcoholic world is growing, but right now a lot of it’s premixed. But yeah, I love that I can, you know, Friday night, just with everybody else, order my old-fashioned. Yeah.

Jake Ashey (17:05)
There we go. See if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic version of an old-fashioned to go with your fish fry. There you have it. Awesome. Well, guys, thanks so much for tuning in. This has been… Thanks, Cassie, so much for taking the time with us today. I know we have a discount. Potentially, if you are listening to this podcast and you’re interested, you can get 10% off your tab at $19.09. How about that?

Cassie Ballweg (17:10)
Yep, exactly.

Yeah, absolutely just mentioned that you heard me chatting here and you get a little discount. Ha ha ha.

Jake Ashey (17:36)
Awesome. Well, thanks so much, Cassie. Everybody, thanks so much for tuning in to Inventful Endeavors. Have an awesome week.

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