From hobby to business, Wine Time owner prepares to share passion with community

Oct. 3, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by Wine Time on Main.

Call it the birthday present that has kept on giving for 30 years.

Bob Novak had taken his wife, Cathy, to a birthday dinner at a downtown Sioux Falls restaurant when the waitress started talking to them about wine.

She ended up recommending a Georges Duboeuf Pouilly-Fuisse, a golden colored wine from the Maconnais region of France.

The bottle sparked an interest in discovering other new wines that led them to a wholesale house in California, where they ordered their first case of Pahlmeyer Chardonnay.

“Pahlmeyer became one of our favorite wines with that case,” Novak said.

By day, Novak ran the growing business Novak Sanitary Service, which he’d bought from his parents days before he turned 18.

But while waste services were his profession, wine became his passion.

“The one thing I love is it’s the hobby you can share with everybody,” he said.

Based on that initial case of wine, the Novaks’ sales connection in California began figuring out their palates. While they’ve never met her, she has kept them supplied with enough wine to fill a home cellar.

Originally, they had one that held 1,000 bottles.

Their newer one holds more than 3,000 bottles.

“And we’re maxed out,” Novak said.

The lower level of his home includes the cellar, a bar and seating area that opens to an outdoor space. It’s all quite conducive to sharing his hobby.

“I’ve been accused of changing a lot of people’s wine drinking habits,” he said.

Some rare finds in the cellar include a port from 1855 – “there were only two casks found and only 80 bottles ever released” – a 105-year-old port and a 1927 Alvear Solera he compares to a dessert wine.

There’s one bottle that holds the equivalent of a case of wine. And there’s still some Pahlmeyer Chardonnay from the 1990s that “still drinks really well,” Novak said.

As he prepared to ease into retirement at Novak Sanitary Service last year, a trip through downtown’s Washington Square inspired his new business venture.

When he saw that first-floor space and heard the building owners were hoping for a wine bar there, it seemed like an ideal way to blend his business experience with his decades of wine appreciation.

The name of his boat is Wine Time. The license plate on Cathy’s car reads WINE TIME.

So deciding what to call the venture probably was a predetermined conclusion.

“I got five or six people together who knew me well, and we sat around with a couple bottles, and what kept coming back was Wine Time on Main, and it kind of stuck.”

Wine Time plans to open in late October. And while it won’t help deplete the Novaks’ cellar – legally he can’t sell his personal collection – there’s nothing to stop him from offering the occasional free sample.

One of his friends from St. Helena Winery in Napa Valley is going to private label 20 cases of Wine Time wine for the bar. And while he doesn’t buy as much personally as he used to, the expertise and relationships formed will now benefit downtown wine drinkers.

“It’s amazing what 20 years of collecting will do,” he said.

From hobby to business, Wine Time owner prepares to share passion with community

We promise: You’ve never seen a wine cellar like this. Best part? The owner is about to share his hobby with all of us when Wine Time on Main opens later this month!

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