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April 11, 2018

The Engineer & The Hippy Chick

Meet the Harrisville Modern Craft Wine Tasting Room


“We’re the un-franchise franchise,” chuckles Tom Nixon, owner of Modern Craft Wine. “Each tasting room is independently operated. But, where normal franchises produce carbon copies and apply strict branding rules to ensure similarity, no two Modern Craft Tasting Rooms are alike!

It’s no secret that we do things different at Modern Craft. And while each Modern Craft Tasting Room is different, just like our owners themselves, if you scratch just below the surface of any of our people and loyal fans you’ll also find something that remains the same throughout: Good people, great hearts, and rebel spirits!

Get to know each of our tasting rooms and the people who bring them to life.

Great Souls & Good Times

You might think the most memorable thing about the Harrisville Modern Craft Wine Tasting Room is the bright purple fencing and lime green accents around the seating area outside, though you won’t soon forget the welcoming atmosphere inside, either. With walls lined with eclectic artwork and funky décor, you’ll feel fancy-free as you belly up to the lime green ironing board that extends the end of the bar!

But even more than the hot hues and bright artwork around this unique spot located across the street from the Harrisville State Park, you’ll come to find owners Mark and Venita Larson as the heart and soul of this place. These two lovebirds have been breaking the wine world rules with Modern Craft since the very beginning!

Some people don’t want to go along with the crowd,” says Venita Larson. “Modern Craft is different, that appeals to us. And we have such a blast! We get so many fun people in here looking to try our fun wines and test out the Mixperience!

The Engineer & The Hippy Chick

Like any long-married couple, Mark and Venita are great blend of different.

Where Mark, retired military and a former engineer, is the laid-back, blue-jeans-kind-of-guy who brings nuts and bolts (and extensive knowledge about wine) to conversations, Venita, retired office manager, is a free-spirited artist who talks in stories, walks on the wild side, and whose favorite pants are yellow leopard print (though she favors her rock-n-roll tank tops, too).

Both long-time wine lovers, The Engineer and The Hippy Chick were looking for a new adventure after retiring in Illinois and relocating to Michigan. They opened the Harrisville Modern Craft Tasting Room in 2012 and have been mixing things up ever since, literally. Mark and Venita invented Modern Craft’s infamous Slow Juke Juice inside the walls of their tasting room, and Peach Fuzz was born from their creative guests!

Anything Goes & V’s Vibe

The 400-square-foot Harrisville Modern Craft Tasting Room is sometimes packed with laughter and wild times, sometimes an easy-going, quiet place where guests linger and share stories, and sometimes even a respite for people who’ve experienced less-than-enjoyable wine tastings.

“Our Mixperience isn’t about terminology and proper etiquette,” says Venita, telling a story about a woman who visited their shop after she’d tried a wine tasting elsewhere that the woman described as a condescending experience. “After we shared a Mixperience and some laughs, she said, ‘I feel comfortable here, like I can say anything and have fun!’ That’s what we’re all about.

Venita writes about memorable visitors and conversations she’s had with guests in her blog, “V’s Vibe”, along with a good mix (of course) of anything goes, free-spirited thoughts and topics. Be sure to check it out!

Open-Minded & Open: Harrisville

The Harrisville Modern Craft Wine Tasting Room re-opens for its seventh season on Friday, April 13, 2018—Friday the 13th and, yes, there will be spooky good deals! Namely, it’ll also mark another season of memorable Mixperiences and good times to be had in Harrisville with “The Engineer” and “The Hippy Chick” at the center of it all.

Put your pinky down, and let’s share a toast: To the un-franchise franchise that is Modern Craft Wine Tasting Rooms and our people like Mark and Venita Larson who own them. Thank you for all you do, and for being the open-minded, fun-loving, great kind of people you are.




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