Since 2006, Rachael Peake has been sharing her passion for wine with Frankfort.
Peake’s interest in wine began when she was a graduate student at Eastern Kentucky University working toward a master’s degree in biology.
When she wasn’t doing research or studying, she was learning about wine.
“I was a member of the American Wine Society when I lived in Richmond in 1998,” Peake said. “It is a national wine organization for amateur wine makers and wine enthusiasts.”
There, she began to learn a lot about wine — the growing of an agricultural product so that it could be sold, enjoyed and consumed, she said.
“I was eager to learn about the many different aspects of wine,” she said.
After graduating from EKU in 1999, she went to work for the Sazerac Company at Buffalo Trace Distillery as a chemist.
“I traveled for Sazerac and saw a lot of places that looked inviting and comforting with interesting people,” she said. “Wine was prominently featured at the bars and semi-classy establishments I visited around the country.”
That’s when her idea for Capital Cellars developed.
“I lived in Frankfort and I thought a place like that would be a good fit for downtown Frankfort.”
In 2006, when Peake was pregnant with her first child, she and her husband Danny opened the business at 227 W. Broadway St., and she couldn’t be more pleased with how well Frankfort has embraced the business.
“I imagined that we would always be able to have myself and one other employee,” she said. “It’s never been that way.
“It’s been bigger than we planned since the very beginning.”
Rachael and Danny Peake have two children, Eli 11, and Lilly, 9.
FRANK.: What kind of feedback do you get about your business?
PEAKE: The feedback I hear most often from our sales people is that we may be small and may not buy big trucks of wine each week, but they come in here because they like us and we’re fun to talk to. We know our products very well and have excitement about buying unique products.
The feedback from customers is really positive. We have awesome customers and awesome employees. It’s mostly a happy business with good experiences.
I’m proud that in 11 years we’ve never changed our hours. We’re on the same business model we started with. The mix-up of the products has changed some.
We have more bourbon than we started with. Every year we fine-tune things and try to be more efficient, so we can stay in business. It’s not always easy.
FRANK.: Do you travel to wineries often?
Peake: I have traveled to hundreds of wineries and cities. I have not done a lot of international travel.
I enjoy the mom and pop, small businesses that have time to talk and taste and give a good tour.
I like regional varieties and seeing what different states grow and produce. I’m on the Grape Wine Council and have seen and been interested in what Kentucky has. We have a lot of opportunity. Some of the wineries are making amazing wines.
FRANK.: How has it been having a business downtown?
Peake: No regrets with this location. I wish we had more business. I wish every business in downtown Frankfort had twice as much business.
We would love people to open competitive business. The more food and bars and businesses we can get down here — we are all going to benefit.
Our bar is small, but it’s quaint and unique. It’s a comfortable place to be. It’s our core mission statement – atmosphere, service and selection.
I like to tell people that when they come in we can help you find something to make your day better.
And, we love our neighbors — the pottery shop, antique shop. We’re all good friends and we all work together.