Maureen Bauer is one of the wine servers at Iron Hand Wine Bar, located in the former Armory building in South Bend. The wine bar is a quaint rustic spot nestled close to the St. Joseph River. Iron Hand opened in late June 2018 and features wines that are grown, made and bottled right here in South Bend. While the wine bar’s focus is the wine, they do offer many small plate dishes to complement every wine on the menu — including nuts, cheese and a few flatbread pizzas.

I’VE BEEN A BARTENDER FOR… I spent the last seven or so years working in wineries. I was born and raised in South Bend, but just returned here late last year. I spent a few years in California, in Malibu mostly, learning about the service side of the business. I am excited to be here now and be involved in the process of actually making the wines that we serve.

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT SERVING WINE… The people make my job. I love not only the people that come into Iron Hand, but the people I work with, too. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who really love what they do and are passionate about the wine that they are selling. 

AT THE END OF MY SHIFT I WOULD POUR MYSELF… A glass of our Cabernet Franc. It’s our estate wine. It’s made from a lush dark fruit and has a limited production.

MY FAVORITE DRINK TO POUR IS… I love to pour our Michigan Brut, which is a sweet sparkling wine. I also love making anything on our wine cocktail list. Right now, the cocktails combine some of our wines with bitters and [Owl’s Brew Cocktail Mixer] original mulled spices, and salted caramel flavors, and makes the wine sweeter in taste.

IF I WEREN’T A WINE SERVER, I WOULD BE… I would definitely be making wine. Working here we get the opportunity to be involved in the process and I just love it. I am currently taking classes at Lake Michigan College and studying viticulture and enology, learning more about the process of actually growing the grapes and then ultimately making them into wine. 

MY FAVORITE FOOD ON OUR MENU IS… I love the cheese and charcuterie board. It’s a mixture of [seasonal] gourmet meats and cheeses, preserves, nuts, fresh fruit, and crackers. I like it because it offers you a variety and pairs great with most of our wines.

THE VIBE OF IRON HAND IS… We are the only wine bar in South Bend currently and pride ourselves on being a local hangout where anyone is welcome. If you enjoy a great glass of wine, you will enjoy Iron Hand.

OUR BEST-SELLING WINE IS… Our white estate blend called Madeleine. It’s a semi-sweet Riesling blend with hints of apple. Half of the grapes that make up the wine are grown at the South Bend vineyard. The wine got its name from Henri de Tonti’s rumored girlfriend with the same namesake. [Iron Hand] plays homage to Henri de Tonti, an Italian explorer who traveled along the St. Joseph River Valley in the late 1600s, who had the nickname “Iron Hand.”

MY PERSONAL HANGOVER CURE IS… Lots of carbs and some ginger tea.