Vintner’s Cellar – Portland’s Interactive Posh and Pearl-ish Wine Advantage

The stylishly appointed Vintner’s Cellar is not your typical craft beer, local cider and wine bar. With plenty of parking around and a caress away from the Pearl it’s a calm oasis below cars that creep above along the exit ramp to downtown. At Vintners Cellar you are likely to be greeted by Norm offering you a choice from over 30 varieties of wine, wonderful beers and ciders. At first you don’t know if it has the potential to be your new favorite place to enjoy with friends or if it’s too serious with the big fermenting barrels on one side reminding you of your inadequate wine knowledge. This is the secret to Vintner’s Cellar, it’s a lucky combination for those who want a bigger wine making experience and those who enjoy the simpler things in life like sitting back and sipping a beer watching the sport of the season, or enjoying a glass from Norms’ own wine making proficiencies. Want a taste – no problem – we promise you will find something that you like – a lot.

Norm is friendly and smiling and it might be because he is doing exactly as he had planned. “Wine is social he says, I wanted a place for people to relax and be able to talk easily.” Norm is from Redding, CA and is getting his wish to make some really nice wines that cost in the 15 dollar range per bottle. To achieve this he sources the grapes from a big buying group that can demand good quality. Anyone can make wine, says Norm, but he likes to keep it simple. Only buy good grapes, don’t overwork wine, don’t over oak it, keep it affordable. Norm shares his efforts based on people’s desire and its fun to try without having to order a glass of something you aren’t sure is your perfect taste. We’ve found many that are well made, glasses full of a grapes life well lived.

The menu at Vintner’s Cellar is simple like the wine style, but handily made with nice ingredients and plenty of choices. It’s pretty much happy hour pricing all the time. This might be one reason it is a haunt for many millennial that may have to watch what they spend, but still like getting out and hanging with friends in a cushy seat watching a game; or just socializing in something other than a coffee shop where conversations are often not exactly encouraged. We’ve likely all experienced the sideways glances from hunched over computer zombies if anyone gets into a spicy, lively conversation at the local coffee shop. The music at Vintners isn’t loud enough to make you have lean and yell at your table mates like many places, the comfy leather sofas and chairs gathered in various spots provides ample opportunity for great conversation.

One of Portland’s hottest trends is to make and/or label your own bottles. It’s the ideal gift for all those people who don’t need any “things” and it has a great personal touch. Norm says his demand for corporate team building is on par with his individual gifts and wedding wine business. Something tells me it’s a lot more fun to make wine as a team building experience than to wobble around on some inane obstacle course. On top of that you get to drink the wine later and toast to having the best management ever! Additionally, it’s inexpensive and abundant with options. Corporate gatherings aside, others can either pick out Norms or make their own wines and design the label making it ripe for the “Selfie Oriented World.”  Even if you can’t stand a person it’s hard to refuse a nice bottle of wine even if their face is plastered on it. Indeed this is the ideal gift for anyone that enjoys a glass of wine anytime. For our friends, consider yourself forewarned!

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