Looking to be the essential wine shop on the east side of Clark County, Pacific Northwest Wine Co. opened on Sept. 7 next to Tapped Brew House on 192nd Avenue in Camas. With a strong Northwest focus, business owners Andy DeHart and Zack Parmer intend to bring wine country to residents and save them the travel time.
From Willamette Valley favorites like Stoller and Adelsheim to Walla Walla rock stars such as L’Ecole and Va Piano, to the lauded winemakers of Woodinville, including Betz Family Winery, DeHart is curating an inventory that covers renowned local regions.
PNW Wine also wants to be known for their ability to procure hard-to-find bottles like Quilceda Creek 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. Quilceda Creek is highly regarded as the first Washington winery to score a 100-point wine in Wine Advocate and they’ve earned that distinguished three-digit number six times in the last 12 years, including this library-only offering.
Another label that wine connoisseurs will appreciate is Cayuse. This Walla Walla vineyard is deftly overseen by French vigneron Christophe Baron and PNW Wine happens to be in possession of a supply of his En Cerise Vineyard 2010 Syrah.
How can PNW sell such esteemed and sought after bottles? Through the connections that DeHart has forged in the industry as his passion for exceptional vintages has grown. In addition to working with distributors and wineries directly, PNW Wine acquires exclusive bottles from a handful of avid collectors they maintain a relationship with. Hailing from North Carolina, DeHart’s first introduction to the wine world was an international wine course taken in 2012 while attending DePaul University in Chicago, Ill.
“To have someone passionate and interested introduce me to wine taught me that, while the subject of wine is a big thing to overcome, it can be enjoyed while learning about it,” DeHart said.
Soon after college, DeHart relocated to Washougal and, along with Parmer, visited the Willamette Valley. They were both excited to witness the world-class winemakers right in their new backyard. As a former United Airlines flight attendant, DeHart has garnered extensive wine knowledge utilizing the world as his classroom. In October, he took an introductory sommelier course in Bellevue and intends to pursue further certifications.
While DeHart handles day-to-day PNW Wine operations, Parmer (also from North Carolina) employs his economics degree and successful experience with new membership development and donor relations to manage the PNW Wine clubs and coordinate special events.
The 900-square-foot wine shop has seating for 20 with plenty of room for an additional 30 patrons to mill about perusing the selection. Although PNW Wine is shop-focused, the owners are keenly aware of the social aspect of wine. To that end, four wines by the glass rotate on a weekly basis. All the bottles in inventory can also be opened and consumed onsite with no corkage fee – a unique feature within the wine shop realm. A light menu consists of small bites with rotating meats and cheeses.
The breadth of PNW Wine’s portfolio spans from a budget-friendly $10 to high-end and exquisite $300 to $400 labels. The men are careful to add no mark-up to the bottles over and above the price each winery sets for their wines.
“Our goal is, rather than having to dig around online and be on endless wait lists, we make those (wines) something you can get right here in town,” DeHart said. “People love to drink wine but at the end of the day, if you can’t get what you want, it ruins the experience.”
Along the same lines as most wineries, PNW offers a wine club. The three tiers consist of a choice between wines from around the globe; wines from Washington and Oregon only; or the Wine Cellar club – designed specifically for aficionados seeking to add special bottles to their beloved collection.
As PNW Wines settles into its rhythm, customers can look forward to winemaker events and monthly tastings that focus on a specific region or varietal. Plans for November include a Washington wine event and December will bring out one of DeHart’s favorites – bubbles. For that reason, the Champagne and sparkling inventory at PNW is exceptional.
In addition to a healthy representation of Oregon and Washington wines, guests will find a showing of sherry and ports, and a section dedicated to noteworthy California labels.
“Me and my partner both spend a lot of hours going through inventory books,” DeHart said. “The grocery story is a shot in the dark if you don’t know what you’re in there for. The knowledge that we have behind the wines we have sets us apart from other people.”
Pacific Northwest Wine Co. is located at 2005 SE 192nd Ave., Suite 101, in Camas. For more information, go to www.PNWWineco.com.