On a recent Thursday evening, a group of wine aficionados huddled around an antique wooden bar in a chilly Southeast Portland basement. The venue for this odd gathering was Portland Wine Storage, where oenophiles keep their treasures in super-secure, temperature- and humidity-controlled lockers.Occasionally, co-owners Joe Padulo and Tom Harvey throw gatherings for their clients, pull bottles from their collections, dust them off, pop them open and see how they’re aging. The customers provide the drinks; Harvey and Padulo, professionally trained chefs, provide the food.
The first day of a new year may just as easily be called Resolution Day as New Year’s Day. Wine is subject to this worthy impulse. I know I have made various vinous resolutions over the years. Unusually, they’ve been among the few resolutions I’ve ever kept.
In the spring of 2000, Tom Harvey and Joe Padulo founded a business that attracted as many skeptics as it did believers. The basic concept was wine storage: unrestricted yet secure, self-service, climate-controlled wine lockers for monthly rental. Now, six years later, Portland Wine Storage is a hub for all things wine and a maturing subculture of the Oregon wine community.
When it comes to being green, it is easy to envision what vineyards and wineries might do to achieve sustainability — reduce pesticides, compost, recycle, install solar panels, etc. For an urban wine business located in the heart of industrial East Portland, the steps to a more earth-friendly business don’t seem as evident.
When we founded Portland Wine Storage 10 years ago, we made sure our business was about more than just wine storage. Our warehouse has become the locus for fostering a community of like-minded individuals — meaning a bunch of food and wine geeks — to come together over wine tastings, recipe testing, heated debates (usually about wine), and even a few late-night Twister games. In other words, lots of parties. We find the secret to any lively party is to never stay in one place for too long, so on this Friday night, we follow a progression, enjoying courses throughout the building.