What a Great First Year it’s Been at The Wine Shack!

I can’t believe it’s already been a year since Maryann and I purchased The Wine Shack.    We spent the past twelve months settling into Cannon Beach and learning how to run a small business, and in particular, how to be a great wine store owner!   The year went by faster and smoother than either of us expected.  Here are some highlights:

If you are a long-time customer of The Wine Shack, then you’ve noticed we reorganized the store by wine type.   We hope this makes it easy to find the wine you’re looking for.   We also made some changes to the wines we carry.    Maryann and I really love wines from the Pacific Northwest, so we added more local wine.   We expanded our selection of Northwest Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Rose’.  In order to make room for these new wines, we had to downsize the space dedicated to French, Spanish and German wine.   We found that when customers visit us from Kansas City or Vancouver, they are looking for local wines that they can’t get back home. 

Of course, if there is a French wine that you always bought from The Wine Shack, we can still special order that wine for you.

Last spring, our Tasting Room went through an “Extreme Makeover.”   Out went the boxes, bookshelves and ceramic figurines which had previously lived in the Tasting Room.   In their place you will now find bistro tables and chairs and decorations that reflect our casual beach lifestyle.   With the makeover complete, we expanded the number of Tasting Room events we offer.    In addition to live music during the summer and an expanded tasting schedule, we hosted a variety of bridal parties, birthday parties, family reunions, a retirement party and several corporate events.   However, the “Summer Winemaker Series” was the hit of the year.   From June to September, we welcomed a local winemaker to the Tasting Room each Saturday afternoon.  We were visited by big names such as Sineann, Abacela, Zerba and Walla Walla Vintners, but we also hosted smaller wineries, including J Scott Cellars and Ferraro Cellar.   The whole Wine Shack crew had a lot of fun with the winemakers and our customers really seemed to enjoy meeting and talking to these wine rock stars.  And yes, we are absolutely doing that again this year – I’m working on lining up winemakers now.

For the first time in Cannon Beach, The Wine Shack poured and sold wine at the local farmer’s market.   For 16 Tuesdays, I set up shop next to food vendors and a band, and poured wine for the crowd.   Some Tuesdays it was rainy and windy.   Other Tuesdays it was blue skies and sunshine. No matter the weather, every Tuesday  was really fun!   When it slowed down, I would visit with the other vendors (especially the food booths!), tune in to the talented musicians and look at Haystack Rock in the distance.

We also re-invigorated Puffin Brand wines.   In August, we released our 2009 Puffin Pinot Noir, to rave reviews.    We are pleased to tell you that this quickly become the best-selling wine in the store, and that wasbefore it won a bronze medal at the recent Savor Northwest Wine Competition!   In October, we released our 2009 Red Blend.   We are now working on a Puffin Pinot Gris and expect that to be on the shelves in early May.    The success of Puffin has allowed us to donate more money to Friends of Haystack Rock, so they can continue to do their wonderful work.

Things really changed for us last October, when Maryann and I bought a house here in town.   Now, I can walk to work or make a quick run home during the middle of the day.   Mercifully, the daily commute from Hillsboro is a thing of the past!

Although there is little time to spare when you have your own business, it’s important to us to be active in the community we live in.  Last fall, I was on the Stormy Weather Arts Festival Planning Committee.   It was a nice opportunity for me to work with my new neighbors and use my planning skills.   What a great event!   If you didn’t attend the Curtis Salgadao concert, you missed a fantastic show.   Since then, I was asked to join the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and am now the Vice-President of the Chamber, as well as the Chair of the Chamber’s Marketing Committee.    Because of her work-related travel with the American Red Cross, Maryann has less spare time than I do, but she has been able to help with a SOLVE beach clean-up day, and is just finishing Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, so she can assist with emergency preparedness and response for our town.

Perhaps the very best thing that has happened over the past year, is that we’ve been warmly welcomed by this community and our customers.   Thus, it seemed only fitting that we dedicate a column to telling everyone how glad we are that we moved to Cannon Beach and purchased The Wine Shack.  Thank you for your support and friendship!

About the Author:

Steven Sinkler is co-owner of The Wine Shack of Cannon Beach as well as owner of Puffin Wines. The winery was founded in 2007 and makes a carefully selected handful of wines from Oregon and Washington grapes.

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