I’m not certain how the term ‘Soft Opening’ began. I do understand its meaning in that it differentiates a business’ inception from a ‘Grand Opening.’ With the latter, you apparently just open the doors the first day of business and take what you get.
A ‘Soft Opening’ is intended to be more of a limited event where the business has an opportunity to “de-bug” and correct any issues with the operation without enduring the scrutiny that could result from a grand opening. Essentially, this is what we planned for by designating the weekend as a “by invitation only” event.
I must say thought, that the past two days, Friday & Saturday, April 21st and 22nd, were about as “Grand” as they could have been at our new Salida Wine Bar in Yelm, and there was nothing “soft” about it whatsoever. As each afternoon progressed, so did the crowd, and to the point where it became standing room only, even though we have roughly two dozen seats between the bar stools and the lounge chairs.
The atmosphere was a virtual party and certainly a celebration. Everything we had intended in our visualization of the Salida Wine Bar was much like a dream come true. There’s nothing like a little focus to get things rolling!
The salsa tunes on our satellite audio gave a festive Spanish flair but soon became a distant murmur as the crowd grew. The place was filled with bold laughter, animated chatter, the clinking of wine glasses, and the warmth of the folks of our community enjoying a place where they could gather and dive into our lineup of Iberian inspired wines and the yummy tapas prepared by Marlee Simmons.
Our servers did a fine job of staying on top of things and Johann Pool, our cyber-tech master, put together a great POS system with admirable patience and grace (even though we had some inevitable bugs). The interior feeling expresses exactly what we had in mind, a swath of warm yet bold Mediterranean color, a wall of glass to the north, subtle lighting, and a lovely radius bar with a huge smokey mirror across the entire back. Then, there’s “The Lions,” a riveting visual you just have to come and see.
Kudos to our guys, Tim and Kai Fyrst, master builders, who worked tirelessly to transform the suite to exactly what we envisioned, and to our “landlady” Margaret Clapp who gave us this wonderful opportunity and who is really a visionary in the evolution of our town. Thanks also to Kim McCrea, who’s knowledge and expertise in operating a wine bar provided a sound foundation for our beginning, and certainly to Greg Simmons who’s unbridled enthusiasm, focused and tireless efforts made this possible.
So next weekend, we transition to the “Grand Opening” so to speak, when we begin our normal business hours. Our desire to create a place in Yelm where friends and family can get together in a relaxed and casual setting has reached fruition. Soon, we’ll be offering some great special events and an eventual expansion on our tapas selections, so stay tuned and check back on our SalidaWine website for upcoming activities.
We’re on track for our opening of the new Salida Wine Bar in Yelm, located in the building on Prairie Park St. before the Yelm Cinema with Casa Mia restaurant just behind us.
The opening, scheduled for Friday, April 19th, is by invitation only. We’ll continue this throughout the weekend, then with the following weekend, our “normal” business hours will begin.
Our hours of operation will be:
Friday 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you’d like to attend our opening weekend, please contact us via the website. We will be able to accept requests from today’s posting through Wednesday, April 17th. If you haven’t already, I encourage everyone to join our mailing list as it will be the primary means by which we will extend our private invitations.
Verification of invitation will be the passport each day to attend our opening weekend. So it will be necessary to bring your invitation for that purpose.
It’s going to be a very exciting time in the short history of Salida. The Wine Bar is certainly a cool place … a contemporary atmosphere coupled with a feeling of warm relaxation! As in the past at our prior location, we’ll be serving the entire lineup of our wines with the exception of Vino Rojo which is scheduled for release at our June Open House, along with a new surprise wine.
Also new to our operation will be a selection of tapas, specifically designed to pair with the wines. We anticipate our tapas menu to soon be available once we begin our normal business hours, and once we “get the wrinkles out.”
A unique aspect of our new setting is the inclusion of a special room adjoining the actual bar setting, replete with comfortable chairs and tables so that our guests can relax and share time with friends over a glass or two of wine.
Plans are in the making for a weekly night with entertainment from local artists coupled with special wine pricing. We also anticipate resuming ‘Third Thursdays’ as we had done when in Olympia. So every third Thursday of the month we’ll present a special guest with a host of exciting topics.
We greatly look forward to seeing each of you very soon!
I spent a few hours on Saturday afternoon at Madrona Wine Merchants with Jim and Mark. The personal feel of a wine shop that supports its neighborhood customers was right up my alley.
It’s difficult to know what to expect on a beautiful, sunny day in Seattle. The not too often weather brought a warm day, and being the spring, a blaze of ornamental fruit trees in bloom. All in all a kind of heady atmosphere replete with soft aromatics.
Even though lovely, days like that in Seattle are frequently characterized by few visitors to wine shops, as everyone’s out enjoying the rare day. We talked beforehand of whether we’d see many customers, knowing it’s a common pattern.
Yet we were very pleased that there was a good, steady turnout in the boutique shop on 34th Avenue just south of Union. No doubt, most all who came to the tasting frequent Jim and Mark’s cozy store.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with the shop’s customers in a casual, one-on-one experience. All were eager to learn about the new development of Spanish varietals in Washington, and I think we sold a fairly good amount of wine during the afternoon.
The charm of Seattle’s myriad neighborhoods is what I feel makes the City a very special place, and Madrona is a quintessential example. I doubt that their customers live no more than a few blocks away.
Good on ‘ya guys! This is what makes for special times in our business, and I wish you both continued success. I’m certain that the Madrona neighborhood is significantly enhanced with your very special marchand de vin.
It certainly took little time, like two days, and our wine dinner at Dockside Bistro on March 28th has sold out.
That’s got to be a record! We might arrange to offer another evening to everyone who couldn’t make a reservation, but for now it’s not yet determined.
But don’t forget to put on your calendar Friday, April 19th, the Grand Opening of the Salida Wine Bar in Yelm. We’ll be expanding our hours for the opening weekend to include both Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to “whenever,” so there will be some flexibility for everyone who would like to join us.
And also, we’re at Teatro Zanzini this coming Tuesday, March 19th, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Then the “big one,” Taste Washington next weekend. So there’s lots of fun stuff coming up this month. Hope to see everyone soon!
Check out our “Events” page for some really fun upcoming wine events.
Exotic Wine Festival at Teatro Zinzanni in Seattle, Tuesday, March 19th
Taste Washington, Seattle, Saturday & Sunday, March 23rd & 24th
Winemaker’s Dinner at Dockside Bistro, Olympia, Thursday, March 28th
Madrona Wine Merchants, Saturday, March 30th
Wine World & Spirits, Seattle, Friday, April, 5th
March is certainly going to be a busy and exciting month! Plus, our younger son, Kalen, is coming home for 10 days from his college, New Mexico Institute of Technology, for spring break.
Also, stay tuned for updates on our developing Salida Wine Bar in Yelm. The second room expansion is nearing completion. It’s going to simply be a classy yet casual place to gather and enjoy the Salida wines with small plates, or as in Spanish … Tapas.
It seems that there’s been some confusion, or even speculation, as to the meaning of why I named Salida, “Salida.” So I though it a good idea to clarify what my intent was in using the term.
It’s been speculated that, (1) I was intending to “leave” the wine business, (2) it referred to my departure from Rhone varietals, or (3) that it inferred the idea of a wine drinker changing from his/her “usual” choice to try something new, or to explore new wines.
First, I’m not leaving the wine business and many wine lovers know that the grape, Grenache, is from Spain where it is called Garnacha. The grape called Mourvedre is also from Spain and is called Monastrell in that country. But they’re more commonly recognized with the French spellings since they are primary varietals in the Southern Rhone Valley. Both Garnacha and Monastrell are used in our wine we call ‘Tres Vinos’ along with Tempranillo. The third idea regarding wine drinkers is a bit more esoteric and I really never thought of that one.
Well, all one has to do is read the text on the opening page of the Salida website where I explain the use of the term. But to be certain there’s no misunderstanding, I named the brand “Salida” as a Spanish metaphor representing THE HARVEST, or the time when the grapes “leave” or “depart” the vineyard.
It’s as simple as that! Hasta Luego, Amigos!
(By the way, that means “Until Later” or “See You Later” in Spanish) LOL
Last Wednesday evening (in spite of quite stormy conditions) we celebrated the first gathering of Tempranillo producers from Washington State, held at Wine World in Seattle.
It was a bit of history in the making and a milestone for the delicious grape, Tempranillo. The panel presentation was very well received with a focused audience and lasted probably up to one hour. I was quite impressed how their interest never waned and some very good questions were asked as well.
It was particularly good to have Javier Alfonso of Pomum Cellars as a panelist. His birthplace (and still his parents home) is the Ribera del Duero, so his inclusion offered great insight into Tempranillo’s Spanish roots, particularly aspects of climate, geography, soils and clones.
Following the discussion, we enjoyed excellent tapas provided by Restaurant Tango (located on Capitol Hill just east above the Paramount Theater at Pike & Boron). Also, Lenny Rede, co-owner of Wine World, made a delicious paello that was as good as it gets!
I felt that one of the most rewarding aspects of the evening was how well the foods paired with Tempranillo. So there’s no doubt in my mind that the wine is as “food friendly” as it gets.
All in all, it was a great evening and we had lot of fun in this inaugural gathering. Hopefully, we’ll repeat next year and expand even more on wineries, foods and venue.
Here’s a link to a review from Wine World’s website:
History will be in the making on Wednesday, November 16th at Wine World celebrating the first gathering of Tempranillo producers from Washington State.
It’s exciting to realize that the ‘Red King of Spain’ has found a home in Washington’s vineyards, and is adapting very well with all of the appropriate characteristics aromas and flavors similar to the wines of the Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
The event will feature six wineries, all of which are members of TAPAS, the organization dedicated to promoting Iberian varietal wines in the U.S. http://www.tapasociety.org/. Approaching nearly 80 wineries, the growing membership represents Washington, California, Oregon, Texas and Arizona.
Wine World, located just west of I-5, at 400 N.E. 45th will host this inaugural evening of Tempranillo producers, beginning with a brief panel presentation on Tempranillo’s origins in Spain, it’s development in Washington’s vineyards, and the anticipated future of the grape as a preeminent varietal.
The evening will continue with a ‘Grande Tasting’ of the participating wineries paired with wonderful tapas prepared by Restaurant Tango, Seattle’s premiere Iberian-style eatry. Included in the lineup are Brian Carter Cellars, Camaraderie Cellars, Gramercy Cellars, Pomum Cellars, Salida Wines and Stottle Winery. Each winery will be pouring up to three of their products, including both reds and whites, all with origins in the vineyards of Spain.
You can make on-line reservations at: http://tempranillotapas.eventbrite.com/
or visit Wine World’s website for more information: http://wineworldwarehouse.com/classes-at-wine-world/.
I’m truly excited in anticipation of this gathering; the first time Tempranillo has been brought into the spotlight of Washington wine! Please join us in the celebration!
I can’t believe that the last entry was September 18th. It seems so long ago now. One month following, October 18th, we brought in our first fruit, Albarino, the spicy white hailing originally from Galicia, a really beautiful region in Spain’s northwestern corner.
This began crush! Essentially one month later than ever. It’s said from the people in the Yakima Valley that this year was the coolest and wettest summer since 1940! I can believe it!
Fast on the heels of the Albarino came the Two Coyote Tempranillo, crushed three days later. We were only able to receive 3.9 tons, but the fruit was lovely, and here we are, ten days later and it’s through fermentation and ready to go to barrel.
So now things have progressed. One week later on October 28th, in came Grenache, which presently is in what we call “cold soak” and I’ll probably apply it’s yeast tomorrow or Wednesday to get it underway.
That still leaves both Mourvedre and Malbec. I simply can’t believe that we’ll be doing crush in November, but it’s clearly the deal.
The good news is that even with a year such as this, all of the fruit is of great quality. We’ve just had to wait it out, and wait it out. I hear that there’s a possibility of snow in the Yakima Valley next week, so I think the waiting is clearly over. That’s just fine with me!