Portland’s “Weirdest Wine Bar” celebrates its fourth birthday with four days of events.
FEBRUARY 13, 2017 (PORTLAND, OR)—One-of-a-kind wine shop and bar Pairings Portland, brainchild of wine fanatic Jeffrey Weissler and partner Megan Wilkerson, will celebrate its fourth anniversary Monday, March 6, 2017 with a blowout weekend of special events Friday, March 3-Monday, March, 6. As part of Four Years - Four Days - Four Events, Pairings Portland will feature free tastings from four environmentally-conscious wineries and a “Greatest Hits” tasting with wines that have been with the shop since its inception. With an irreverent philosophy that sloughs off the solemnity that is common in wine culture, these events are for everyone 21 and over, not just card-carrying oenophiles. Full event details are available at www.pairingsportland.com with updates on facebook at facebook.com/pairingspdx.
ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND DETAILS
Four Years - Four Days - Four Events
Friday, March 3, 5-8 pm
From Hood River, Hiyu Wine Farm and the Smockshop Band tastings keeping things lively. (Free)
Saturday, March 4, 2-5 pm
Crowley Wines will offer tastings of naturally-fermented Willamette Valley wares. (Free)
Sunday, March 5, 2-5 pm
Communiqué Wines tasting of their minimally-processed pours. (Free)
Monday, March 6, 5-9 pm
Greatest Hits Cheese & Wine Pairing with six wines that have been with Pairings Portland since its opening. ($25)
For $25, the cost of Pairings Portland’s monthly single-bottle membership, anyone can become a wine club member for the day. Members take home one of two wine options for the single-bottle wine club, plus taste the five wine club wines of the month for free and get 10 percent off any additional bottle purchased.
Nestled in the Kerns neighborhood of NE Portland, Pairings Portland is first and foremost all about making wine fun and approachable, and as its name suggests, the shop specializes in pairings. More than pairing wines to foods, Weissler says “it’s about pairing wine to life.” His approachable take on wine is to focus on descriptions with adjectives that anyone can understand. From this accessible vocabulary, he creates pairings for everything from Marvel superheroes and Game of Thrones characters to dog breeds and personality traits. Weissler asks, “How are you feeling? That’s what matters! Heck with that ‘wine geek speak’ stuff. Our deal is to focus on ways to experience and play that connect us all… and to do it with soulful wine. Soulful goofiness is our m/o.”
At an event commemorating the many musicians lost in 2016, Weissler paired pours to songs from his playlist of fallen singers.
David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” with Albert Boxler Riesling
Prince’s “When Doves Cry” with Clos Canarelli Corse Figari Rosé
Merle Haggard’s “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” with Five Star Merlot
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with Blachon St. Joseph
Weissler, ever an exuberant educator, eagerly offers up improvements on your standard wine experience with easy tasting and food pairing tips; he also offers monthly beginner and advanced classes on the subject.
Pairings Portland is dedicated to sustainably crafted wines; Weissler’s criteria for 80 percent of his inventory is that the grapes are organically farmed often with biodynamic techniques, minimally filtered, and fermented with their natural yeast. This process yields wines that carry more of the distinctive terroir of their regions, tend to take time to unfold on the palate and can be greatly enhanced by food. By carrying and promoting these wines, Pairings Portland hopes to spread the knowledge of natural wines as well as call upon European sentiments of wine as a part of a meal, in other words, wine that is meant to be paired. As one of his self-termed “vital choices for palate and planet,” Weissler is donating a portion of sales each month to a different non-profit that focuses on climate change remediation and reversal.
Pairings Portland eschews traditional wine shop organization by varietals or region and instead displays wines by mood, astrological sign, numerology, what you’re making for dinner, and more. There’s even a section for budget-conscious called “Shit too good for the price” or “Blue Collar Wines -- For the Overeducated and Underemployed” and for those few bottles that don’t meet Weissler’s certificate of sustainability, “Shit too good not to carry.”
Jeffrey Weissler has been geeking out about wine for more than 30 years. A native New Yorker, he fell in love with naturally-made wines while managing Suburban Wines & Spirits in Westchester, NY. Since heading westward, he created consciouswine.com, an online retail and review business celebrating the best environmentally friendly wines. His fun philosophy of empowering consumers to enjoy wine as a part of their meals is the basis for his current business, Pairings Portland.
Pairings Portland Wine Shop & Bar
455 NE 24th Ave., 541-531-7653, pairingsportland.com
Hours: Sunday 12-5, Monday & Tuesday 12-8, Wednesday thru Saturday 12-10
Kim Morris, Vespertine Works