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Portalis Wine Shop has opened in its new location:
6754 15th Avenue NW, Ballard WA 98117
The dust has settled, our shelves are stocked, and we’re ready to celebrate! We feature over 500 notable world wines plus an increased selection of Washington wines.
Join us Saturday, February 7th, 2015, for our Grand Opening Tasting. We will be pouring wines from Washington and Canada (noon to 4pm). Wine Shop is now open Tuesday thru Saturday 11am to 7pm; Sunday 11am to 5pm.
Portalis is for people who are into great wine and want a knowledgeable local wine merchant to use as a resource when making their wine selections. Offering excellent selections and value, Portalis Wine Shop continues its INSIDER pricing & annual rebate for our club members and offers daily tastings of rotating featured items plus Saturday & Sunday tastings according to our schedule: www.portaliswines.com/events
Located on the southeast corner of 15th Ave NW and 70th Street with off-street parking, this popular neighborhood also features dining experiences with Fat Hen, Brunswick & Hunt, Delancey, Essex, Honoré Bakery and Grumpy D’s. As we no longer have our wine bar, we encourage you to dine with our neighbors, several of whom carry wines from our J. Strecker Selections book of imported wines.
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Press Release: September 17, 2014
End of an Era on Ballard Ave!
We have a big announcement to make! We are nearing the end of our 10-year lease in this building, and we've decided it's the end of an era for us on Ballard Ave. What a run! When we first opened in 2003 (up the street at 5310 Ballard Ave) Ballard Bookcase was across the street next to Ernie's motorcycle & metalworks shop (now Bastille). Ernie had "The Pisser" in the window, a life-size metal figure of a man ready for you to hook up your hose so he could water your lawn as he did his business! Anyone remember? The Wilson Ford building was next to us, empty and dilapidated. Madame K's was still on the block. Ballard Hardware was in its original location, and we could go on!
As part-owners in the building, this is a good move for us. For you, it will be good because we promise to find a new location with improved parking! The only change (and it's a big one) is that our new venue will only have a wine shop, no wine bar. J. Strecker Selections (our wine import company) has taken off, demanding much more of our time. We are looking forward to this change, but in the meantime, it's been a great ride with the wine bar, and we'll be celebrating the heck out of it this fall! If you've enjoyed visiting the wine bar through the years, now is your chance to stop by and enjoy it once again (or maybe twice!) before we retire it. We don't yet know the timing of all this, although we expect it to happen early in the new year.
We look forward to seeing you as we celebrate the last 12 years on this street! As we know more about the move, we'll keep you posted. A Tribute> to the wines, guests, food & employees who made it happen!
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Posted: July 27, 2013
Celebrating 10 Years of Portalis!
Yes, on August 8, 2003, Portalis opened its doors to the public. At that time we were located up the street at 5310 Ballard Ave, next to the empty Wilson Ford building (anyone remember that?). The name Portalis is Latin for portal or entry way, Jens’ idea for the entry to his world of wine. (Graphic designers Sonya Kopetz & Jason Bolich created an award-winning logo that did a brilliant job of eliciting this feeling of history & tradition.)
The idea behind the shop+bar was to create an intimate, comfortable, unpretentious venue where people at all levels of wine knowledge could meet to taste, learn & buy wine. The value of the local wine merchant was our bet, and it has paid off. Thank you to all of our wonderful patrons through the years. Our first 10 years have been a great ride, and we look forward to another 10! Enjoy these photos of Portalis, our employees, our winemaking guests & our patrons through the years>
Press Release: February 8, 2013
Our Dear Gina Is Moving On!
It's sad for us, but exciting for her as she's heading off for an extended trip to Europe this spring (pictured in Italy with her husband, Kenny, who's from Northern Ireland). She's been with us since we opened our doors in 2003, and she will be sorely missed. Funky Fresh Gina, as many of you know her, is simply the best. She's gracious yet no nonsense. She's meticulous yet low key. And more than anything, she loves wine, she knows a ton about wine, and she loves hooking people up with the wine they are looking for! Gina's a sommelier & plans to continue her wine tours to Italy (www.premiervineyardtours.com), so keep an eye out for her in her future life. In the meantime, though, she'll be here through the end of February, so stop by and wish her well! And don't be too jealous!!
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Announcing J. Strecker Selections A direct import company and Portalis Wines subsidiary Press Release: May 31 2011
J. Strecker Selections is a wine import & distribution business founded by Portalis Wines owners, Jens Strecker & Julie Howe. Drawing upon Jens’ vast wine knowledge, his European heritage, and his long history of world travel, J. Strecker Selections seeks to find undiscovered, delicious, well-priced wines from the Old World (and a few from the New World, too) that are excellent representatives of their respective wine growing areas and import these wines to Washington State.
When WA State wine laws changed in December 2009 allowing retailers to direct import, Jens & Julie jumped at the opportunity. Since then, they have been busily at work, selecting, purchasing and organizing the movement of these wines from their homes around the world to Seattle port. With the help of their team, these wines are available throughout the area to wholesale buyers: restaurants, wine shops and grocery stores.
For more on the J. Strecker book of wines, including wines from France, Italy, Spain, Austria & Argentina, go to www.jstreckerselections.com.
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Happy Hour at Portalis Has Good Company & Good Wine
By Rose Tosti
Posted: Tue, Dec. 4 2012
The Place: Portalis Wines, 5205 Ballard Avenue Northwest, 783-2007 The Hours: 4-6 pm, Tuesday-Friday (closed Monday). The Digs: On Ballard Ave, between the mayhem that is the Tractor Tavern and the cloud of cigarette smoke hanging perpetually near the door of the Lock & Keel, there is a little sign lit in a window, reading, simply: "Wine Shop." Pausing to step through the door, you will find yourself standing at the entrance to a room where warm lights cascading over aisles of wine draw you in. Portalis Wine Bar is first and foremost a wine shop, owned by importers Jens and Julie Strecker.
It is late on a Tuesday night when I step through the entryway, well past 6:00. Wood and brick are the themes of decor, with tables tucked away near the windows, and the decadent aromas of the sorts of food you really want to pair with wine thick in the air. Along the length of one wall runs a bar, at which I am immediately invited to sit by the bartender. There are no suits and ties here, no clichéd sommelier pretension: the gentleman is wearing a t-shirt and leaning casually into the counter. This is Ballard. And in Ballard, on Tuesdays, at Portalis, happy hour is merely the kick off for an entire night of wines by the (generous) $5 glass. Read More>
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Beyond the Glass Wine shops are now acting as social centers, schools, restaurants, even travel agencies, offering far more than just free tastings.
Published on Dec 2, 2010
BY SHARON MCDONNELL
The Portalis Wine Shop + Wine Bar in Seattle offers customers three-course dinners, art shows and tastings.
Wine shops today are a new breed. Part social club, restaurant, music venue, even travel agency, they’re doing a lot more than just offering free tastings. And owners are finding that going beyond the glass is a great way to win new customers, keep old ones and distinguish themselves from ho-hum competitors who just sell bottles. …
But Swirl isn’t the only shop introducing such activities. At Portalis Wine Shop + Wine Bar in Seattle, visitors enjoy weekly three-course dinners, monthly art shows and tastings led by the likes of Ernst Loosen of Dr. Loosen, a German Riesling maker, and Dominique and Henri Schoenheitz, co-owners of Schoenheitz Estate in Alsace ($16–19 for six wines, including a $10 store credit).
“My idea was to open a wine shop where you have wine and look at art. A wine shop in Dresden I used to go to had two-thirds of its inventory open for tasting. You need to experience wine to have a better idea of what you’re drinking,” says Jens Strecker, the German-born owner who opened Portalis in 2003 with his wife, Julie Howe.
Three years ago, the duo hired chef Tracey Stoner to host a weekly $25 dinner on Saturdays. The menu offers such dishes as game hen with pomegranate molasses, black cod with sesame seeds and mango ginger upside-down cake with house-made coconut ice cream. Portalis’ e-mail newsletter and blog are crammed with photos of food, wine regions and winemakers for upcoming tastings. Read entire article>
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Ballard New Tribune – July 2, 2010
101 Things To Do In Ballard: Pay homage to the grape by Jill Irwin
“…This summer, Portalis Wine Shop & Wine Bar on Ballard Avenue is featuring a free Comparative Wine Tasting series every Tuesday and Thursday in a nod to the World Cup. I stopped by last week for France versus South Africa in a battle of the Chenin blancs. (I think France won, but friendly Portalis owner and wine director Jens Strecker called it a draw.)”… MORE>
Sunset Magazine – Summer 2010 Special Summer Edition Seattle Hotels and Washington Vacations 2010
Portalis makes the cut with Sunset editors for things to do in the Puget Sound…MORE>
Ballard/Seattle - May 25, 2010 Summer 2010 Comparative Wine Tastings at Portalis Instead of doing a traditional walk through the grape varietals (sparkling-white-rosé-red, lighter flavors first & ending with the big fruit bombs) ... we're going to mix it up! We've come up with a twice a week schedule (every Tuesday & Thursday in June, July, August & free of charge) that seems whimsical yet the bases are covered. Press Release> Ballard/Seattle - February 28, 2010 SATURDAY DINNER AT PORTALIS Join us every Saturday for our 3-course prix fixe dinner menu ~ $25. We will offer you delicious wine pairing suggestions in addition to the dinner menu. Prix fixe menu changes weekly. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sunset Magazine - March 2010
Special Section Inside Seattle by Jess Thomson Wine City Tours. Tasting rooms. Winemaker dinners. How to enjoy a wine country weekend--without ever leaving Seattle.
... 3. Pick up pairing tips from the pros
Ballard's Portalis is a little, local wine shop with a big selection of affordable bottles and a bar that acts as a private tasting room--and classroom. A new monthly series (Mar 27; $40; reservations required) focuses on pairing wines with one food each class--this month: lamb. Learn why different cuts require different tannin levels, and which full-bodied white wine is (surprise!) a perfect partner for a Mediterranean-style tagine. Closed Mon; tastings from $15; 5205 Ballard Ave. N.W.; portaliswines.com or 206/783-2007. ...
Edible Seattle - November / December 2009 Portalis is a cozy little wine bar built around its 450-bottle wine shop, offering a wide selection from the Pacific Northwest. With an ever-changing seasonal menu, Portalis is a wonderful tasting room for the best of our local wines.
Ballard/Seattle - November 2, 2009 HOLIDAY FOOD+WINE PAIRINGS AT PORTALIS ~ TUESDAYS IN NOVEMBER
Every Tuesday in November we'll be featuring a classic holiday food paired beautifully with a classic holiday wine. Of course Gina will be on hand to give you the details on why the pairing works. Join to taste the following wines during Happy Hour (4-6pm). The tastings are free of charge.
Ballard/Seattle - October 26, 2009
PORTALIS WINE BAR EXPANDS MENU
Wine is our gig, but food increases the pleasure of the experience manifold and so by popular demand we’ve expanded our menu to include a larger selection of entrées. Chef Tracey Stoner has put together a seasonal, wine-friendly menu with about a third of the items rotating weekly. Press Release >
Wall Street Journal - December 12, 2008
Food and Drink: Wine Events
Sparklers Are in Store by Melanie Grayce West French Fizz | Seattle Portalis wine shop and bar will serve five French sparklers during an evening taste and learn session. Importers will pour and talk about each of the wines (three Champagnes and sparklers from the Loire Valley and Alsace). There will be appetizers to pair with the wines. To RSVP, call 206-783-2007; portaliswines.com.
WHEN Dec. 12, 6 to 7 p.m. or 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
WHERE 5205 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle
HOW MUCH $19.50 at the door; includes a $10 in-store credit MORE>
Sunset - November 2008 Ask the expert: Dawn Smith
"The sommelier and wine director of Kirland's Bin Vivant shares her picks from the wine country, including Idaho, and gives us drinking pointers in Seattle. ... Best Seattle Wine Bars? ... Portalis in Ballard ($; portaliswines.com), which is a wine bar, restaurant, and wine shop -- one-stop happiness."
Seattle Weekly - July 3, 2007 Ballard's Portalis Wine Bar's Not Rustic, But Refuses Chic by BRIAN J. BARR
At 9:45 p.m., the sun still hadn't completely set. Strands of color hung in the Ballard sky and seemed to be stretching their way slowly to the west over the Olympics, a gentle tangerine and indigo hooding of the Earth. At Portalis Wine Bar, the main facade is composed of glass doors that open up for weather just like this, creating a spillover onto rustic-chic Ballard Avenue. MORE>
Seattle Magazine - Summer 2007 Wine Bar Boom by Sara Dickerman
... "Setting the gold standard, as far as I’m concerned, is five-year-old Portalis Wine Shop and Bar (Ballard, 5205 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.783.2007; portaliswines.com). There, former anesthesiologist Jens Strecker presides over a crew of well-versed wine geeks and mixes neighborhood-bar warmth with seriously interesting pours from around the world. Portalis has all sorts of wine bar virtues: a tiny 1-ounce taster serving for those truly afraid of commitment, a great selection of dessert wines by the glass, good bar snacks, free Sunday afternoon wine tastings and a Wednesday night deal when the $12 corkage fees are waived on all the wine shop’s bottles. ..."
SEEK WINE KNOWLEGE AT PORTALIS. Without a hint of the pretentiousness sometimes associated with fine wine, they guide customers to the right choice with the value of wine an important concept. Photo by Jim Anderson
We will never know a fraction as much about wine as Jens Strecker and Julie Howe, owners of Portalis. But with them around, we don't have to! Without a hint of the pretentiousness sometimes associated with fine wine, they guide customers to the right choice with the value of wine an important concept. Portalis offers a wide range of prices and styles and more than 400 wines from around the world in the retail shop, and 30 rotating wines available by the glass in the wine bar. ... MORE>
Food & Wine - April 2007 New Wine Shops for Foodies: PORTALIS by KRISTIN DONNELLY
"Portalis feels like a seattle coffee shop crossed with a European wine bar. Jens Strecker, an expat German doctor, and his wife, Julie Howe, opened the wine bar and shop in 2003, where they serve more than 30 wines by the glass at a long concrete bar, alongside small dishes such as a rustic house-made pâté, a bubbling goat cheese gratin and a slow-roasted smoked-paprika pork sandwich with garlic aioli and cilantro." ... MORE>
Seattle Metropolitan - September 2006 Neighborhood Hot Spot: PORTALIS WINE BAR "If Ballard Avenue were a home, it would have a noisy kitchen (La Carta de Oaxaca), a civilized dining room (Volterra), an altogether unsupervised garage apartment (Tractor Tavern, Hattie's Hat) and a tranquil wine cellar for the grown-ups. That's Portalis"... MORE>
Seattle Times - April 11, 2006
LIFE BEHIND BARS: There’s nothing ‘Sideways’ about Portalis by Mark Shaffer MORE>
Seattle Times - April 7, 2006 Drink in the scene at three local wine bars by Nancy Leson MORE>
The Stranger - January 20 - 26, 2005 43 Bars - The Stranger's Inaugural Drinking Issue
..."Laid-back and welcoming enough for the wide-eyed novice, sufficiently sophisticated and well-stocked for the experienced pro, Portalis Wine Bar is a perfect place to pretend you live in a more progressive, cultured, intelligent nation. Beyond wine, Portalis serves light food (cheese samplers, soup, and sandwiches), rich coffee, and an array of schmancy imported beer. But go for the wines, a couple dozen of which are available by the glass, served in goblets big enough to stick your head into."
DAVID SCHMADER MORE>
Seattle Weekly - September 22 - 28, 2004
SIPS Wine Up Front by Roger Downey MORE>
Seattle Times - August 27, 2004
Dining Deals - Portalis: Varied culinary themes, world wines whisk diners 'round the globe by Kathryn Robinson Read the Article
Seattle Magazine - March 2004
DINING GUIDE by Cynthia Nims, Food Editor
..."Our first foray to La Carta de Oaxaca was capped off by a stroll down Ballard Avenue to Portalis Wine Shop + Wine Bar (5310 Ballard Ave. NW, 206.783.2007). Such a warm and arty space, truly a wonderful spot to slip in for a glass of wine and a nibble of delicious cheese (our version of "dessert" that night). It's the kind of place every neighborhood should have."
Seattle Magazine - December 2003
Collector's Issue: Seattle Best of 2003
BEST WINE SHOP >> At the Portalis Wine Shop and Wine Bar (5310 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.783.2007; portaliswines.com) - equal parts wine shop and wine bar - you can have your wine and drink it too. Store manager Gina Gregory likens the relaxed yet classy atmosphere to that of a coffee shop: One can read a book and nosh from the small bistro-style menu while sipping from a selection of wines from more than 15 countries. The half-year-old neighborhood hangout stocks more than 400 different labels at all times and boasts roughly 35 by-the-glass wines on its menu. With a public tasting offered every Sunday from noon to 3 p.m., this refreshingly unpretentious wine café is a gem.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Wednesday, December 10, 2003
By Hsiao-Ching Chou, Food Writer
Excerpt from article: "Do your holiday cooking online this year with help from tasty e-tailers"
..."www.portaliswines.com This charming new wine bar and shop in Ballard also ships. There are great values, and you'll find plenty you haven't tried or heard of before. The Gavi, for example, is a crisp, white Italian table wine that comes in a beautiful bottle with a golden-yellow label. Visit the shop online or at 5310 Ballard Ave. N.W.; 206-783-2007."
Seattle Times - September 24, 2003
By Wine Advisor / Paul Gregutt
Excerpt from article: Sorting out Aussie shiraz is something of a challenge
..."New shop: It's always a pleasure when a new wine shop opens, particularly one that features well-chosen wines and offers them by the glass as well. Portalis Wine Shop and Wine Bar (5310 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-783-2007) has an eclectic international mix of wines, good glassware, and light cafe snacks, and bottles are available at the bar for retail plus a $7 corkage fee. Check it out."