Wednesday, July 21, 2010

FoodTrek: Visiting Wine Fort Knox

It's not all fun and games, you know.There are up's and down's to being a food blogger and freelance writer, the down's being... oh, who the hell am I kidding -- there is no downside. You get to play with your food, meet cool people and every once in a while you are invited to check out interesting things, like the opening party of Wine Storage Bellevue.

Your bottles could reside here - luxury condo living for wine - Photo by Wasabi Prime

I'm the last person to say they're a proper vino expert. My liver and I appreciate wine, but I always feel like I'm the swine wearing pearls when it comes to gatherings with people who are in-the-know with bottled vintages of grapey-goodness. Will I know the correct terms? Am I holding the glass correctly? Are my teeth stained purple again?! So I was breathing a sigh of relief at meeting all the friendly, welcoming people at Wine Storage Bellevue, a specialty business that offers the service of secure personal wine storage lockers. Located a few minutes from the center of downtown Bellevue, it's at a Stor-House Self Storage facility that's been transformed into a Tuscan-style wine cellar, complete with stone archways, carved mahogany doors, and a Wine Resource Center that feels like a comfortable vintage sitting room designed for members to enjoy their wines on-site. Behind the lovely dressings is a high-tech Fort Knox of surveillance, personal key codes and security measures meant to keep every bottle feeling like they're meant for 007. It's a luxe vault that's meant to feel less like traditional storage and more like a private, affordable club for oenophiles.

High school locker room flashbacks, but with wine - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Walking among the cool, climate controlled wine storage with rows of cream-colored steel lockers, it's a bit like a high school moment of walking through the halls and hoping you haven't forgotten your combo and that the school bully won't jump out from a corner. Luckily, scant chance of any of that happening. You can't help but notice and appreciate the variety of locker sizes. When you hear "private wine storage" you immediately think of the serious collectors with a basement-sized collection of vintages, but then you see all the smaller lockers which hold up to 14 cases of wine or split locker sizes that hold a little less than that. While they have walk-in sized lockers that can hold up to 98 cases of wine, there's just as many smaller sizes that are meant for people who just love wine and want to keep their bottles protected from finicky weather spells or may not have the space in their homes to have a wine cellar.

I had a chance to chat with Patrick Gilroy, one of the family members behind Wine Storage Bellevue. Having several decades' worth of experience with construction, design and storage, they would be the experts to create this specialty business. Truly a family business, Patrick explained that his father's expertise with both construction and storage, combined with a love of wine was the spark of inspiration behind Wine Storage Bellevue, and the interior design skills of his mother helped create this Tuscan oasis in the middle of the city. The family had seen similar businesses start up in Texas and California, but this is one of the first of its kind in Washington. Patrick said that many restaurants will offer private wine storage, but the benefit of their business is the seven day a week availability and flexible hours (5am-10pm), along with the sense of security. It's a unique way to safeguard and celebrate one's bottled passions, along with providing a social atmosphere with their Wine Resource Center for members to gather and talk shop with favorite wines.

Opening party at Wine Storage Bellevue - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Wasabi Thanks to the Gilroy Family for hosting the opening party for their new Wine Storage Bellevue; give them a call at 425-453-2242 or visit their website for more information.
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1 comment:

  1. Ah, wine- you tease us with your delicious flavors but baffle us with your list of fancy shmancy terminology... I'm a wine lover as well and I can never seem to master the art of really "knowing" wine in the educational sense but I know what I like and what I don't like and can usually pin point why...but it's a tricky business! Great post- love the comparison to high school and hallways and whatnot!


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