A walk down memory lane led us to The Portland Bottle Shop


Sitting outside The Portland Bottle Shop in Sellwood on a recent beautiful day. When I was 16 my first real job (aside from babysitting) was pumping gas at an ARCO in Sellwood, Oregon. It was a terrific summer job for a 16-year-old girl because the Willamette River is a stone’s throw away (if you’re an Olympian) and young guys would come every day to fill their mommy and daddy’s boats with gas to hot rod on the river all day.

Perfectly situated at the corner of Tacoma Street and 13th Avenue (also known as ‘Antique Row’), I’d fill up the truck tanks, boat tanks and extra gas tanks and they’d take off for the Sellwood Bridge, often times with a loose invitation that I should join them when I get off work. That never happened, in part, because I did not at 16 look like any 16 year old girl walking around these days and, quite frankly, it was the elderly man driving the Lincoln Town Car with a membership at Waverley Country Club that I waited for nearly every day. Sooner or later, he’d show up, dressed to the hilt in a fine suit unlike anything most of the ARCO gas station patrons were sporting.. oh, and he always accessorized it with just the right hat.

Now I’m not saying I was gaga for this man. I just admired him. He had a wonderful smile, drove a fine car and made my day every time I saw him. I imagined he was this very wise man and probably a terrific mentor. I guess I’ve always been an old soul in search of that person who has it all figured out and the time to share how he arrived at that sought-after position in life.

A glass of Vivanco Tempranillo Blanco outside at The Portland Bottle Shop

Which has very little to do with having a glass of Vivanco Tempranillo Blanco at The Portland Bottle Shop on ‘Antique Row’ in Sellwood a few days ago except that going there always reminds me of that summer and years later when I’d take my oldest niece to this terrific old-fashioned ice cream parlor that is also no longer there. It did strike me as interesting that there was a dapper older gentleman minding his glass of Chardonnay two tables down from me as I waited outside with our pups while my husband ordered a beer inside. I couldn’t resist striking up a conversation with the 80+ year old fellow who said he’s lived in Westmoreland for years and had some terrific dining recommendation all up and down the street. Seems he spends a good bit of time smelling the roses. Good for him. I want to be like that when I grow up.

The owner of The Portland Bottle Shop, Travis Motter, is a Certified Specialist of Wine and a Sommelier so he certainly has the credentials to back up his extensive selection of wines. I don’t know where the beer plays in but my husband was impressed by the selection. I just thought it was nice that there was such a researched selection to please both palates, if you will. Yes, lately, it’s been white, white, white for me. Admittedly I wasn’t thrilled with this Tempranillo Blanco ($7). It was grassy like a Sauvignon Blanc but too acidic. It really needed food to compliment it and I should’ve ordered their goat cheese spread. That would’ve married wonderfully with my wine selection and made it a far more positive experience. The staff was terrific and approachable. The outdoor seating was really appreciated and the indoor area is relaxing, as well.

Thursday night is the night for free cider and beer tastings at The Portland Bottle Shop and they host a Friday night wine tasting with 5-6 wines for $10 per person. With their extensive wine knowledge I’m confident it’s always an interesting and worthwhile line up.

Food, oh gosh, the food. They’re a bit Spanish-focused at The Portland Bottle Shop because they offer bocadillos which is a word I saw A LOT on our recent Spain/Portugal trip (Spanish for small sandwiches). There’s also that yummy-looking goat cheese spread that I mentioned earlier, olives, marcona almonds, cheeses and other tasty nibbles.

Located at 7960 SE 13 Ave, Portland 97202. Hours: Tue-Wed 11:30 am-8 pm, Thu-Sat 11:30 am-9 pm, Sun noon-7 pm.