Author’s note: Originally, I sought to work in the wine business. My parents encouraged the enjoyment of wine at the table and in our deep European travel in the 60s and 70s. This eventually evolved to a career in the culinary arts. Writing about wine, tasting wine, wine travel and, of course, the study of culture through wine became a career. As a former trained chef who started at the very bottom— the dish sink, wine appreciation is a wonderful way to teach the palate (and the mind) about the best things in life. Culturally, wine is part of our civilization. We learn to follow the drinking of wine and history is written shortly thereafter. Soon, the creation and the documentation of cocktails became another passion of mine, but in life, I believe that things happen for a reason. A lifetime of tasting wine has offered me knowledge, making it easier to enjoy small-producer, hand-crafted organic and biodynamic wines— my favorites! These are the ones that almost always grace the dinner table because they go so well with the kinds of foods I prepare, from scratch with love. For me, wine is the art that inspires memories and deepens relationships. A special bottle of wine shared between friends makes for experiences that never end. Every sip in the future reminds one of the past. It’s just that easy!
When owners Will and Danyelle Prouty first opened Division Wines in 2011 on Portland’s Division Street, they did so with the intention of creating a small wine store they believed would add value to their neighborhood. After all, the shop would be a mere 12 blocks from their home of 23 years, where they currently raise two teenage boys and their accompanying two cats, an anecdote mirrored on the Division Wines website. Danyelle and Will have 30 and 35 years experience, respectively, in the restaurant business–Will, positioned at downtown Portland’s South Park for the past 19 years, running their esteemed wine program for the most recent 13. As time beckoned for the couple to venture out on their own, the wine business was a natural segue. With eCommerce and big box stores ruling retail, they sought to create a neighborhood place where people know who you are and remember what you like to drink, a spot people can trust while exploring wines from around the world.
“What first attracted me to wine over 30 years ago still defines the shop today. Wine is connected to everything around it. Wine is farming, science, politics, religion, history, ambition, ego, grace, beauty, calamity, and more,” Will shares. Speaking with him for just a few moments, it becomes obvious why Will sees wine in everything. “The story of the vine is the story of the human experience. It needs to struggle a little to find true expression. Too much stress and it could break. Not enough, and it grapples with finding character. This journey defines me, and it defines our humble shop,” he says.