Today is May 16th. It may not be an important date for you, unless you were born today (in which case, happy birthday!) For us, however, it began somewhat as a random date in time, a day in which we first opened the doors to our first business creation, Assaggio, an Italian restaurant in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland. We didn’t pick that date as much as it picked us. The process of building a restaurant from scratch in a commercial building takes time, planning, a lot of permits and process and so to some extent the gods dictated what date we would open up for business. It was May 16, 1995 – 25 years ago today, and we weren’t prepared for what was to come. Less than 48 hours after opening, we had a small review in The Oregonian, a line wrapped around the block of our building, and our restaurant was full within 5 minutes after opening everyday for the first 2 years and then some. A little piece of history was imprinted on us that May 16th was a significant date to be remembered.
The success of that first venture ended in a sale in 2005. We took the proceeds from the sale, along with the same corporate entity (now renamed Viola Wine Cellars, Inc., lending a bit of foreshadowing of what was to come), and used it to launch our 2nd venture, cork – a bottle shop. Our opening day – May 16, 2006. We figured why tempt fate with a different opening date when the first one went so well!
Way back then in 2006, nobody in Portland seemed to know what a bottle shop was, so we spent a lot of time the first few years explaining to people on the phone that we did not sell empty glass bottles. Back then, not many retailers were using the internet or email to send out newsletters of wine offerings – heck, iPhones didn’t even exist yet if you can believe that! With its e-newsletters, cork created its own special niche in the Portland retail wine scene and garnered accolades from the local and national press for its efforts. We had a lot of fun exploring the world of wine and many memorable trips along the way.
In the process, I started making more and more of our own wine, using my Italian family name Viola on the label. So after a couple vintages of production at Casa Viola, our home winery, we decided it was time to say goodbye to the everyday retail wine shop and morph into a full-time winery with our own tasting room. To do that, we closed down cork on December 31, 2013. Some 5 months later on, you guessed it, May 16, 2014, we reopened the Alberta location as the tasting room for Viola Wine Cellars.
One little corporation. Three different business names. Twenty-five years of hard work, amazing employees, wonderful customers, challenges ranging from 9/11 to food trends working against us to the Great Recession and now the Coronavirus situation. Somehow we have survived it all and we couldn’t have done it without your ongoing support.
We are so pleased and honored to have been able to serve the Portland community with food and wine offerings for the majority of our adult life. Your kind words and encouragement over the years and the friendships we have forged from the many we have met along the way will forever be in our hearts.
And since we’re obviously not going to have a big public gathering to celebrate this momentous occasion, we thought at the very least we could offer some fun discounts to those of you still following our emails after all of these years.
25% OFF: Please take advantage of our 25 years of work and enjoy a 25% discount off the purchase of any of the remaining Viola current releases.
LIBRARY SELECTIONS: Additionally, we’ve pulled out some special selections from our library of older bottlings of popular Viola wines. All are limited in quantities so don’t delay if you see your favorite listed.
LET’S MAKE THAT A CASE: Finally, if you order 10 bottles – we will fill your box with 2 free special bottles of our choosing to round out a full case when we deliver it to your door next week. Yes, free wine with the purchase of 10 bottles of any of our wines on the website.
So stock up, take advantage of great savings, and maybe find a surprise or two in your box.
FREE PORTLAND DELIVERY. All orders placed by Tuesday will be delivered between Wednesday and Saturday, based on your location. We’ll notify you at least a day in advance when to expect delivery.
Thanks for all of the years of your support and for letting us be a part of what makes Portland such a special place to run a small business.
Cheers and saluté!
Darryl and Sarah
TAKE 25% OFF WINE PURCHASES
Enter Coupon Code ANNIVERSARY25 and your cart will automatically reflect a 25% discount off regular Viola releases, which include 2018 Pinot Bianco, 2017 Collina d’Allegre, 2018 Dolcetto Riserva, the last few magnums of our stainless 2018 Dolcetto and our Viola Red Wine Vinegar.
Special library selections have been chosen for your drinking pleasure. No further discounts – supplies are limited, so act fast!
Order 10 bottles of anything you want and we will fill your case with 2 special Viola bottles selected from our cellar.
Delivery in the Portland Metro area is free and we will coordinate with you a date in the coming week to get you your wine. If you’re not in our delivery zone, you can have a case of wine shipped to you if you live on the West Coast. If you have any ordering questions, please email us at [email protected].