Who Needs the Wine Country When You Live in Lake Oswego, Oregon?

World Class winesBenjamin Franklin once said, “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” Come Friday nights in Lake Oswego, you’ll find a group of 50-100 wine lovers gathered at World Class Wines who are very happy indeed. They have discovered that you don’t have to travel to the wine country to enjoy and learn about wine. You can do it right in town. Here’s how.

Show up at one of World Class Wines Friday night wine tastings. Offerings include six wines for $10 with cheese and crackers or 8 wines for $15. Resident wine geek, Rick Baldwin, is usually pouring, sometimes with the help of local winemakers or distributors. He provides tasting notes along with answers to any questions you may have about how the wine is made, what to pair it with or how it compares to the vintages you tried the week before.

Regulars come for the camaraderie as much as the education. “You feel like you are at a neighborhood party,” explains Vicki Kozlowski .  “We have made many good friends at the tastings and learned a great deal about wine while having a very good time.”

Friday night tastings are date nights for Kirk and Sheri MacDowell. “An evening at World Class Wines is really an event,” MacDowell explains. “It can be a bit intimidating for first timers,” he admits, but “the regulars understand that and within minutes people introduce themselves and more regulars are born.”

Take a tour of the shop with wines organized in sections to make it easier for you to get around: $15 and under, rosé, Oregon wines, $15-30, champagne-bubbly-and dessert wines, and a fine wine room of  $30 and above featuring hard-to-find wines, aged wines, and verticals. “Wine can be overwhelming for people,” Baldwin explains, “That’s why we have it divided by price so you can hang out where you are comfortable spending.”

Enroll in the wine club. It’s customized to suit your tastes. You pick the price level for two bottles of wine ($30, $50, $75), frequency (monthly, every other month or quarterly), and type (one red and one white, two reds or two whites). Baldwin will tailor the selections especially for you.

Sign up for one of the monthly Saturday night premium tastings which feature pours from the fine wine room/private cellars and catered appetizers. Space is limited and reservations needed. Tasting fee is $50.

Schedule a private group tasting. Work with Olson and Baldwin to tailor a night with friends or co-workers.

See if you can stump Baldwin. Co-owner Susan Olson says it hasn’t happened yet. But Baldwin is up to the challenge. He’s comfortable talking with wine novices as well as connoisseurs because he has been both. Baldwin admits to drinking wine on ice before tasting a Silver Oak Cabernet in the early 80s. “It was like an aha moment,” he explains. “That afternoon I went home, subscribed to every wine publication and started collecting wine.” His private cellar held 4,000 bottles at one point. The guy has done his research.

World Class Wines is located at 269 Southwest A Avenue  Lake Oswego, OR 97034. (503) 974-9841.

Got a favorite spot in Lake Oswego you’d like to let readers know about? Give a shout-out here.

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About lovelakeoswego

I feel pretty lucky—I live where I work and I love where I live. As a Realtor in Lake Oswego, I get to share that enthusiasm with clients every day. Through this blog, with the help of my freelance writer wife, Genita, I’d like to share that enthusiasm with you. The quality of life you’ll find in Lake Oswego belies its size—there is so much to experience here from a fireworks show over the lake on the 4th of July to the Festival of the Arts--one of the premier arts events in the region. So please check in each week for another reason why I love Lake Oswego and who knows—maybe you’ll fall in love too! If you’re interested in experiencing Lake Oswego personally, please feel free to contact me either on my cell at (503) 939-9801, via email at costellok@hasson.com or check my website by clicking the link in the "Contact me" section in the right hand column. I would love to show you around.
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