Staff

Jennifer Armstrong
Owner & Event Coordinator

Johnna Buchanan
Manager & Wine Buyer

Irene Quinn
Asst Manager & Wine Club


 

HISTORY

When it comes to history it can be hard to know where to start, how far back to go. My introduction to wine came at the same time as my introduction to design, when my age was still in the single digits. My dad, an avid wine collector, would get boxes of wine in the mail that came with a big red stain on them to make it appear as though a bottle had broken in transit. For some reason that stuck with me, the idea that a box could do more than hold it's contents.

The thing that captivates me the most about wine is the aroma. Long before I was old enough to drink or comprehend it’s complexity, I associated that smell with excitement and joy. It was the smell of my family all being together, of my dad being home for dinner, of luxury, celebration and relaxation.

Flash forward to when my age was well into the double digits, my family had become fragmented, spread out across the country for one reason or another. Working in restaurants through my twenties, I found myself searching for new ways to cultivate those feelings. I savored the moments when everything came together just right, when everyone was enjoying themselves and that aroma lingered in the air and on people’s breath. It’s that magic that happens when everything is in harmony, not just the quality of the people or the food or the wine, but of the environment everything happens within. The components of gathering come naturally to family, but with strangers they have to be cultivated. Being apart from my family made me think a lot about how to create community, how to find a family within strangers.

It turns out I wasn’t the only one. Having settled in the Willamette Valley, my father was seeking something similar, and found it in the Baldwin family. Scarcely would he mention them without likening them to family, and even though it was several years before I would meet them, I still remember when he told me about Rick Baldwin’s funeral, that he had never been to a service with so many people, and wished he had the chance to know him better. It’s a sentiment I’ve come to understand after we decided to purchase Rick’s wine shop, World Class Wines, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting his customers and friends, which more often than not are the same thing.

Baldwin’s is named in Rick and his families honor. It’s history is the history of family; the way it molds and binds us. The way we find it in unexpected places, or return to it after years of trying to escape it. It’s the manifestation of my desire to create community out of strangers, to capture that magic I felt as a young girl, the sweet sound of a bottle being uncorked, the smell wafting throughout a candle lit room. But most importantly it’s about enjoying life, embracing it’s complexities, and savoring it’s treasures, because you never know how much of it you have left.

Cheers friends,

Jenn

 

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