Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants, in the heart of downtown Bellingham, is the go-to shop for anyone who appreciates two of life’s great joys: wine and art. Open since May, it is operated by long-time wine pros Ted Seifert and Diane Jones.
Located at the corner of Prospect Ave. and Champion St. (just down the block from The Temple Bar), the space is perfect for the concept of wine + art. Walking through the tall, heavy, wooden door, you’re immediately surrounded by display upon display of wine from all over the globe. Time to channel your inner “kid in a candy store!”
If you need any guidance, you’re in luck: behind the Seifert & Jones name is 50 years’ combined wine and food industry experience, with Ted coming from the wholesale side and Diane from the retail side. It was only natural for these two to join forces to share their vast knowledge of wine with their fellow Bellinghamsters. Plus, Diane had always wanted to combine her love of wine and art, so that’s one item off her bucket list!
Their selection covers the usual European and South American appellations, along with a nice representation of Northwest and California wines. Ted says their offerings will continue to evolve; he plans to add more Pinots from Oregon, along with classics from France’s Loire and Rhone Valley.
Seifert & Jones entered the retail wine market with a quest to support smaller importers and distributors that can’t compete with wines purchased in huge quantities by larger chains and big-box retailers. In this capacity, they can offer quite a different selection than you’ll find on a typical grocery store shelf—and an experience you’ll find nowhere else.
This past Friday evening, they offered (free!) tastings of wines from Spain and Portugal, imported by Bellingham’s own Casa Ventura Imports. A couple of weeks ago, I tasted some Italian wines that almost took me right back to Italy, where last May I consumed approximately 32 gallons of wine in two weeks.
Check their website for upcoming tastings and events. In addition to amazing wine, Seifert & Jones is also a place to enjoy marvelous art exhibits, in conjunction with Fairhaven’s Lucia Douglas Gallery. The wine shop space, with its mile-high ceilings, bright white wainscoting and tons of natural light (augmented by track lighting for these dark early evenings) nicely shows off art by Northwest artists—currently Susie Wind, Scott Williams, Thomas Wood, Diane Culhane, Suzanne DeCuir, and Margaret van Patten. Every three months, the exhibit changes and every first Friday, they celebrate (with wine, of course) Downtown Bellingham’s Art Walk.
The store layout is perfect for browsing the wine displays, with helpful shelf talkers and hand-written notes to provide more information, often including what Ted and Di think of a particular wine.
Walking around, glass in hand, and dreaming about building up my a) little wine cellar and b) little art collection was the perfect way to spend a seriously cold Friday evening. An added bonus was the opportunity to gaze upon the artwork, including Landscape with Nuthatch by Thomas Wood, one of my favorite local artists.
Along with wine and art, Diane and Ted are really into supporting the Bellingham community. “We wanted to be downtown, and contribute to its continuing revitalization,” said Diane.
Whether you’re a self-described wine snob (which I am decidedly not) or you’re new to exploring the fruit of the vine, Seifert & Jones will appeal. Here, you’ll get more than a bottle of wine to bring to your next holiday party—you’re going to get an experience that only comes when you patronize small, local businesses owned by real people with a real passion for what they do—and a deep appreciation for their customers.
Diane and Ted have decades of experience in the business, and they taste about 30 wines a week to narrow down what will appeal to their customers. But they don’t want to just sell wine—they’re out to develop relationships with both customers and winemakers that actually make a difference—and are good for the community.
They say wine is history in a glass, but Ted expanded on that. “Wine is about farming, and food; it’s memory and it’s art,” he said. I couldn’t agree more. At Seifert & Jones, you’ll find wine, art and community to build some memories on.
Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants, 19 Prospect St., Bellingham WA 360-393-3271
Value Bubbles Tasting (free!)
December 13, 2013
Jacques Copinet Champagne Tasting (free!)
December 14, 2013, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Big Holiday Reds Tasting (free!)
December 20, 2013
December 27, 2013