Séjourné Pleased to Pour

By Yvette Saarinen

The grand opening of Séjourné, an artisan wine shop and wine bar at 448 N.E. Third St. in downtown McMinnville is under way today, according to Kevin Howard, who co-owns the business with his wife, Robyn. The 1,400-square-foot building was the former home of Accolades.

Séjourné, which means to be rested or to be resident in a place, has elegant bar seating, comfortable table sets, and a library of Oregon artisan wines, focusing on those from the Yamhill-Carlton District American Viticultural Area.

“We launched Séjourné to celebrate our first vineyard and winery estate, and now we are excited to bring our wines to vibrant downtown McMinnville,” said Kevin Howard, who also serves as winemaker. “We have attracted a loyal customer base at our estate in Yamhill and pouring at events. Now with the Séjourné Wine Room in downtown McMinnville, we will have an opportunity to introduce our wines to a much larger audience.”

The Howards, who hail from Southern Oregon, purchased four acres between Yamhill and Carlton, and built a small winery. The first vintage was in 2006, and production runs around 1,000 cases a year of estate Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The Syrah Howard makes at the insistence of his wife, who is a fan, is sourced from Southern Oregon. His 2006 Syrah won a gold medal at the Seafood & Wine Festival in Portland in January and just scored a 90 in Wine Spectator.

Séjourné offers $5 tasting flights, which are changed weekly, wines by the glass, and a library of bottle wines. In addition to wines produced at the Séjourné estate, the bottle collection also includes boutique Oregon producers and winemaker selections. All bottles are available for take-home purchase or may be enjoyed in the relaxed atmosphere of the Séjourné Wine Room.

“We have a number of winemaker friends who produce fantastic artisan wines, and this is an opportunity to showcase these undiscovered gems alongside our own Séjourné wines,” Howard said. “We will be able to provide a wine shop for customers seeking hard-to-find wines, with a focus on boutique Pinot Noir and Oregon selections. Customers can also sample these great wines and enjoy small plates in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.”

The small-plate menu includes mixed olives for $2, an assortment of cheese for $7, a charcuterie assortment of Genoa and Toscano salamis with Mediterranean olives for $7 and a smoked salmon salad for $8. Soft drinks also are available.

Howard had a test-run opening during the recent Who’s on Third? downtown festival and said he was delighted to offer about three dozen tastings a day. Visitors were an equal mix of locals and out-of-staters, he said.

The building offers an underground storage area, which doubles as a wine cellar and has a mezzanine in which he hopes to one day offer other wine-related events.

The shop also is an outlet for Robyn’s handmade lavender lotions and dried flowers grown on their small farm.

Howard said he has moved to almost exclusively offering screw top bottles, eschewing the romanticized cork because of the possibility of cork taint. One of his suppliers, Jean Driscoll of WildAire Cellars in Dallas, supports the screw-top preference. “Even our reserve wine is bottled with a screw top,” she said.

Howard helped his brother, Blake, open Zenas Wines tasting room in Carlton in 2006.

Séjourné is open from noon to 6 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sundays.

More information is available by calling 503-474-4499 or visiting . ◊

Yvette Saarinen is the business editor of the News-Register in McMinnville.

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