By Gail Oberst
Will closes the car door after visiting Oregon Wine Services’ McMinnville storage facility and quips: “Now I know where I want to spend the zombie apocalypse.”
“What?” I ask Oregon Beer Growler’s 20-something Beer Champion, whose pop culture references are sometimes over my head. “I’d lock myself into the warehouse and live my last days very happy,” he answers.
I laugh. Nervously. But I get it.
The McMinnville warehouse has 173,000 square feet packed with wine in climate-controlled storage. In 2011, co-owners Jeff Meader and John Niemeyer added another 63,000 square foot storage facility in Tualatin and began filling that.
Meader is now adding beer storage and other services of interest to Oregon brewers including handling the details needed to ship beer out of state, and even some temperature-controlled delivery to Washington and Northern California destinations. Shipping permits, bond and tax payments, compliance oversight, and other details are all part of the services under the Oregon Wine Services & Storage roofs.
Mountains of wine and beer while the zombies outside do their worst? Not a bad way to go.
“We’ve got plenty of capacity,” said Meader. The business has been serving winemakers since it opened 11 years ago. Today, Meader said he is eager to offer his company’s storage and shipping experience to Oregon’s craft beer industry. If there’s enough interest, Meader said he would create a special beer storage area in the Tualatin facility that could keep beers at optimum temperatures. Currently, his facilities store wines at a constant 58 degrees in warehouse rooms protected with fire sprinklers, video surveillance, and an inventory system that tracks wine location right down to the bottle. Clients can retrieve inventory information instantly on the web, or call in and ask for it.
Oregon Wine Services & Storage began in McMinnville as a storage facility less than half the size of its current building. The McMinnville building expanded in 2008. Today, from its McMinnville and Tualatin locations, Oregon Wine Services is storing up to 650,000 cases of wine from 220 Northwest winery customers at any one time. The company prepares more than 3,000 shipments per week.
Meader said he’ll apply his company’s experience and resources to his brewery customers, too.
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