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A local wine blog goes brick-and-mortar. Plus, twice the samples at Spuds in Sandpoint.

click to enlarge Spuds Rotisserie and Grill's Garden Potato. Try it during Dine Around Sandpoint
  • Spuds Rotisserie and Grill's Garden Potato. Try it during Dine Around Sandpoint
Josh Wade learned a valuable lesson last Friday: Tending to 75 thirsty people in a physical space (one with wine keys, a cash register, etc.) is a lot more difficult than presiding over a blog of 10,000.

“I didn’t get done until 3 [am],” says Wade, a local wine guru who writes the blog Drink Nectar. The cadence of his voice is a little slower than its usual perky clip. “Then I went and laid down over there.” He points to a low sectional sofa in the corner of NECTAR TASTING ROOM’s clean, loft-style brick-and-steel space. “I went home at 6:00 and was back by 9:00.”

The labor had been hurried for Wade’s newborn brainchild, but the delivery was a success. Those 75 people

packed the space at 120 N. Stevens nearly shoulder-to-shoulder and kept it that way the entire evening. Early in the night, people came, tasted, bought wine and left. Later, they came, tasted, bought wine and stuck around.

“That’s just what I wanted to happen,” he says the following night, when a more sedate, manageable crowd gives way to an after-hours party called “The Last Sip” ($10 for tastings from any open bottle).

Wade started his blog 14 months ago with the intent of using it to power a physical business. He used social media like Facebook and Twitter to market himself and his idea to both wine makers and wine drinkers. He also hoped to build a customer base that would not only buy into wine, but also into Wade himself.

The result is a tasting room that hosts five permanent wineries — Anelare (Kennewick), Hard Row To Hoe (Chelan), Northwest Cellars (Kirkland), Skylight Cellars (Walla Walla) and Terra Blanca (Benson City) — and 30 rotating wines. The wineries, which are broadly representative of Washington’s growing regions, showcase the state’s wide variety of grapes.

Wade would like to see downtown Spokane — where Nectar joins more than a dozen tasting rooms, wine bars and wine shops — become something like an embassy for regional wines and a place oenophiles want to vacation.

There’s a less lofty goal too — one intrinsic to the kind of friend-making Wade has been doing lately (4,000 on Facebook, at last count). “I’m excited to meet, face to face, all the people I’ve met online this last year,” he says.

If Nectar continues to draw as many people as it drew this weekend, Wade should be done with that goal on July 25, 2013. (Luke Baumgarten)

Nectar Tasting Room • 120 N. Stevens St. • Open Thurs from noon-5 pm; Fri- Sat from noon-9 pm; “The Last Sip,” Sat from 10-11 pm • http://www.nectartastingroom.com • 869-1572


SAMPLES Twice as Nice

Going back for seconds is encouraged in Sandpoint, which continues to offer communitywide events designed to illuminate its culinary breadth. Taste of Sandpoint, for example, occurs in both the summer (when it’s called Summer Sampler) and during Winter Carnival as a kickoff to a month-long event: DINE AROUND SANDPOINT.

On January 13th, Taste of Sandpoint brings together a dozen or so food purveyors at the Sandpoint Events Center, offering food and drink samples — all for under $10. Laughing Dog Brewery and Pend d’Oreille Winery will be on hand to pour beer and wine, and food offerings will range from pub food (Eichardt’s), to Italian (Pend Oreille Pasta and Ivano’s Ristorante), to desserts (Pine Street Bakery).

Get gourmet goodies from Trinity at City Beach, the Tunnel, and Forty-One South, which will be serving green-chili pistachio brittle and Stone Harbor crab bisque.

Once you’ve whetted your appetite for what Sandpoint has to offer, you’ll be better able to plan your return visit, because beginning January 14th and continuing through February 11, every time you eat at a participating restaurant you will be entered into a raffle to win the grand prize. Worth an estimated $750, the prize — like whipped cream atop an already sweet dessert — is dinner for two, once per month, for an entire year. Best part? You get to choose any twelve of the nearly two dozen participating restaurants, including Di Luna’s Café, Jalapenos, Mick Duff’s, Slates, Bangkok Thai and Connie’s, to name a few. (Carrie Scozzaro)

Taste of Sandpoint Kickoff • Thursday Jan. 13 from 5-8 pm • Sandpoint Events Center • 102 S. Euclid Ave. • Free; samples $1 – $7 • http://www.dinearoundsandpoint.com • (208) 263-7770

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