Sips

Let them drink wine

Ask yourself the following question: "How many times have I gone down to Boeing Field to board my plane to Sun Valley or Palm Springs for the weekend, arrived at my destination, then wasted what little time I had there shopping for wine?" If your answer is "Not all that often, actually," you probably won't require the services of an ambitious new Seattle enterprise called D'Vine (www.d-vine.net), the brainchild of Kevin Novack, a Portlander who wants to take the pain out of wine buying, storing, and giving for folks who do have private planes waiting to whisk them away for the weekend. Novack is just 26, but he's been part of the world of wine (and private planes) since childhood. His father is a wine collector; he attended Whitman College during the years that wine-grape cultivation was growing explosively around Walla Walla. But after graduation his sights were focused on family operations in shipping, steel, and real estate. Shipping won the toss, but after a year or two in Europe exploring his options in the field, the siren call of the Northwest was too much for Novack. One night he awoke with the entire idea that became D'Vine complete in his head. "Whenever I went out, I was always the one people turned to for advice on what wine to buy," he says. "I realized I could market what I knew." With "my parents' friends" and people like them as his target market, Novack developed a business that promises to relieve its clients of all anxiety with respect to matters vinous. He will design you a wine cellar, counsel you on what should be stored in it, cater your next function, and provide gift packages for your most valued clients or your next charity function ($100 to $1,000 per). If you're a valued customer and want just one special bottle for a special occasion, Novack will not only suggest one, he will personally track it down, procure it, and, if necessary, deliver it himself. This may sound like rather too much of a good thing, but it may work out as well for Novack as he hopes. The aristocracy of wealth has always needed experts like him—"people of our own sort"—whose recommendations can be trusted about art, antiques, horseflesh—the trappings that confirm their status to themselves. And these days a trophy wine cellar beneath the trophy house has become almost as desirable as the trophy spouse upstairs. One can only admire Novack's entrepreneurial spirit, though it makes scanning the racks at Costco for something under $12 for Sunday dinner seem so, well, d飬ass鮠 rdowney@seattleweekly.com

 
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