Blackbird Wine & Atomic Cheese caters to locals and travelers alike. Our wines, cheeses and charcuterie are carefully hand selected to showcase unique finds from small artisan producers around the globe. Blackbird Wine & Atomic Cheese caters to locals and travelers alike. Our wines, cheeses and charcuterie are carefully hand selected to showcase unique finds from small artisan producers around the globe.
Proprietor: Andy Diaz
Address:4323 NE Fremont Street, Portland OR 97213
2-8 p.m. Tues. + Wed.
Noon-9p.m. Fri. + Sat.
2-7p.m. Sun. + Mon.
1. Why the Name Blackbird Wine Shop-Atomic Cheese?
Because I knew little about wine or running a business when I started, the blackbird aspect of the name was included because it was a way of expressing that this “little bird could learn how to fly.” Atomic means small and powerful…that’s how we wanted people to think of our cheese – that, and the whole name is fun!
2. What does your business do/sell? (products & services)
We offer our patrons an array of wine selections that, due to lower volume production, are not typically available in supermarkets. We also serve cheeses, charcuterie and small plates that pair well with our wines. Our house-made offerings include pickles, chicken liver pate and meal accompaniments such as our onion relish. In addition to selling wine and food, we host wine tastings regularly to give people a chance to broaden their knowledge of wines. We use a sort of classroom ambiance – library seats and tables, laser pointers and informational wall posters because we wanted to peel away the veneer of fine dining and ostentatiousness, and just share our enthusiasm for discovery of new wines.
3. Did you purchase this business or start the business?
I started the business in 2007, in a smaller space behind Green Dog Pet Supply. In 2009 I moved into this larger 1,800 sq. ft. space which allowed us room for table seating, food preparation and service. At that time we went from selling only wine to our current enhanced food offerings.
4. What inspired you to buy or start it?
A joke! I lived in New York City at the time, and was friends with a woman from Portland who was in the wine business in NY. I told her I should start a wine shop in her old Portland stomping ground. We laughed about it, because I didn’t know much about wine. But the joke took hold, and later I opened the doors to Blackbird Wine-Atomic Cheese in Beaumont Village.
5. Why did you choose Beaumont Village for Blackbird Wine?
When I first visited Portland with opening a wine shop in mind, I drove all over the city to determine a good location. At the time there was one of Portland’s finest restaurants – Fife- located in BV on Fremont. It was a great drawing card to the area. I thought a wine shop and a great restaurant were complementary businesses. I also learned that in zip codes 97213 and 97212 there were fewer cable T.V. subscribers. I thought that might mean they were learners, and they’d be less inclined to watch T.V., and more inclined to be open to learning about wine.
6. What makes your business unique?
Our wines aren’t the least costly available, but our selection of wines is comprised of small volume wineries – not available from big distributors. That makes us unique – and we are nice – which helped us when two other wine shops opened within months of our store’s launch. The other shops aren’t here any longer. It was my grandfather’s suggestion that we could differentiate Blackbird from the other wine shops by being nicer. I guess he was right! Our customers provided a great deal of input on what they liked and didn’t like in their wine selections, so I think our customers feel they’ve been a part of helping us grow. We absorb their input with graciousness, and they appreciate it.
7. What is the most interesting thing you’ve done in your life?
I used to be in T.V. production, and I hosted Anthony Bordain in Puerto Rico for an episode of “No Reservations.” We had a wild adventure and road trip around Puerto Rico, because the episode was required to include “superstition, boxing and roasted pig.” A great romp!
8. Another Noteworthy Item:
Inspired by the movie “Giro dreams of Sushi,” Andy invested again in Beaumont Village in August 2013 when he opened Daruma, a sushi bar, in a former Ristretto Roasters location near the intersection of 42nd Avenue and Fremont.