Papà di vino Wine Shop and Bar

It seems like with all the great wineries and vineyards in the Willamette Valley, that there'd be more than a couple of wine shops in a city the size of Salem.  While small towns like Dundee have a wine bar or tasting room on every corner, Salem seems to get overlooked.  Tim Wallace and Debbie Reaves decided to change that, and recently opened up a new wine shop and bar at 1130 Royvonne Ave. in South Salem called Papa Di Vino.  My first impression of the location was that it just wouldn't work.  The parking lot is odd with a drive-thru coffee stand in the middle, and the neighbors are a quick-mart, Fresh Salad Express, and a European grocery.  It just seemed to be a weird spot for a wine bar.  But, after several very pleasant and friendly visits, I'm inclined to believe that Tim and Debbie could make their wine bar work wherever it landed.
The wine selection isn't overwhelming.  You won't wander for hours, walking down aisles, reading labels, and trying to decide which bottle of pinot noir is going to work best with your New York Steak.  However, Tim or Debbie will stand there with you, and help you pick out a really good bottle that you are guaranteed to enjoy.  They'll show you the wines that they personally like, and the ones that they feel are the best wine for your buck.  They'll take the time to educate you about wine and the wine-making process, and they do it in a language that anyone can understand.  When you're done, you'll feel like you're buying wine from a friend.
Since this is a wine shop, wine and atmosphere take precedence over food.  The light appetizer menu has quality snacks that pair well with wine -- bread, meats, olives, cheese, bruschetta -- all for about $5-8 per appetizer.  If you're really hungry, this menu is not for you.  I recommend eating a meal before you go, or making this an appetizer stop before dinner.  I would like to see something of more substance on the menu, for example, some hearty desserts, or specific dessert/wine pairings... mmmm, cheesecake and port.
Their calendar stays relatively full -- on Thursdays, Papa Di Vino has a 5 for $5 deal where guests can taste 5 wines for $5, and most Fridays and Saturdays there's an event of some sort, usually a tasting from a specific winery, or a musical guest.  They've got several "Last Minute" bands (scheduled at the last minute) who come in and play from time to time.  Unless you go on an off-night, the place stays pretty busy.  I haven't been there when there's music, but I hear it's a hoot.


Anonymous said...

We were there for their "After Thanksgiving" dinner and it was fantastic, much more substantial than just appetizers.

We were there again later at a Christmas event with my SO playing sax with the "Last Minute" band. Fun for all, and I got to see friends I hadn't seen in a long time.

I've stopped in a few times during the day on weekends to pick up wines for special events, and Tim is always very helpful and friendly in helping me pick the perfect wine.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info! I've been curious about this place. I live in the area, and a friend of mine took his girl there for an evening but I never heard how they liked it. Now I want to go!

Speaking of the location...
It is odd, BUT I want to highly highly recommend Privet, the European market located in the same parking lot. My husband and I frequent the market whenever we can... sometime we're looking for something specific, like a great smoked sausage for a stew recipe, or some fruity mixers or pickled goodies for a party, or a hearty, crusty bread. But usually, we just go for fun to see what we walk out with! Looseleaf tea, caviar, delicate, tantilizing cookies and candies, a chocolate torte or a package of unusual pasta. I'm attracted to foods I've never tried before, so this is my new favorite place! I encourage anyone to go, the folks that run the place are fantastic and so friendly.

Vegan's Nightmare said...

I agree! That little market is really cool. I picked up a smoked sausage a few weeks ago (absolutely delicious) and noticed that they had some lunch items. Maybe a review will be coming?

Anonymous said...

I totally agree as well on Privet European Food and Bakery. The rye bread is fresh and always still warm whenever I buy it there. It's the closed I get to the breads I remember from back home in Germany. The have hugely increased German/European groceries, like dry goods, condiments and deli cold cuts and cheeses. They are always friendly and when you spent over a certain amount (I think it's 30 or 40 dollars) you always a free treat, i.e. chocolate or a fresh piroggi. LOVE THE PLACE!