Mixing Art and Wine, Near Portland

Potters Vineyard Sandy Short

Winemaking isn’t something you just do. Sure, there are books about it, guides to follow, and science you can study, but so much of it is art. It stands to reason that it takes artists to make wine. Meet Sandy and Bill Sanchez.

Sandy wasn’t too thrilled when Bill’s winemaking journey began with a kit of juice and a fermenter placed in the bathtub in their master bedroom. That odyssey came to a screeching halt when the fruit flies arrived. Bill kept working at it, and a few vintages later, the wine he was making had gotten pretty good. You might expect at this point in the story, that the Sanchez’ bought a vineyard, and now their wines win awards. It’s true, but that isn’t the whole story.

Potters Vineyard wine

At an age when most young boys are dreaming of basketball stardom, and deciding girls aren’t gross, Bill was dreaming of selling pottery at the Saturday Market. One day, he asked his dad if they could put in a potter’s wheel and kiln in the basement of their house. Dad agreed, just so long as Bill kept up with school. The Ph.D. he got from the University of Florida shows he kept up with his end of the bargain.

Potters Vineyard tasting room

High school sweethearts, Bill and Sandy, started dating during their senior year. Pottery was barely more than a hobby for the first 30 years. In 2007, they decided to start selling professionally. Lots of us dream of turning our hobby into a business, but few are ever able to take that big leap. Packing and unpacking pottery, set-up, take-down, shuffling between shows and markets; it’s all a lot of work. They loved it, but success is never easy.

Potters Vineyard pottery1

Going pro with your hobby, just once, is more than enough for most people. In 2012, however, the Sanchezes decided to do it again. The idea they hatched was that if they had a winery, their tasting room could also be their art gallery. They could combine the two, and the result would be a new experience for wine tasters.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark” — Michelangelo.

Sandy’s Italian heritage is evident in the tasting room and on their wine labels. The brand on their label reads, “Vino Vasai,” which is Italian for Potter’s Wine, which sums up their business.

Potters Vineyard pottery2

Reservations for wine tasting may be made online by clicking here. While there, you’ll enjoy their Pinot Noir that James Suckling scored as high as 93 points. You’ll also see the clay gallery, which features works by the Sanchezes, as well as other local artists.

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