It was on a night like tonight about a year ago, when the inspiration for Syndicate was realized.In the Fall of 2018, we wrapped up one of several winery consulting gigs: Meeting with owners, advising on things like finance and HR, building a Web and Social presence… After hours, we would meet up back home, fire up the grill, pop a few corks, and… decant.

After all the focus and data, we needed a place and space to process the information, to make sense of our experiences, and breathe, to be the most help for our clients. It was a grind, and it was good. It reminded me of my early days consulting.

What were literally weeks of these get-togethers came towards a close. Then, it happened one November night. I sent a message to our group, saying simply, “Syndicate, Unite!” They came, and we decanted. The question came up, How could we create a place that does what we were doing, in a physical space with wine? A wine bar and consulting company? That was pretty much it. We knew we had to open up a wine bar, in Beaverton, to provide the Westside a unique place in which to build business, and… yup… decant.

By mid-December, and after a solid month of reflection on the idea, Angela and I committed to turning this idea into reality. The featured image for this post was taken at Winderlea’s holiday party, and it’s the best one I could find of us that fit the playful attitude we had at Syndicate’s conception, and creating a fun atmosphere around wine, while treating it and related culture seriously.

From there, it was finding the property in January, filing legal paperwork in February, bottling our first private label wine in March, and the subsequent build-out of Syndicate’s elements — furniture, custom lighting, Juniper slab bar tops, and finally the wine wall itself. All of this took time, and yes, required proper mental decanting to accomplish.

The word, decant, is an interesting one. Though the dictionary defines it as ‘transferring a liquid from one container into another without disturbing the sediment’, in wine culture, decanting means much more. Yes, sediment, if any, can be avoided by decanting, but the more important benefit is that it helps aerate a wine, so as to allow oxidation that brings out the hidden aromas and flavors. Some wines, without decanting (breathing), will not present their full potential.

As I was sitting down to type this, I realized ‘decant’ is a term that fits well in describing me, on this journey of professional identity rediscovery. I am still an owner of an IT firm, but increasingly am drawn closer in my role as Sommelier at Syndicate. I don’t like titles, but the lack of solid definition has been a challenge. Time is working that out for me.

The word also applies to how so many of our ideas were written down into plans, and then actions, and have resulted in a unique space like Syndicate. It was just a trifle this time last year; We officially pushed Go only in February. The build-out was the simplest part. Curating the wine has taken on a life of its own. The ideas are ever-evolving, just like the aromas of a 1996 Campora as it breathes for the first time in 23 years.

Decanting boils down to this: Great things are possible, with the right amount of time, space, and patience.

It is a true departure from my old habits for me to say I am learning to enjoy slowing down, watching the world pass, accepting each day as important, and looking forward to the times when I have nothing before me requiring my attention, and I can just sit, and enjoy the moment. It’s the same way a good glass of wine should be experienced.

Taking the time to stop, to sniff, swirl, and sip that glass of red, to ponder how blessed we are to live in a part of the world creating some of the planet’s finest wines… it’s awesome, and something you might miss if you’re going too fast to see it.

Syndicate has helped me realize many things, and further down this path is where I’m headed. That is the gift that Syndicate has made possible for me. It means I’ve awakened to a world of time to dive deep into the wines we curate and offer you; The knowledge potential is incredible, and I look forward to spurring your imagination and interest in wine. I wish to bring the very best of wine culture and greet you with it, whenever you visit us at Syndicate.

I’ll blog here when I can, about wine culture, the goings-on at Syndicate, or odd bits of knowledge I’ve learned along the way that I think you’d be interested to know about.


David Anderson