Salud! brings wine culture to downtown Camas

Wineville is the name of Salud!’s wine locker storage area. The new wine bar’s Wineville features “streets” with an assortment of rental lockers that will accomodate everything from a single case of wine to several cases of wine.

The inside of Salud!, a new wine bar in downtown Camas, has an eclectic-on-purpose look to help customers feel like they’re relaxing over a great glass of wine at home or at a good friend’s place.

Raechill Dotson, one of four owners of the new Salud! wine bar, events center and wine storage facility in downtown Camas, delivers a plate of food to a server through the Salud! kitchen window on July 31.

Inside Salud!’s “Wineville” customers can rent wine lockers on various “streets,” like Chardonnay Way, Pinot Gris Boulevard and Syrah Lane.

Whether you’re someone who considers themselves a wine connoisseur or a person who just enjoys a good glass of wine every now and then, Salud!, the newest addition to downtown Camas’ business scene, has something for you.

“We wanted this to be a place that would appeal to anyone,” explains Yolanda Taylor, one of Salud!’s four co-owners. “When people think of Salud!, I want them to think of community, of family, and, of course, of wine. We really want people to feel comfortable here, to feel like this is a destination for like-minded individuals to become part of a community.”

Located in the former Sears building at 224 N.E. Third Ave., the new wine bar also offers wine storage facilities, three levels of wine club membership, live entertainment and an events center.

The four owners — Yolanda and her husband, Gerald Taylor, along with Raechill and Tony Dotson — met years ago at the Cellar 55 wine tasting room in Vancouver, where they bonded over a passion for wine and entertaining. Fast friends, the two couples graduated from Cellar 55 to dinners at each other’s homes and, soon, to taking trips together to visit other wine-themed places.

“Every time we went to a winery or wine bar, we’d say, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a place to do this?'” Yolanda says. “And then, about two and a half years ago, I had a really rough day at work and was really stressed out when I got home. My husband asked me, ‘If money wasn’t an issue, what’s something you’d love to do?’ And I said, ‘That’s silly. You know that answer — I’d have my own wine bar.'”

Gerald Taylor went out that week to look at commercial sites that would be close enough to the couple’s Vancouver home, but not right in the city.

“We really wanted something in Camas or Ridgefield … I thought Camas was the cutest, so we looked here and saw this building. We reached out, but the Realtor told us that the owner wanted to work with Sears, so we didn’t get our hopes up.”

In the meantime, Yolanda and Raechill took classes for women in business and got involved with the Downtown Camas Association to learn more about the town where they hoped to site their future business. On the men’s end, Gerald, a financial services advisor, was crunching numbers and communicating with real estate agents and Tony, the group’s true wine connoisseur, was researching wines and creating what would someday become the Salud! wine list.

“Tony is our wine expert,” Yolanda says. “He loves everything about wine. You can walk in and say what type of drinks you like and he’ll say, ‘Here, try this,’ and it will be perfect. Right now, he’s studying to become a wine educator.”

When they were in the beginning stages of creating Salud!, the couples brainstormed how they might be more than just a regular wine bar. One of the things they had always wished they’d had during their travels to places like California’s Napa Valley, was a place to store the wines they’d picked up along the way. The wine storage units in the rear of the business, in “Wineville,” offer customers several options, from single-case to multi-case lockers.

Flexibility is a key aspect of the new wine bar. Customers can drop in for a glass of wine or a wine flight and some paired foods in the public wine bar area, which features an eclectic assortment of chairs and tables, to help encourage a more “at home” environment.

Or, customers can join one of the business’s three membership tiers.

The Cork Club is for people who don’t need to reserve the exclusive Bella Vino Event Room, but who might want to get discounts on their bottle purchases and one hand-selected bottle of wine per month. This membership level also comes with one free wine tasting per month, during Salud!’s Monday Wine Tasting events.

The middle-tier membership, the Magnum Club, according to Salud!’s website, is “the perfect club for the wine lover that wants to save a little more on their wine and food purchases … and those that know they will be buying wine from time to time and want to save on those purchases.” This membership tier, which is limited to 100 members, comes with two hand-selected bottles of wine each month as well as two free monthly wine tastings.

Finally, there is the highest tier of membership, the Exclusive Barrel Club, which is more for business people who love wine and want to host business events inside the new Bella Vino Event room. The membership comes with six bottles of hand-selected wines each month, includes four free wine tastings per month, four reserved hours in the event room every month, an annual invite-only gala event for Barrel Club members, a single-case wine locker and 25 percent off of pretty much everything sold at Salud!

For more information about the memberships, the Wineville storage lockers, the weekly musical entertainment, the wine and food menus or the Bella Vino event room, visit www.saludwine.com.

The new business opened earlier this summer and had its grand opening in late July. Salud!, at 224 N.E. Third Ave., in downtown Camas, is open from 3 to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 3 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit www.saludwine.com, call 360-787-2583, or check out Salud!’s Facebook site at www.facebook.com/Saludwine.