Stephanie Gwin liked researching the best wines to bring into her shop, and the challenge of finding the perfect bottle of wine for a customer. But after a seven-year run, she and her husband, Bryan Traylor, are selling off their inventory and closing down Corvallis WineStyles.
The retail shop and wine bar at 2333 N.W. Kings Blvd., next to WinCo, hosted wine tastings three evenings a week, packed the house with Friday night trivia events and sold wine-related merchandise. The place sold wine by the glass, the bottle or the case.
Gwin has been the face of the operation with help from part-time employees — mostly viticulture students at Oregon State University — and her husband, who’s also the principal at Hoover Elementary School.
But family circumstances have changed, she said, and she is needed more at home these days.
“I need to spend more time taking care of children, and I can’t really devote the time I need for that and also run a business,” she said. “One thing had to go.”
She would have considered hiring more help if WineStyles brought in more business.
“If we had been wildly profitable, we probably wouldn’t be closing, but it was a combination of things,” she said. “We put a lot of effort into making it a beautiful place, and people still come in and say, ‘I’ve never been in here before. How long have you been here?’”
The Corvallis store is the last of the WineStyles franchises left on the West Coast except for one in Anchorage, Gwin said. After she and Traylor spent more than a year trying to sell the business, they decided to close it down.
The wine must go by the end of the month, when the business’ alcohol license expires.
“All wine has to be sold, or it has to go home with me at that point,” Gwin said.
WineStyles will stay open a few weeks into July to sell off everything else, including merchandise and the store’s chandeliers, wine alcoves and pub tables.
Although there are other wine establishments in town (such as Dulce del Alma on the downtown riverfront) that offer a wide variety of wines, WineStyles is unique because it is the only venue that is strictly a wine bar and shop, Gwin said.
“Wine is pretty big around here,” she said. “I still think the town needs something like this because I don’t think there’s another real wine bar in town after we close. Maybe somebody will decide to start something here.”