OlyWines aims to help people embark on a journey
By Danny Stusser and Lorilyn C. Lirio
For cellar master Ed Schlich, wine is a democratic drink that everyone should taste without worrying about their knowledge of the products.
“People have been intimidated by others when it comes to wine. If they dare walk into a wine store and are approached by an unwelcoming merchant, they are put off by the whole experience,” Schlich said.
At OlyWines, Schlich offers much more than bottle choices. It provides an educational experience for people and helps them “get started on their journey” with wine. He said that wines have many flavors that touch on cultural, historical and culinary points.
“I like to share the [wine’s] provenance – where it comes from, its history and cultural ties,” Schlich said in an interview with Shaking.
OlyWines, located at 321 Cleveland Avenue SE, Suite 309 Tumwater, opened in April.
Its Facebook page indicates that Oly Wines offers a wide range of catalogs from around the world. These wine collections come from Washington, Oregon, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia/New Zealand, California, South America, Israel, Lebanon and even Uruguay, all housed in a 640 square foot boutique.
He is sure that people will be happy with the price of his wines because people generally have the impression that wines are expensive. “Wine, being “democratic”, should not cost more than $15. It should be accessible, price-wise. »
OlyWines, he added, has plenty of bottles under $20. It has great lines in the $11 to $17 range.
Wine, his passion
Schlich has over 40 years of experience in the wine industry.
He claims to have had excellent mentors and extensive training in all things wine.
After attending college in Virginia, he took up winemaking. “Then a family friend pulled me out of the vineyards in Virginia and said, ‘I need you at Windows on the World.'”
Windows on the World was the fine dining restaurant on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center in New York. Schlich worked at Windows on the World from 1978 to 1979. He did the equivalent job that is now generally called a sommelier – a sommelier.
“We didn’t use the word sommelier back then because of the snobbish association with all things French in wine,” he said. Instead: he was the cellar master.
When he was not at the restaurant doing cellar mastery, Schlich was responsible for maintaining a reserve list of approximately 4,000 different wines.
He left for France and worked in a vineyard, first as an assistant, then as a wine seller to the public and as a wholesaler-importer. He stayed there for 17 years.
When COVID-19 hit, everything went online.
At that time, Schlich was in Bogota, Colombia, where he taught English, primarily to businessmen.
“I wasn’t born with a mouse in my hand, and I got tired of clicking,” Schlich said. “But the students loved my classes because I taught life lessons through language. It’s the kids who are computer programmers, computer technology specialists in Bogota,” says the wine lover from 61 years old.
When he returned home in August last year, he started planning the wine business. At first he had a partner who wanted to do business online. This means more “clicks” for him. Schlich says he’s a brick-and-mortar guy and prefers to deal with people, not computers. They separated.