On February 3, I sent Review subscribers an email announcement that Esquin, which I founded in Seattle in 1969 and sold in 1997, had been sold to Downtown Spirits in Seattle. Here's my story of Esquin Wine Merchants when I owned it.

How I Got into the Wine Industry

I spent the summer of 1969 in Europe, I bought a Triumph Spitfire roadster which I picked up in Coventry and drove around England and Scotland and then to France, Italy and Germany. Along the way, I visited wineries and drank wines at restaurants. That trip is what initiated by interest in wine.

The following year, the Washington State Legislature passed a law allowing retailers to sell out of state wines as well as those of Washington. One time, my father and I were visiting Esquin Imports in San Francisco  and one of the owners, Karl Petrowsky, asked us if we would be interested in opening an Esquin store in Seattle. Sure, we were. One thing led to another and in June, 1969 we reached an agreement to start an Esquin store in Seattle in a building next door to my father's medical clinic on First Avenue South and Atlantic Street. It had an underground basement - perfect for wine storage and we opened the door in December.

Over the ensuing years, I was a wine merchant at Esquin-Seattle. Initially, I had a partner, but two years later, I bought him out and ran the business solo, churning out newsletters about the wines being offered. Many trips to California, Europe and elsewhere were made. In 1972, Karl Petrowsky departed from Esquin-San Francisco and I continued to work with the other owner, Ken Kew, who eventually sold his store. For a while, I had another partner, Jim Kunz, help hen until he sold his interest.

After 27 years in the business, I sold Esquin to Chuck LeFevre. For the following 10 years, I was a consultant, mainly writing the store's newsletters. During that time, Esquin moved to its present location at Fourth Avenue South and Lander Street. I was laid off in 2008. After that, I began an on-line newsletter, The Review of Washington Wines. In 2013, my wife, Lynn, and I moved full time to Walla Walla and I continued my career in the wine industry. It is still a rewarding endeavor.

From 1997 on, my successors, Chuck and daughters Stephanie and Alisha, did a great job running Esquin for 26 years. With its acquisition by Downtown Spirits, Esquin Wine & Spirits has entered a new third phase in its operation, headed by Marques Warren. My congratulations to all who have been or will be involved with Esquin.