Tacoma’s wine dame is back. Kris Blondin’s Amitie Wine Company now open
If you’re a local who is familiar with the area’s wine scene you already know the name Kris Blondin. Blondin’s Amitie Wine Company is downtown Tacoma’s brand new wine destination that opened in February at 1130 Broadway.
And if you are a local, here’s all you need to know about Amitie: On a scale of Vin Grotto to El Tufo, Amitie rates a solid Vin Grotto, said Blondin.
“It’s much more like Vin Grotto in that the environment is subtly sexy and rather intimate. We are hidden away so it has a bit of a speakeasy feel to it. Great place to have an affair,” joked Blondin via email. (Her signature snark survived the last two years between businesses).
To catch you newcomers up: Vin Grotto was Blondin’s downtown wine destination that more than 15 years ago helped pioneer the growth of what is now a bustling dining district along Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma. El Tufo was the sibling wine-focused business to Stink Cheese + Meat, the last wine-and-food establishment Blondin owned and a St. Helens neighborhood mainstay. Blondin operated the restaurant and wine shop from 2011, with business partner Jack Noble, until she sold Stink and El Tufo to Steve Ramsey and Jenny Smith in 2018.
Wait, didn’t she say she wasn’t going to open another business back then?
That was a solid “probably” that she wouldn’t open anything else.
And yet, here we are.
And Jack is back, too.
“Jack Noble and I are equal partners in the business. He and I started STINK together. We originally met at Vin Grotto and haven’t been able to shake each other since,” she said. “Our wine preferences are quite different which makes what we do so fun!”
How does that pan out on the wine list? “I prefer the Old World style of wines (Burgundian Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays) and Jack prefers New World wines (Pacific NW, California, Okanagan Valley), but we both crossover quite a bit and have deep knowledge in both genres,” she described.
How fitting that the name is a nod to the French word for friendship. “This means a great deal to Jack and I because through all of our business dealings together, we never forget what our relationship means to us and its always at the forefront for us,” she said.
The wine business is actually divided into two spaces with different purposes. There’s a small tasting room and wine bar up front while, “a larger area to the back serves our wine club members and guests.”
“The tasting room is open to the public and is an incredible spot to relax, have a glass of wine and learn about wines from all over the world. We love providing samples of whatever we have open and sharing information about those wines. The wine bar/tasting room can accommodate 20 people in a tasting bar format,” she said.
She added, “Our Wine Club area, which we’ve dubbed ‘The Vin Grotto Room’ as an homage to my old spot, is equipped with a large retail wine section, tasting bar and area for private events, seminars and winemaker events. We can accommodate 30 to 40 people in the Wine Club. Both rooms have a sexy and industrial feel to them. Yes, you can have both!”
Initially, she found the space “weird.” Architect and former Tacoma City Councilmember David Boe tipped her to the spot when he moved his firm to the same building.
“But we really liked it and saw some incredible potential. Amazing what a coat of paint and great lighting can do. Also, the location is incredibly well suited for a wine focused business – we are smack-dab in-between Hotel Murano, Broadway Center and a steaming, delicious pile of great restaurants! Parking is good, we love the neighborhood and our landlord is the best we could hope for.
Fujiya Japanese Restaurant is nearby and will deliver sushi to the tasting room. Galanga Thai is also nearby, of course. Eat before you go, but Blondin said in the future they’re looking at adding tapas-style appetizers.
They aren’t hyper focusing on any one wine region or digging deep-level dork into Spanish wines like El Tufo did. Rather, this is a wine destination with a broad mission. And Amitie Wine Company carries Blondin’s and Noble’s playful approach to wine. They’re no wine snobs.
“Wine can be intimidating to some folks and here at Amitie Wine Company, that’s the last thing we want our customers to feel. No doubt it can be complicated but that’s why are here – to break it down and make learning about wine enjoyable, easy to understand and approachable.”
“We have wines and varietals from all over the world. As always, our motto is ‘wines that will always overdeliver for the price.’ Whether it’s a $12 bottle of wine or $100 bottle, we guarantee it will be fantastic. We have four monthly and four quarterly wine clubs. There’s something for everyone we hope,” she said.
The wine bar is open to the public at 3 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and on those days, they typically pour 10 to 15 wines-by-the-glass representing reds, whites, rosé and sparkling wines. They’re also open by appointment.
By-the-bottle goes big at Amitie
“We currently have 150 different wines by the bottle and try to add several new ones each week. These bottled wines are available for purchase to-go or can be enjoyed here for a $10 corkage fee.”
Tip: Wine club members don’t pay corkage.
She added, “We plan to begin selling wine ‘flights’ shortly so customers can have more options, and of course monthly wine tasting – Every last Thursday of the month.”
AMITIE WINE COMPANY
1130 Broadway, Suite 204, Tacoma; 253-341-5298
TEN BOTTLES THEY RECOMMEND YOU TRY RIGHT NOW
Sparkling – Gloria Ferrer Private Cuvée Brut (CA $27)
White – Nicolas Potel Mâcon Village Chardonnay (France $18)
Rosé – Fabre Côtes de Provence (France $16)
Light red – Willakenzie Pinot Meunière (Oregon $32)
Red – Século Bierzo Red (Spain $11)
Clearwater Canyon Albarino (Idaho $23)
Cline Cashmere Rosé (California $13)
Château L’Orangerie Bourdeaux Blanc (France $16)
Marchetti “Due Amici” Montepulciano (Italy $13)
Dunham Reisling (Washington $20)
DID YOU HEAR? TACOMA IS GETTING A HIGH-END MEXICAN STEAKHOUSE!
Opening soon, if not already, is Cuerno Bravo, an upscale steakhouse that is a sibling restaurant to Asadero Prime. Read all about it here.