Dana Frank’s New Natural Wine Fair Has Us Scoping Flights to PDX

The Wild Bunch was created to…celebrate winemakers, importers, and artisans from around the world in Portland. Even though we’re in the middle of wine country, Portland has been focused on beer and cocktails for so long and been relatively disconnected from wine culture. We wouldn’t be where we are in Oregon without the history of wine in Europe. We want people to be able to discover wines that would otherwise take them months or years to try if they were buying full bottles. It’s for anyone that’s interested in wine, especially natural wine, and likes to have a good time. Also, who doesn’t like a party?

Wine has the power to…help us understand the world better. It’s a way to connect with other people and places throughout history as part of our everyday lives.

I decided to open Bar Norman because… I thought that if I didn’t do it, someone else was going to do it. Up until this point, I had never had much of an entrepreneurial spirit. I was always very afraid of failure and rejection. Before I was about to open the bar, all of those lingering doubts disappeared and I felt like I had to do it.

Right before we opened…my sister Linsey gave me a framed copy of “The Man in the Arena” by Teddy Roosevelt, which hangs next to my mirror. I look at it every morning to remind me that there are going to be critics and people that don’t agree with the choices that I’ve made, but at the end of the day the only person I have to answer to is myself: If I’m not trying and not failing then what am I doing?

One of my greatest pleasures is… growing up with my daughter Orly. I’m learning to be a better person by way of raising her.

I’m nourished by…the people in my life, both my family at home and my family at Bar Norman. I feel so grateful to work with the people that I do everyday and share that space with them. I’m grateful to work with people that are so good—good at their jobs, sure, but just good people.

My connection between wine and music...is through my husband Scott because he’s the reason that my life is full of good music. There’s no day without music anymore; it’s constantly playing in the house, in the car, and in the bar all of the time. I have a deep love of Ethiopian and Nigerian music, as well as R&B—mostly whatever Scott is listening to, I’m listening to. I actually appreciate the times that are quiet because they’re so few and few between.

I’m inspired by…the next generation of womxn in their teens, 20s, and 30s who are pushing against the patriarchy, knowing it’s the only way forward. Certainly I have bold, outspoken colleagues my age and older (and thank god for them!), but I’m from a generation of industry professionals that was accustomed to being bossed around by men. Now, I’m feeling more empowered to stand up for myself and other womxn around me. I don’t want to ever feel like I can’t speak my mind. Been there, done that.

I started running… on a whim. I had always thought I didn’t like running, but I knew that I needed something to get me moving again after having my daughter and I couldn’t figure out how to fit anything else in. Running was simply a matter of putting on shoes and going out the door. Going out for a two or three hour run was the only time I had to myself; I wasn’t getting that space in any other way in my life.

Cooking is how...I feel connected to the world. It’s similar to the way I feel about wine. I focus most of the food that I make from places like the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Europe. I like to buy a cookbook or come back from a trip and delve deeply into that food culture.

I’m looking forward to…the rest of my 40s. I am really loving and reveling in my life as it is right now. I feel like every year gets better because I’m learning so much about myself. I’m in my 16th year of working in wine, Bar Norman is well into its second year, and I run a couple of different wine businesses. I’m a mom and a wife.

Right now, my focus is on… mentoring. I’ve been so fortunate to have incredible mentors in my career and it’s time to start giving some of that back. My goal is to help my vibrant, energetic staff, who have many more hours in their days than I do, find their own way in the world.

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