Rose Zhu and Chris Tanghe, M.S. Walter’s Wine Shop and Upwell Wine & Coffee

Venture pairs Master Sommelier Chris Tanghe with chef Rose Zhu

Walter’s Wine Shop and Upwell Wine & Coffee will be opening in West Seattle. The businesses will be located on California Ave SW one block south of the SW Alaska St. junction.

“It’s three concepts under one roof,” says co-owner and Master Sommelier Chris Tanghe. “The goal is to have this constant place of delicious beverages and snacks.”

The first business is Walter’s Wine Shop. Named after Tanghe’s dog, the shop will feature approximately 350 wines spanning the Pacific Northwest and around the world.

“We’ll focus on quality and trying to be as sustainable as possible,” Tanghe says. “We’ll source wines that really deliver a lot of bang for my buck.”

Walter’s Wine Shop will also offer back vintage wines sourced from a private cellar. While the focus will be on wine, the shop will also offer non-alcoholic beverages, sake, and beer. The shop will leverage Tanghe’s 30 years of hospitality industry experience.

“It will be a hospitality-focused retail environment,” Tanghe says. Walter’s Wine Shop will also have a regular educational component, centered around a communal table.

The other half of the business will be Upwell Wine & Coffee. The space will start out as a coffee shop. The core coffee offered will be Herkimer, a roastery located in Seattle on Phinney Ridge. There will also be a rotating featured roaster, with the first being Elm Coffee, a roaster in Pioneer Square.

There will be a substantial focus on savory offerings at Upwell during coffee shop hours. “Most places have 90% sweet things,” Tanghe says. “We’re going to be more like 50/50.”

Food will be prepared by chef and co-owner Rose Zhu. Zhu has worked at Gramercy Tavern in New York City and Avenues at The Peninsula in Chicago. She has helped open multiple businesses, including Little Uncle, Stateside, and Foreign National. Zhu also works as a personal chef.

The space will then close between 3-4pm and will be converted into a wine bar. All aspects of the coffee shop part of the business will be hidden.

“It’s the same name for two concepts, but the idea is to create clear identities for each of those services,” Tanghe says.

Wine will be offered by the glass and by the bottle. The stemware and decanters will be from Sophienwald. There will also be a small wine/vermouth-based cocktail menu as well as non-alcohol offerings. Upwell will likely expand to offer spirits in the future.

Food will also be offered during Upwell’s wine bar hours. Tanghe says there will not be a full restaurant-style menu, but the offerings will be “substantial.” “You could definitely have a meal,” he says. Upwell Wine & Coffee will seat 29 people indoors and will have two outdoor patio tables.

Tanghe, who received his Master Sommelier certification in 2013, has worked many jobs in the service industry. They include dishwasher, sous chef, server (The Herbfarm, Canlis), wine director (Aragona), sommelier (RN74, Canlis, Matt’s in the Market), general manager (Crush), and import portfolio manager (Vinum).

At present, Tanghe serves as director of education at GuildSomm, a non-profit, member organization focusing on beverage professionals. He intends to continue working at the organization. Tanghe has also served as chief instructor and executive director of GuildSomm.

Tanghe has been contemplating the idea for these businesses for a long time. He and his business partner, Zhu, have been working on this specific concept since January of 2022.

“Twenty years from now, if I didn’t do it, I’d think ‘Well, I should have at least tried it out,’” he says. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done honestly, and we’re not even open yet.” Tanghe also intends to start a wine club and sell wine via e-retail under the Walter’s Wine Shop brand in the near future.

The grand opening for Walter’s Wine Shop and Upwell Wine & Coffee is planned for June 29th. Walter’s Wine Shop will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Upwell Wine & Coffee will be open seven days a week between 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., close for an hour, and then reopen for wine service 4-10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturday.

Image courtesy of Walter’s Wine Shop and Upwell Wine & Coffee.

Northwest Wine Report is wholly subscriber funded and is my primary source of income. Please subscribe to support continued independent content and reviews on this site.

To receive articles via email, click here.