Schmidt, Rich


1 hour 31 minutes 21 seconds


June 23, 2020


This interview is with Joel Gunderson of Coopers Hall. In this interview, Joel speaks of his journey from poet to Restaurant/Winery and Taproom owner. He begins with his unconventional early childhood, falling in love and moving to Portland, and his decision to pursue a career in the wine industry for his child and romantic vision of life. Joel speaks about getting his certification through the International Sommeliers Guild, and serving as the Wine Director for Restaurant St. Jack. He tells of learning how to buy wine for a restaurant and explains his method that works for him. In this interview, Joel gives in great detail his hospitality philosophy and how his goal is to make sure his guests feel safe, have fun, and have an authentic experience. Joel goes on to speak about his partnership at Coopers Hall and describes the stunning space, his unique experience with getting fine wines into kegs, and the decision to have wine on tap. Towards the end of the interview, Joel tells his hopes and fears for the future of the Oregon Wine Industry, some changes he hopes to see, and explains some of the impact COVID-19 has had on his space already. Finally, Joel tells what he sees as wine’s role in society.

This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt at Coopers Hall in Portland on June 23, 2020.


Some oral history interviews are conducted on site and may contain background noise from nature, winery, or tasting room operations.