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Welches-area couples pour new life, variety into bottle shop, wine bar on Mount Hood

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN  - Kevin and Bri Dittlinger, Ryan Black and Michael Morlan took over at Cooper's Wine Bar on Sept. 1, reopening on Sept. 10. When John and Shannon Thompson opened Cooper's Wine Bar and Shop in Welches in 2019, they did it to bring some worldly variety to the community, and also provide another place for people to get together on the mountain. 

"We want to make it a little more accessible for locals and visitors to get wines not as easy to find," Shannon said in April of 2019 before Cooper's opened.

Now, new owners Bri and Kevin Dittlinger, Michael Morlan and Ryan Black, have taken up the torch to keep that space open at 24540 E. Welches Road. 

Bri worked at Cooper's when it was still under the Thompsons' ownership, and when they decided to sell, she saw an opportunity. Like the Thompsons, Bri is a self-proclaimed amateur wine connoisseur. 

"We try to have a pretty diverse selection in here," Bri explained. "This is the location to find the stuff you can't get in the store. I think part of the appeal of Cooper's is that the community can also use the space. We're here because we love the community and we want the community to know we're here for them." 

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN  - New owners gave the Welches wine bar a more modern aesthetic, painting over the original Tuscan villa theme. They've also added maps of different wine regions and created a feature wall for staff-recommended wines.Bri's husband, Kevin, and their friends Morlan and Black were quick to join the effort. Black worked in the winery business as a young adult.

"The love for (the wine business) has been there for a while," Black said. "(Getting in on Cooper's) was a chance to get back into it."

"None of us are experts, but we like learning about wine and want other people to have that experience," added Kevin. 

Under the new ownership, which took over in September, Cooper's has gotten a fresh new look. The Dittlingers, Morlan and Black gave the Welches wine bar a more modern aesthetic, painting over the original Tuscan villa theme. They've also added maps of different wine regions, created a feature wall for staff recommended wines and moved the local art that is on display and for sale into a designated gallery space. 

Behind the bar, the new team has made more investments in beverages for non-alcoholic customers, by bringing in Cova Coffee Roasters pour-over coffee and other non-alcoholic ales and wines. 

"We wanted to elevate that experience for the non-wine drinkers," Black explained. "You don't have to drink to come and hangout." 

To incentivize folks to visit, they've also "amped up" on hosting at the bar, facilitating evening events featuring a different vineyard every month and tastings every second Friday. Visitors to the bar are welcome to bring in food from local restaurants to pair with the beverages Cooper's has to offer. 

More information about Cooper's Wine Bar and Shop can be found online at 

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