When you walk through John and Shay Wells’ apartment at The Stayton at Museum Way, two things are quickly apparent — the modified kitchen and pantry that nurture their love of cooking, and the custom “cave” that keeps 140 bottles of their favorite wines resting at a perfect 54 degrees.
The Wells are oenophiles, lovers of wine, and the cave at their new senior living residence represents a portion of their total collection. John says the flexibility to customize their home at The Stayton to accommodate their requirements contrasted with many other communities they visited.
“I’d given up — we were told by other communities our lifestyle would never fit their property,” he said, adding their apartment also houses a smaller 40-bottle cave, and an out-of- state property holds another 200-plus bottles. “Here at The Stayton, it’s wonderful; the people are interesting and educated.”
John was first introduced to the world of wine during his 20 years in the Navy. When he retired in the late 1990s, he and Shay moved to Europe. For nearly 20 years they lived in Scotland and Spain, developing their palates together through membership in an organization that gave them access to 700 vineyards and 100 farms throughout France.
“Our only obligation as part of this group was terribly stressful — we had to taste the wines,” said John with a laugh.
Their years overseas and extensive travels have introduced the Wells to wines from nearly every corner of the globe. Most of their favorites still come from Europe — France, Spain, Italy — but they’ve also found gems from countries like South Africa and Australia.
“If I’m going to die and go to heaven, I hope they have some of those vineyards there,” said John, who stressed good wine is wine you enjoy, not necessarily the most expensive bottle.