Our Story

 White line illustration of a grapevine with clusters of grapes and detailed leaves

From La Cantina to University Wines

Found in the charming Laurelhurst neighborhood, University Wines has been a cherished purveyor of fine wines in Seattle since 1972. Initially established by the legendary duo, Mike and Mike, and formerly known as La Cantina, the shop garnered renown for its direct partnerships with small wine producers, offering a curated selection of exquisite, rare, and reasonably priced wines. Under the stewardship of owner Gordon McIntosh from 2011, University Wines expanded its repertoire, sourcing wines from France, Italy, Spain, and South America. Visitors were treated to Gordon's infamous photo albums, filled with enchanting tales of wine tasting adventures and picturesque landscapes, while also eliciting insightful advice for their own upcoming travel adventures. These narratives, coupled with Gordon’s ability to impart his enthusiasm and expertise, are what ultimately propelled University Wines into its next chapter.

Gordon McIntosh in a green jacket and glasses holding a bottle of red wine inside a historic Seattle wine shop.
Michelle Schaber in glasses and a green jacket gives a peace sign while standing in a doorway leading to a room filled with wooden barrels at University Wines.

Michelle Schaber:
From Classrooms to Corkscrews

Michelle’s entry into the world of wine isn’t typical. Her journey began in education, with Michelle, a graduate of the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest, dedicating over 25 years to fostering young minds.

For over a decade, Michelle managed classrooms at the University of Washington's Children Center and Montessori Children's House. In 2011, she embarked on a new chapter, establishing her own Montessori school with a focus on nurturing young learners in a close-knit environment.

Michelle's passion extends beyond the classroom. Leveraging her organizational and educational skills, she co-owns University Tutoring alongside her husband Chris. In 2020, fate brought an unexpected twist. University Tutoring relocated its offices above University Wines. There, Michelle met Gordon, the store's owner, and was captivated by his storytelling about the wines he offered.

Michelle's appreciation for both Gordon's passion and the exquisite wines on his shelves grew steadily. When Gordon contemplated retirement, Michelle, with her characteristic enthusiasm, seized the opportunity to take the reins. Recognizing Michelle's genuine love for wine and her commitment to exceptional service, Gordon happily passed the torch.

Today, at University Wines, Michelle has begun her studies of wines from around the globe. She is happily embarking on her odyssey through the world of fine wines and ready to share that knowledge with you.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Michelle enjoys attending Mariners games, hiking, exploring on her electric bike, and spending quality time with her three boys.