The idea behind imbue started over a birthday dinner in the Willamette Valley. Eternal dreamers that we all are, we believed that making and blending the perfect vermouth, was well within our grasp.
After months of research and dozens of failed batches using over 60 botanicals, we arrived at a beautifully modern and strikingly delicious recipe fulfilling our desire to make something uniquely different.
At imbue we excitedly look to the future while relying on the collective experiences that have brought us here today: together we have 36 years in the restaurant industry, 15 years of bartending experience, 10 years in the wine industry, and 3 years in Portland’s Breweries. This company is a small piece of each of us. We are Derek Einberger, Neil Kopplin, and Jennifer Einberger.
Derek – Owner/Winemaker
Raised in the Napa Valley, Derek Einberger has always felt drawn towards winemaking. Despite this, Derek attended college at the University of Redlands, studied sculpture, then moved to Portland to further his work in the arts. While biding time as a server at the Kennedy School, Derek became enamored with the art of brewing. Cutting his teeth as a brewer, Derek brewed first for McMenamins, then for the Alameda Brewhouse, and finally for Bridgeport Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon.
After numerous batches of beer, Derek found himself slowly pulled toward the wine industry. His first seasonal harvest job was for Vietti in Northern Italy, after which he was hooked. He continued working harvest positions for Joseph Phelps and Twomey in California, and Domaine Serene in the Willamette Valley. Derek landed his first full time job in the industry at Lemelson Vineyards as Cellarmaster. Lemelson Vineyards is where imbue bittersweet was born, having been given the opportunity to utilize the space and some of the delicious Pinot gris from the Wascher Vineyard. Derek is now the Winemaker/Vineyard Manager at Patton Valley but spends every other waking minute thinking about vermouth.
Derek does think about work too much, but he also loves his mother, enjoys spending time with his special lady, making big Lebowski references, working on his house, playing with his dog Penny, being outdoors, traveling, and even making sculpture once in a great while.
Neil – Owner/National Sales
Neil Kopplin was born in Rural South Dakota. He attended a boarding high school in the sticks of North Dakota and attended college in agricultural Walla Walla, Washington. Seeking adventure and new experiences, Neil sold his cow (literally) and moved to big city, Los Angeles. In 1999, he discovered this wonderful place called Portland where he met his wife Sarah.
Neil has been in the restaurant business since age 14, working in 19 different restaurants in positions from dishwasher to front of the house manager. Neil has worked in some of Portland’s most prestigious bars, such as Beaker and Flask, Bluehour, Carlyle, and Clyde Common. He reigned as President of the Oregon Bartenders Guild from 2009-2010, an organization he helped found.
Neil ‘s been named one of Beverage Media’s “Top 10 Mixologists to Watch”and named one of “Portland’s New Mixoligists” by the Oregonian. In addition, his cocktails have been featured in numerous local and national publications. Neil is currently working as the Spirits Portfolio Manager for Vinum Distribution in Oregon, and beating the streets for imbue.
Jen – Owner/ Marketing/ Bookeeper/ Jill of all trades
Jennifer Einberger was born in Tarzana, California and as far back as she can remember, had a passion for travel. After high school she spent two years avoiding college by traveling in Eastern Europe and living in Germany, honing this passion. Upon her inevitable return, Jen attended Humboldt State University, receiving her bachelor’s degree in Journalism. While at school, Jen worked as a server at an eclectic little bistro named Hurricane Kate’s. It was at Hurricane Kate’s that Jen began her love and appreciation of wine.
Jen moved to Portland, Oregon in 2003 to be in a city near all the outdoor activities she loved. After spending time as a bartender at Bluehour, Jen worked for a short time at Sokol Blosser Winery, before transitioning to a sales representative at Mt. Hood Beverage. In 2008, Jen took a 3 month vacation to South America and shortly thereafter accepted a position at Patton Valley Vineyard, working as the National Sales Manager. In 2014, Jen left Patton Valley to focus on imbue and to spend more time raising her two boys. She got talked into being the bookkeeper for imbue, but she plays an integral role in the blending process, marketing and direct sales.