About four years ago, Roger Olson started traveling the world, looking to connect with small, family-owned winemakers who grew the grapes and bottled their product themselves.
His journey took him to not only France but Italy, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, the Republic of Georgia, and Croatia. During a 24-year career with the Army that ended in 2002, Olson had been to Croatia during a tour of duty. That included going to Yugoslavia during the Yugoslav Wars, which were a series of separate but related ethnic conflicts, wars of independence, and insurgencies fought in the former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 2001, leading up to and resulting from the breakup of the Yugoslav federation in 1992.
So you may be asking, “Wines from Croatia?”
A timeless pairing: How to make the most of National Cheese Day? Bring wine
In case you missed it: Five women who’ve re-shaped the wine world for the better
“We don’t push them but they sell themselves,” Olson said. “It’s predicated on the back story. There are indigenous grapes grown in Croatia. The Teran red grape, Plavac Mali, the white Malvazija. And there are others as well. Winemakers in places like Napa Valley don’t want to grow them so it provides Croatia with notoriety.”
On New Year’s Eve, Olson, partner Duane Jahner and manager Ryan Baber opened Good Intentions Uncorked. The timing of their move during a global pandemic was questioned but Olson said, “That’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
Olson, a native of the Red River Valley in North Dakota, has lived in Cape Coral on and off for eight years. He was introduced to the area when his father Dale, a radio announcer, would come to Southwest Florida for spring training because his station carried the Minnesota Twins.
Olson also had a couple of other philosophies. Good Intentions’ location – 1307 SE 47th Terrace – puts him right around other small-business owners who work 60-80 hours a week.
“All of those restaurants have the same passion we do,” Olson said. “We felt it was important to be in an area that associated with walking so people could visit four or five establishments. It’s worked out very well as far as foot traffic.
“We don’t see them as competitors, we see them as partners.”
Good Intentions has done virtual tastings, including with a winemaker from Argentina. Olson, who likes to tell a story about each of his wines, also has worked with Noela Chocolates and Scotty’s Bierwerks on various tastings, Baber said.
If you go
What: Good Intentions Uncorked
Where: 1307 SE 47th Terrace
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: noon-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: noon-midnight; Sunday: noon-8 p.m.