Many Oregon vintners celebrate terroir — their grapes’ natural environment — with a hands-off approach, allowing the wines to express their vintage. In Portland, urban winemakers have been crafting wine for the past decade amidst the city’s tree-lined avenues and industrial rail yards, proving that wine can express terroir even when made far from the Willamette Valley’s bucolic vineyards.
The young entrepreneurs and winemakers involved in Portland’s growing urban wine scene share a common passion: community. While producing wine in a city is not avant-garde, visiting a winery inside Portland’s city limits has become a more common experience as urban facilities continue to grow, making high-quality wines more accessible to all. “There’s a different wine for every day — happening right here under this roof,” says Kate Norris, co-founder of Division Winemaking Company, one of the city’s first urban wineries, founded in 2010.
Not at all thankless for the Willamette Valley, Norris gives rural winemakers abundant credit. She appreciates the hard work that happens in vineyards but cherishes that an urban location permits her and her husband, Tom Monroe, to reach more people than they could in the valley. Norris believes their wines, featured at the SE Wine Collective, provide accessibility for customers who might find a trip to wine country time consuming or intimidating, while also acting as a gateway to the Willamette Valley.
Since 2012, SE Wine Collective has been an incubator for upstart winemakers — a dozen of which now use the shared custom crush facility. Many host wine dinners and tasting events at the restaurant space, Oui! Wine Bar + Restaurant, and benefit from the power of partnerships in the urban winemaking and culinary community. Visitors can watch some of the winemaking in action and choose from a list of 30-plus wines by the glass.
Anne Hubatch of Helioterra Wines and Vincent Fritzsche of Vincent Wine Company were two of the collective’s early winemakers. They agree that being near their customers was essential to making wine in Portland — not to mention the short commute and more time spent with their families. “There is no trade-off for the visibility we get by being in the city,” says Hubatch. “Portland is a craft food and beverage mecca. It just makes sense to operate in the heart of it all.”
If you go
Find a map of urban winery locations, and double-check hours before visiting; many are by appointment only. Look for more details at PDX Urban Wineries. Here are several to try and their current operations as of July 2020.
Hip Chicks Do Wine: Reservations required and guests must wear face coverings when not seated at a table. Free local wine delivery on 4+ bottles in the Portland metro area and curbside pickup available Thursday – Monday, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Enso Urban Winery: Open Tuesday-Saturday 4-8 p.m. for dine-in and to-go. Online events include virtual tastings.
Helioterra Wines: Private tastings by appointment on a limited basis. Groups must confirm that they have been symptom-free for at least 14 days. To-go bottles available Wednesday and Saturdays, 3-5 p.m.
Vincent Wine Company: Tasting appointments available for those on the mailing list. Face coverings required to enter the building or to use the bathroom.
Willful Wine Company: Tasting room open Friday-Saturday, 12-5 p.m. by appointment only. Receive 10% off your first online order and free local delivery or 50% shipping for order of 6+ bottles.
SE Wine Collective: Patio dining open with physical distancing and face coverings required when not at table. Order to-go food orders at least one day prior to pick up. Online and phone-in bottle pick-ups available Tuesday-Saturday, 12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m with free local delivery within 10 miles of the winery and for orders over $120.
- Located at SE Wine Collective: Jasper Sisco, 51Weeks Winemaking, Esper Cellars, Gersing Cellars, Laelaps Wine, Loop de Loop Wines, Open Face, Ore Winery, Pampleau, Statera Cellars, Stedt Winegrowers and Welsh Family Wines.
Viola Wine Cellars: No longer accepting online orders.
Jan-Marc Wine Cellars: Tastings by appointment only. Offering bottles and cake for takeaway, curbside service or next-day drop-off.
Seven Bridges Winery: Open for pick-up Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. or by appointment.
Boedecker Cellars: Open for tastings Wednesday-Saturday, 2-7 p.m., with spacious interior seating, pre-poured table tastings, separate entrances and face coverings.