What do you think of when you think of Oregon and wine? Most people would say pinot noir, but Portland’s leading edge urban wine scene is a reminder that Oregon’s winemakers have more tricks up their sleeves. Port in Portland? Check. Sangria in Stumptown? Got it. Rosé in the City of Roses? Oh yeah. But let’s ditch the puns and get to tasting. While at last count there were at least 12 winemakers in the city limits, here are three special ones look for on your next visit.
If you’re serious about getting a feel for Portland urban wines and really want a Portland experience, look no further than Hip Chicks Do Wine, located in an industrial district in southeast Portland. The oldest of the urban wineries, Hip Chicks is owned by hip chicks Laurie Lewis and Renee Neely. The company embracing quirky themes and labeling such as Drop Dead Red (a Bordeaux blend), but also offers more traditionally styled wine, like its 2011 Muscat, a Double Gold Medal Winner. Hip Chicks also produces a delicious port under its sister label, Tiernan Connor Cellars.
Looking for a hip, trendy place to relax after a day of touring Portland? ENSO Winery is located within a quick bus ride of most downtown hotels in an absolutely beautiful, charming space that happens to double as an event venue. ENSO’s bottles are elegantly designed, but judging by the awards being racked by up owner Ryan Sharp, it’s not all show. ENSO makes a popular summer sangria blend and a signature red table wine, Resonate, as well as a regular rotation of other limited-edition wines.
If your visit to Portland is a short one, consider the one-stop-sipping you’ll find at the Southeast Wine Collective, located on Portland’s trendy southeast Division Street. You’ll enjoy a variety of en vogue bars and restaurants before or after your tasting. The collective is home to quite a few urban winemakers, and seems to be a soft landing spot for new winemakers, making it a great way to discover the latest and greatest. Ask for the wine flight of the day and explore wines from multiple winemakers in one sitting.
Closing tip: if you plan on exploring multiple wineries during your time in Portland, be sure to grab a PDX Urban Winery Passport for special offers and savings.
Andy Hayes is the founder and creator of Plum Deluxe, a website that helps you create moments that matter. He hails from Portland, Oregon. For more ideas on interesting wines, check out more of his wine reviews.