Easy Portland urban wine tasting

Easy Portland urban wine tasting

Sip a flight of Rose City’s finest.

By Margarett Waterbury

Great wine is being made in a wide range of climates, regions and styles throughout Oregon — including in its largest city. Portland has one of the largest communities of urban winemakers in the nation, which makes it possible to have a true Oregon wine experience entirely inside city limits.

In addition to winemaker-led tastings, the tasting rooms offer a packed calendar of paired dinners, classes and special events ranging from traditional Old World-inspired harvest parties to tongue-in-cheek pairing events (Tempranillo and tater tots, anybody?). Best of all, their in-town location makes logistics a breeze.

Original SE Wine Collective location by Jamie Francis

“What I love about urban wineries is their accessibility,” says Kate Norris, co-owner and winemaker at Division Wine Making Company and Southeast Wine Collective, which moved in summer 2021 to an expanded Southeast Portland location with an outdoor patio space overlooking downtown. “I love going out to the Willamette Valley and taking wine trips, but it’s not something I can do all the time. Sometimes convenience is really great.”

Another benefit to wine tasting in the city is variety. While some urban winemakers own or rent their own vineyards, most also purchase fruit from multiple growing regions throughout the state. “When you visit an urban winery in Portland, you’re getting to taste Oregon,” says Laurie Lewis, Wine Goddess at Hip Chicks Do Wine, the city’s oldest urban winery. “You’ll see so many more varieties than you would at a vineyard that farms the majority of their own grapes.” Over the past two decades, she’s sourced grapes from virtually every viticultural area in Oregon, including the surrounding Willamette Valley, which supplies Pinot noir for Hip Chicks’ full-bodied Riot Girl Rosé.

Two people seated behind a bar smiling at the camera
Hip Chicks Do Wine

“The Northwest is still a frontier wine area, which means we get to experiment a lot,” says Kate. “As urban winemakers, we can really tap into that and give our guests more to try.”

Drinkers curious to explore Oregon’s burgeoning sparkling-wine movement can pop open a bottle of Division’s La Tempête, a traditional-method, three-year-tirage sparkling rosé made from Willamette Valley Pinot noir, Pinot meunier and Chardonnay. Big, bold reds more your style? Reach for bottlings showcasing fruit from the Applegate Valley AVA, like the 2017 Gamine Syrah and 2018 Division Cabernet Franc “Granit.”

Clay Pigeon Winery by John Valls
Boedecker Cellars by Kai McMurtry

Easy Transportation for the Win:

Portland’s plethora of car-free transit options makes getting between wineries a delight. Hop on your own cycle or rent one from Nike’s Biketown program. Several e-scooter companies also operate in the city. Major ride-share apps, traditional cab companies or public transit can cover long distances quickly. And, of course, there’s always good, old-fashioned walking. Many of Portland’s urban wineries are tucked into some of the city’s most interesting neighborhoods, and there’s no need to pick a designated driver if you’re all on foot.

When You Go:

Visit PDX Urban Wineries’ website for winery information, maps and reservation information:

Adega Northwest Archival Boedecker Cellars
Clay Pigeon Winery Division Winemake Co. Helioterra
Hip Chicks Do Wine Jackalope Wine Cellars Ram Cellars
Seven Bridges Willful Wine Company William Marie Wines
NashCO Photo