Until recently, the urban wineries popping up all of the city were known mostly to locals and their out of town guests. But with the help of the internet, good news travels fast these days and PDX Urban Wineries have become the darlings of the esteemed New York Times. A just published NY Times article has become the talk of the town among the Portland wine scene.
By highlighting several of our local urban winemakers, the NY Times has publicized our city’s secret, albeit one well worth sharing. One of the wineries mentioned is the SouthEast Wine Collective, started by Kate and Tom Monroe, owners of Division Winemaking Company. They realized early on that equipment is one of the largest expenses of a winery and decided that a shared space where several wineries would share the cost would be the smartest solution. The attached tasting bar has wines available from all those making wine in the space, along with a window into the winery.
“Urban winemaking isn't a novelty. Portland wineries are making wines that compete with the best in the state. There's really something happening here and the press has caught on. That's nice to see.”
Clay Pigeon Winery, another SE Portland winery mentioned by the NY Times, has come up with a slightly different approach to success. Started by winemaker Michael Clayhouse and cheesemonger Sasha Davies, ClayPigeon winery shares space with Cyril’s, a casual restaurant with creative dishes and a small but focused cheese case.
Says Michael Clayhouse, owner of Clay Pigeon Winery,
“The wineries in Portland work hard to both support and promote each other. Each of us has something unique to offer so I think all press is great press. It’s broadening the circles and amplifying what we’re doing to new audiences.”
Enso Urban Winery may be the most written about winery in Portland but owner/winemaker Ryan Sharp has managed to stay humble in the midst of the publicity. The winery regularly hosts other local winemakers and offers glasses of both wine and beer from other local producers alongside the Enso brand wines. Released earlier this summer, his bagged Portland Sangria, sold in a silver pouch, has been selling off the shelves of local grocery stores so quickly he’s found it difficult to keep up with demand.
Says Enso Winery owner Ryan Sharp,
“Portland just has a very unique winemaking culture. Perhaps it’s the Oregon spirit or perhaps it’s the communal DIY culture of Portland, or perhaps we all just like each other. Whatever it is, it makes winemaking here different than in Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, or the East Bay area. And I think that’s what has captured the attention of several publications and writers.”
So now that the secret is out, take a tour of Portland’s urban wine trail and see for yourself what all the buzz is about.