No matter how hard you squint, the low-slung, uninspiring warehouses that populate Nothwest Portland’s industrial district will not resemble the verdant rolling hills of Oregon wine country. So you’ll have to let the wine at Boedecker Cellars, perched incongruously on NW 30th Avenue, transport you instead. The pours from the husband-and-wife team effort are more than up to the task. A great place to start is the $15 tasting flight, which includes the Portland Wine Project's refreshingly approachable PDX Blanc, a blend of chardonnay, Riesling, and pinot gris that tastes like summer and bubbles, even as the weather turns to fall.
During a summer visit, the winery’s kitchen wasn’t up and running after re-opening yet, but the owners have installed a rad, refrigerated vending machine that lets you build your own charcuterie board—think La Quercia prosciutto, Rogue River creamery Oregonzola, and Beecher’s Flagship crackers. They even provide cunning wooden cutting boards and cheese knives for your mix-and-match picnic; the five wines in the tasting flight come in their own pour-it-yourself glass bottles, for the optimal self-paced, whiled-away afternoon. 2621 NW 30th Ave, boedeckercellars.com —Julia Silverman
TOP POUR: The 2017 Athena pinot noir, made from Willamette Valley grapes, with lingering notes of Darjeeling tea and tobacco
Founded in 1999, this Southeast institution is the city’s oldest urban winery, yet its vibe is definitely more wacky feminist earth mother than stuffy grande dame. Its tasting room sits at one end of the winery’s airy, purple-walled and foil-ceilinged warehouse space off SE Holgate. (Follow the signs from SE 26th and Schiller to find it.) Order a “jarcuterie” snack assortment in a mason jar or a plate of toast with a refreshing lemon-thyme ricotta spread, and then decide if you want a whole glass or a rack of test tubes with the day’s offerings. A flight might include a very zippy Riot Girl dry rosé, a just-sweet-enough muscat, and a seasonal sangria deepened with smoked fruit.
Expect to meet one of the original Hip Chicks pair behind the counter, or their son, who’s almost old enough to drink the reserve-label wines that are named after him. Watch for rotating frosé, themed food pairings (a recent flight came with bite-size bacon treats with each wine), and special events like a potato-riffic, dipping-sauce-dotted Tots & Tempranillo day. 4510 SE 23rd Ave, hipchicksdowine.com —Margaret Seiler
TOP POUR: Drop Dead Red. With a specially commissioned label based on pulp novel covers of the 1940s, this bottle looks as good as it tastes, a smooth blend that’s a steady favorite. The current version uses cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
The journey to this North Portland winery nearly threatens to overshadow the wine. Tucked beneath the Fremont Bridge, the combo production winery-slash-tasting room is a short walk from the 35 bus stop and Albina/Mississippi MAX station, with views of Forest Park and the lonely buzzing of high-voltage power lines.
Luckily, the wine holds its own. Launched by Bob Switzer and Jim Straus in 2008, Seven Bridges (so named for the number you could see, pre-Tilikum Crossing, from the roof) began as an answer to Oregon’s oversaturated pinot noir market. Using grapes from a slew of vineyards across Oregon and Washington, Switzer and Straus cut their teeth on big, bold, Bordeaux-style reds: malbecs, cab sauvs, merlots, Syrahs. They’ve since given in to pinot pressure (the 2017 Willamette Valley noir earned my pinot-skeptical palate’s grudging approval), and don’t count out a stray rosé or chardonnay.
The tasting room is modest and cozy, with furnished alcoves in a warehouse of barrels. A tucked-away “chandelier room,” with a table that fits six, provides slightly less natural light but more ambience. 2303 N Harding Ave, sevenbridgeswinery.com —Conner Reed
TOP POUR: The 2016 zinfandel, made with grapes from Gunkel Orchards family vineyard in Maryhill, Washington, is a figgy, jammy wonder.
If Riesling conjures up memories of the sickly sweet, hangover-inducing stuff from your college days, please let Teutonic Wine Company convince you otherwise. As the name suggests, owners and married couple Barnaby and Olga Tuttle specialize in German and Alsatian wines (made with Oregon grapes), particularly dry Rieslings.
Some guiding principles: only natural yeasts, sourced from the vineyards where the grapes are grown, are allowed; grapes grown at higher elevation are selected so they can remain on the vines longer and develop more complex flavors; only grapes sourced from dry-farmed vineyards are permitted; and grapes come from old-growth vines wherever possible.
Tastings are available by appointment only (call or email to snag your spot) from Thursday through Sunday at the industrial-quirky Brooklyn winery, where the tasting room is adorned in wood and bright brick red. The dry-yet-fruity, lush 2020 rosé of pinot noir pairs perfectly with pizza for a picnic. You’ll also find pinot blanc, gewürtztraminer, pinot noir, clay amphora–fermented pinot-gamay, viognier, tannat, and merlot. Choose from a three-white, three-red tasting ($25), an all-white tasting ($25), or an all-red tasting ($40). Guests can also request to taste specific wines with advance notice.
3303 SE 20th Ave, teutonicwines.com —Katherine Chew Hamilton
TOP POUR: The 2019 Crow Valley Vineyard Riesling is acidic and refreshing with notes of pear and lychee. Pair it with seafood in the sun.
The modern-Scandi vibe at this outpost in Slabtown is no accident. Its founding families are rooted in Denmark and Sweden, Nordic nations better known for beer production and consumption. In fact, winemaker Alex Fullerton got his start as a brewer in college, when he lost his fake ID but figured he didn’t need to be 21 to purchase the raw ingredients for beer.
These days, his namesake Portland tasting room features lovely heated and covered outdoor seating, a small but well-thought-out menu (try the fava bean hummus with pistachio dukkah and crudités sourced from local farmers markets), and, of course, wine, produced from grapes grown in the Willamette and Applegate Valleys. First-timers will gravitate toward the $25 signature flight, which on a recent visit started with a 2020 rosé, moved to a 2020 pinot gris, and finished with three increasingly bold 2017 pinots noirs. 1966 NW Pettygrove St, fullertonwines.com —JS
TOP POUR: The mellow-drinking 2017 Five FACES pinot noir, so named for five Fullerton family members (Filip, Alex, Caroline, Eric, and Susanne). Skål!
Music heads will love the vibe at Southeast’s Portland Wine Company, home of Love & Squalor wines, which opened in 2019. Not only will the eclectic playlists—classic rock to contemporary pop to deep-cut jazz—get your toes tapping, but through a window on the shaded patio you can spot the shiny house drum set and vintage Wurlitzer jukebox (off limits to guests, so no touching). Literary types, however, might recognize the winery’s name as a reference to the J. D. Salinger short story “For Esmé—with Love and Squalor.” Co-owned and run by husband-and-wife duo Matt Berson and Angela Reat, Portland Wine Company started out with a modest release in 2007: 65 cases. By 2019, that number had jumped to 3,000. The expressive, small-batch, blended wines are all from the Willamette Valley and speak to the region’s variability. Where the Garageland rosé ($16) is vibrant, fruity, and delicate— perfect for pairing with a light salad—the Antsy Pants Reserve pinot noir ($52) is grounded with a long, earthy finish best enjoyed with lemon chicken and asparagus. The star here, though, is the not-like-the-other-rosés field blend Wings of Desire ($25). Enjoy with fresh fruit—ideally covered in dark chocolate—or anything at all, really. Just don’t call it a rosé. It’s doing its own thing, after all. 3201 SE 50th Ave, portlandwinecompany.com —Gabriel Granillo
TOP POUR: The crisp mélange Wings of Desire, a name that adds cinephiles to the list of groups Portland Wine Company is courting
“Super feminine and silky,” is Sarah Egeland from Helioterra’s apt description of the 2016 Vintner’s Select pinot noir. It’s a smooth, round pour with a rich and almost sultry palate that contrasts with the fresh berry and bright citrus notes from the winery’s 2020 celebration rosé. Yet somehow both these locally produced wines—and more—have a place at this Southeast spot, which manages to run the gamut from serious-when-it-needs-to-be to effervescently joyful.
No surprise, perhaps, from this women-only wine team helmed by longtime winemaker Anne Hubatch, who brings more than 20 years of experience to her dozen or so bottles. The space, opened in 2018, shares its locale with Alter Ego Cider (also co-owned by Hubatch), with outdoor seating, an intimate indoor bar, and a private tasting room that serves as a platform with a 360-view of the winery’s resting barrels. Beyond the (scrumptious) pinot noir and sparkling rosé? Pinot blanc, melon de bourgogne, mourvèdre: Group tastings of between three and five wines from the bottle range from $40 to $60 depending on group size, and you get to bring the open bottles home with you. 2025 SE Seventh Ave, helioterrawines.com —Fiona McCann
TOP POUR: That silky 2016 Vintner’s Select pinot noir is a steal at $38.
Opened in 2011, Enso has long set the bar for urban wineries in Portland: a converted mechanic shop on SE Stark, brick walls overhung with vines, tables spilling out of the garage doors onto the sidewalk. Over the past decade, a lively micro-neighborhood has grown up around it with concert/event/rager space Revolution Hall attracting even more breweries, grocery stores, and restaurants to this slice of Buckman. These days, Enso is as much a neighborhood watering hole as it is a destination winery. According to winemaker and co-owner Ryan Sharp, customers are often surprised to learn they make wines at all. It’s just a cool wine bar and event space, and that’s OK with him.
Enso doesn’t distribute its wines, so the only place to drink them is at the winery. (The sole exception is Portland Sangria, a separate brand Enso produces off-site.) But they’re worth seeking out. Geographic nomadism is the key here—Enso produces 1,000 cases a year, sourcing grapes from all along the West Coast. At any given tasting you’ll find bottles from all manner of small-batch wines on offer. 1416 SE Stark St, ensowinery.com —Marty Patail
TOP POUR: The 2019 rosé mourvèdre—a dry, pale, Mediterranean-style pink, with grapes sourced from the Columbia Valley’s Horse Heaven Hills, perfect for the late summer sun
Willful Wine Company was born in 2011 after Pam Walden split from her then-husband, the late Aron Hess: Her first bottles originated from a vineyard they had planted in the Dundee Hills. Now, her trademark “wild” wines are made at a speakeasy-vibes warehouse in Northeast Portland, where she offers wine by the glass ($8-20) or a tasting of six wines ($15 per person). Sip inside the dark warehouse among the barrels, or outside on patio chairs and tables. It’s a charmingly makeshift setup—but you’re here for the high-caliber wines, which Walden makes using the grapes’ native, natural yeasts. The winery prides itself on its pinot noir but also has a more affordable line, Jezebel. The 2019 Jezebel Blanc ($15 a bottle), a blend of Riesling, gewürtztraminer, and pinot gris is a perfect late summer/early fall happy hour pour. 5705-F NE 105th Ave, willfulwine.com —KCH
TOP POUR: The 2017 cuvée pinot noir ($45 a bottle) is a lively blend of five barrels from old-vine Dundee Hills grapes, the Eola-Amity Hills, and Ribbon Ridge.
BONUS: The Crick
Strictly speaking, this one is not a winery but a tasting room for Bertony Faustin’s cool, ebullient Abbey Creek Winery, which also has a production facility/tasting room in North Plains. Still, for the vibes alone, it made the cut. Situated on the renovated ground floor of a parking structure on SW Ninth and Morrison (across from the Galleria building that now houses City Target, right off the Red and Blue MAX lines), the space lives up to Faustin’s “hip-hop, wine, and chill” ethos. It’s light, open, and easy—wooden tables, good music, and free-flowing, playful vino, pinots to gewürtztraminers to chardonnays.
Ninety-minute tastings for groups of one to four run $20 a person, available by online reservation only. That gets you a “playlist” of five wines; another $15 will get you a smattering of charcuterie to supplement. The grapes come from vines in the West Hills, on a property run through by the namesake stream. 912 SW Morrison St, abbeycreekvineyard.com —CR
TOP POUR: The 2018 gewürztraminer (called simply #Dope—this is a hashtag-loving winery) is sweet and easy, with dustings of honey.