How merlot can you go, Portland? It’s no surprise that Portlanders do their fair share of wine drinking. But as vino connoisseurs with sophisticated palates, indulging in fine wines doesn’t always have to mean sipping on our favorite fermented grapes from distant lands — oftentimes, those praiseworthy treasures are produced right in our own backyards.
Get to know the Portland metro area’s booming wine industry, from local wineries and vineyards to festivals and other places with wine on the menu. Ready? Yes way, rosé. It’s wine o’clock.
🍷 A brief history
Dating back to the late 1500s, alcohol was added to wine in a process called fortification, which helped preserve the beverage for long shipping journeys. This process produced sweet + tangy wines like port, sherry, and a Portuguese wine called Madeira. When the latter came to the U.S., it was used to celebrate a significant part in American history: the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Fast forward roughly two and a half centuries to today’s America… Portland has some serious wine fans.
🍷 Locally produced + thriving
We heard it through the grapevine — Oregon sits at No. 5 for wine production by state, producing ~11,822,972 gallons in 2022, and boasts 917 wineries. Did you know? The most popular wine in Oregon is riesling, with the most popular in the the Western US region being cuvée, riesling + lambrusco.
When it comes to places to wine down, Portlanders have a few choices that are near the city and several that are a little farther out. Head just down the road to Cooper Mountain Vineyard in Beaverton and kick back with a glass of pinot noir. Or, grab your wine-obsessed friends for a short road trip and some outdoor + learning time during a wine tour at Dobbes Family Estate, just 25 miles from the city. While you’re there, be sure to try their award-winning grenache blanc, which was given a gold medal in the 2017 Oregon Wine Awards.
🍷 Wine outside the box
Who doesn’t love a little vino variation? Instead of committing to a single glass, try the Hilltop Tasting Experience — with hard-to-find wines + a seasonal small plate menu — at Stoller Family Estate. Or, mix up your wine (because wine not?) and have it in the form of a cocktail like the Brunswick Snap at Free House.
Don’t forget — summer is just around the corner. That means on a warm day, try a tasty way to cool off with some sangria from Urdaneta or a frozen rosé wine slushie from Cheese & Crack. Just be warned, don’t guzzle these down too fast to avoid a wine-induced brain freeze.
🍷 Festivals + other fun wine events
With such a robust wine community in the Portland area, the options for celebrating and enjoying wine are endless. Mark your calendars for the International Pinot Noir Celebration taking place July 29-31 in McMinnville that will showcase wine from around the world, as well as farm-to-table cuisine.
Looking for a sooner riesling to toss back a glass or two? Come out for Crush On Oregon tasting event at Castaway Portland to get in your fine grape fix with some locally sourced bites.