Sipping in Stumptown: Portland’s best wine bars and tasting rooms

winemap

Little goes together as well as wine and not having to drive. Fortunately for Portland, the wines of our region’s local producers as well as those from around the world can be found at the copious urban tasting rooms and wine bars scattered throughout the city. Taking public transportation means that there’s no need for a designated driver, and everyone that wishes to imbibe can do so at their leisure.

The featured establishments in this article are just a few of my favorites, and by no means are the extent of what our city has to offer. Each listing includes the closest TriMet stops to its corresponding wine bar. Whether you choose to visit one of the venues below, or stick with a favorite of your own, take advantage of TriMet’s trip planner to enter your starting location and the wine bar’s address as the ending location for a detailed trip itinerary. Enjoy!


1. Ambonnay Champagne Bar 107 S E Washington St, Portland, OR 97214

Ambonnay

Photo by @AmbonnayBar

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$$

“Ambonnay is Portland’s first and only watering hole exclusively featuring champagne and sparkling wine. We offer an extensive menu of fizz, some by the glass, another 100 or so by the bottle. Our selection changes regularly. Whether you’re looking for a quick drink before dinner, a once-in-a-lifetime champagne experience, or just a place to hang with other bubble addicts, Ambonnay is here for you.” ~Ambonnay Champagne Bar

Accessibility by bus:


2. Coopers Hall Winery and Taproom 404 SE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

CoopersHall

Photo by Coopers Hall

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Coopers Hall is a winery dedicated to keg production, the first of its kind in Oregon. Our taproom and restaurant boasts 44 taps of wine, beer, and cider; with more dedicated to wine than any other location in the Pacific Northwest. The tap room serves rotisserie cooked meats and savory sides from Roscoe Roberson, former sous chef at Racion. Coopers Hall resides in a quonset hut structure built in the mid 20th century, a former auto body shop, with no confines between the winery and tap room. The spacious environment invites guests to get closer to all aspects of the wine making experience from grape to bottle. Coopers Hall is perfect for a night out drinking, dinner with friends, and also available for large events and private gatherings.” ~Coopers Hall

Accessibility by bus:


3.  Corkscrew Wine Bar 1665 SE Bybee Blvd, Portland, OR 97202

Photo by Joshua C. on Yelp

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Corkscrew Wine Bar is an inviting gathering place in Sellwood-Moreland that’s been offering world class wine selections and friendly hospitality since its opening in 2010. The beautifully designed, warm, and cozy atmosphere is centered around wood panels, beams and interiors from a single reclaimed barn ~ providing old world charm with glowing candle-lit ambiance. The wine bar serves interesting and thoughtful wine glass pours, bottle selections, and three local beers on tap accompanied by a small plates. With a focus on small family owned vineyards using organic, biodynamic and responsible farming.” ~Corkscrew

Accessibility by bus:


4. ENSO Winery 1416 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97214

Photo by Ryan S. on Yelp

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“ENSO is an urban winery that hand crafts authentic old-world style wines that express both the moment they were created, as well as the moment they’re enjoyed. We have chosen to source grapes from the finest vineyards up and down the west coast. Three states. All states that we have lived in. And all states that we love. Our grapes come from Washington, California, and Oregon – and we absolutely love each vineyard that we work with. At ENSO, in addition to our wines, we keep a rotating tap of all Portland Urban Wineries and local beers. There is plenty to taste and try in our tasting lounge. We have our weekday aperitivo (aka Happy Hour) from 4-6 pm where we offer discounted prices on wines by the glass, beer by the glass, and charcuterie and cheese.” ~ENSO Winery

Accessibility by bus:


5. The Hop & Vine 1914 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97217

hop

Photo by Andrew C. on Yelp

4 Stars on Yelp $$

“The Hop & Vine is North Portland’s premier craft drinking destination. Our full bar features eight craft beer taps, an extensive wine list, creative cocktails and a local seasonal food menu. Our casual dining experience, artistic decor and beautiful large backyard patio makes us an excellent destination for small or large groups under an intimate vibe. The adjacent Bottleshop features more than 400 beers and wines, and over 40 types of vermouths and bitters … featuring local and craft beers, Willamette Valley and biodynamic wines as well as meads, ciders, and amaros. Our selection is carefully curated and constantly changing. Call or visit us to see what’s new or sign up for our monthly newsletter to learn about new brews and bottles, free tasting events, and specials.” ~Hop & Vine

Accessibility by bus:


6. Pairings Portland Wine Shop 455 NE 24th Ave, Portland, OR 97232

Parings

Photo by Pairings Portland

5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Pairings Portland is a wine shop, wine bar, and classroom dedicated to a new approach to wine.  Fun & approachability are front & center. We like to think of a glass of wine as one of the ingredients in your dish and we’ll help you find the wine that makes your food sing.   We offer wine by the glass and bottle as well as flights, classes, creative events, and custom offerings both at the shop and away. You’ll be amazed to discover it’s possible for anyone to feel like a Pairing genius!!” ~Pairings Portland

Accessibility by bus:


7. SE Wine Collective 2425 SE 35th Pl, Portland, OR 97215

SE

Photo by Joshua C. on Yelp

4 Stars on Yelp $$

“We’re making wine in the heart of southeast Portland! As southeast Portland’s only fully bonded and licensed commercial winery that performs custom crush services for both commercial and private brands, the SE Wine Collective’s production features state-of-the-art equipment and highly skilled and personable staff needed for everything from harvest crush, fermentation, blending, and ageing to filtration and bottling. Our urban wine collective brings together like-minded winemakers within Portland’s city limits. The SE Wine Collective is home to 10 Wineries.” ~SE Wine Collective

Accessibility by bus:


8. Taste on 23rd 2285 NW Johnson St, Portland, OR 97210

Taste

Photo by Leland H. on Yelp

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Were I inventing the perfect neighborhood wine bar, Taste on 23rd is how one version  might look. Tucked into one of NW 23rd’s many old Victorians, it’s a lovely and welcoming space with a nice center bar and several tables of various heights and sizes scattered about. The staff is so welcoming and friendly; you can tell when regulars filter in, but they’re just as happy to see you as to see them. You should become one!” ~Hannah L. on Yelp

Accessibility by bus:


9. TeSoAria Winery Tasting Room 4003 N Williams, Portland, OR 97227

TeSoAria

Photo by Marianne S. on Yelp

5 Stars on Yelp $$

“Come visit our Portland Tasting room and experience Founder/Winemaker John Olson and Chef Max’s Wine and food pairings. We currently have over a dozen TeSoAria wines to taste, including  two Live Barrels of wines that is currently ready to barrel taste. Wine is available by the flight, glass and bottle. Barrel taste and then experience the individual hand bottling process that you can participate in.   Our friends are always welcome and new acquaintances leave as friends! ” ~TeSoAria Winery

Accessibility by bus:


Article by Stephanie Paris

Cover photo by Coopers Hall

Portland in a Glass photo by David Paris

 

 

Restaurants on the Route: Bus Line 14 – Hawthorne

TriMet bus line 14-Hawthorne connects Lents Town Center, SE Portland and Portland City Center. It travels through one of the most eclectic neighborhoods in Portland, the Hawthorne District. The boulevard includes McMenamins’ Bagdad Theatre & Pub, a branch of Powell’s Books, New Seasons Market, and a seemingly endless number of great shopping and dining options. In fact, there are so many great places to eat on this route that it was hard to choose which ones to feature! As of now, these are my top 7 restaurants recommendations on the Line 14 bus route.

The closest 14 bus stops are listed for each restaurant below. For additional trip planning assistance, visit TriMet.org and enter your starting location and the restaurant’s address as the ending location for a detailed trip itinerary.


1. Lardo 1212 SE Hawthorne St, Portland, OR 97214

and pickled veg and lamb burgerPhoto by Jack Pinette on flickr

4 Stars on Yelp $$

“Starting life as a food cart in SE Portland, rarely has a spot been so aptly named. Rocking an ancient charcuterie moniker that truly serves as a harbinger of things to come, Lardo is a sandwich shop that worships at the altar of  bovine & swine. Using old-world techniques, contemporary flourishes and a gonzo approach, Lardo proudly celebrates its excesses. Pushing a menu that features pork drenched double burgers, a giant meatball Banh Mi, and hand-cut french fries (again) smothered in pork, Lardo also has beer. Lots of beer, actually. Rotating taps of knee-buckling craft brew greatness, backed-up with a refreshing mix of premium cocktails. Operating on both sides of the river, Lardo serves as a mecca for those seeking a uniquely smash-mouth deli experience.” ~ Lardo

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


2. Harlow 3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

HarlowPhoto by Shannon Kringen on flickr

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“An all organic restaurant featuring a gluten-free food menu with raw, vegan vegetarian options, extensive juice and smoothie bar, house cocktails, beer and wine. Healthy food made with love.” ~Harlow

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


3. 3 Doors Down Cafe 1429 SE 37th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Photo by Alyssa C. on Yelp

4.5 stars on Yelp $$$

“Come in. Sit down. Eat! Comforting yet inspiring … classic and creative … curated with taste.” ~3 Doors Down Cafe & Lounge

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


4. Cultured Caveman 4031 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

Cultured CavemanPhoto by Ken Snyder on flickr

4.5 Stars on Yelp $

“Cultured Caveman began as the first paleo-friendly food cart on the west coast. We are now 3 food carts and a restaurant in Portland, OR. We welcome everyone, especially those with dietary restrictions or allergies. Thank you for supporting the next evolution of restaurant nutrition.” ~Cultured Caveman

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


5. ¿Por Que No? 4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Rick Chung on flickr

4 Stars on Yelp $$

“¿Por Que No? strives to support our local economy, whether it means using line caught fish and local meats or remodeling with recycled materials. We have traveled from the Pacific Coast of Mexico to the mountains of Oaxaca to share the flavors and the essence of what we found. In the end, it’s all about the food and the community of people who enjoy it!” ~¿Por Que No?

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


6. Bete-Lukas Ethiopian Restaurant 2504 SE 50th Ave Ste D, Portland, OR 97206

BetePhoto by Lisa Brandt Heckman on flickr

4.5 Stars on Yelp $$

“We are happy to have you enjoy the different Ethiopian cuisine. We serve many vegetarian and various meat dishes as well as seafood. Experience Bete-Lukas’s exceptional cuisine featuring a complete menu with everything from salad, tibs (meat), alicha, vegetarian dishes, sambusa in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere. The Ethiopian art decorated dining room with warm walls, and the stylish artistic photos in the wall, nurture the setting.” ~Bete-Lukas Ethiopian Restaurant

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


7. The Egg Carton 5205 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206

EggCartonPhoto by The Egg Carton

4.5 Stars on Yelp $

“The Egg Carton is family run by Sarah and Tim Arkwright. We pride ourselves on both our service and our fantastic food and drinks. The Egg Carton has been named one of the top food carts in Portland and one of the friendliest. Come on down and visit our pride and joy.” ~The Egg Carton

Nearest line 14 bus stops:


Article by Stephanie Paris, all quotes pulled from corresponding restaurant websites

Cover photo by Rick Chung on flickr

 

Beyond Portland: Historic McMinnville and the heart of Oregon Wine Country

StreetPhoto by star5112 on flickr

Sometimes there can be a place so unique and charming that gets overlooked merely because larger, more boastful cities reside nearby. I never thought much of McMinnville, Oregon, but that’s only because I had never been. However knowing that it’s in the heart of Oregon Wine Country, I became increasingly curious as to what this small town had to offer. Once I learned that it was accessible by bus from Portland, it was settled. I had to visit.

My journey began in downtown Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square. From there we boarded the MAX Blue Line to Hillsboro, and got off at the Hillsboro Central/SE 3rd Transit Center. We then connected to Yamhill County Transit Area bus line 33, which took us right into historic downtown McMinnville. Eager to get to my home for the next couple of days, we began the easy walk to the Oregon Wine Cottage.

OregonWineCottagePhoto by Stephanie Paris

I’ve stayed in many hotels, B&Bs, cabins, and vacation homes. Until you’ve been to a place, you just can’t be sure what you’re going to get. The Oregon Wine Cottage exceeded my expectations in many ways. It was clean, inviting, and quaint. But not quaint in the way your grandmother’s house is quaint. More like your best friend’s house where you immediately feel comfortable and at home. This is the perfect place for a double date weekend, featuring two bedrooms, each with their own bathroom. Although you may just have to rock/paper/scissors to decide who gets the room with the fabulous soaking tub.

In addition to the cottage being simply adorable, the location was perfect. It’s close enough to the main drag that you feel like you’re still part of the action, but far enough away that you get that secluded privacy that a hotel just can’t offer. The owners gave recommendations for dinner and breakfast, and trusting they knew what they were talking about, we went with a couple of their recommendations, which ended up enhancing our weekend experience.

Both restaurants were located in historic downtown McMinnville, which is a short, pleasant walk from the cottage. For dinner, we tried Nick’s Italian Cafe, where the Lasagna Bolognese was absolutely heavenly. After dinner we ended up spending the rest of the evening in The Back Room, their appropriately named bar. Whether you dine in the main restaurant or the bar in the back, they offer a huge wine selection, and refreshingly inventive cocktails.

CommunityCoffeePhoto by Stephanie Paris

The next morning we had breakfast at Community Plate, where I was pleased to enjoy my home city’s Stumptown Coffee. It was a pretty busy morning in the cafe, so with our coffee we opted for one of their savory bacon-cheddar-chive scones from the pastry case to hold us over before our order was up. That was a good move, because it was super tasty, but not necessary because despite the crowd, our food arrived surprisingly fast. Both restaurants were as good as promised! Having great dining options close to the cottage was a huge plus for our stay.

Now it was time to do one of the activities that was the main inspiration for our trip. It was time to taste some wine! The greatest thing about McMinnville by bus is that there is a plethora of good wine tasting options right in the heart of walkable downtown. Visit any or all of the tasting rooms listed below, and your palate will thank you!

Wine Tasting in historic downtown McMinnville

  • R. Stuart and Co. Wine Bar – 528 NE 3rd St – “R. Stuart & Co. is a winery specializing in Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, located in McMinnville, Oregon. Winemaker Rob Stuart gathers the best fruit possible to make wines that are friendly and approachable for real people to enjoy with their friends, family and good food. Our Wine Bar is the perfect setting to taste through our wines, linger over a glass, have a snack, and purchase wine to take home. For a little variety we also offer a couple of local microbrews, and espresso from our favorite Portland roaster.”
  • Willamette Valley Vineyards – 300 NE 3rd St –  “Our mission in growing cool-climate varietals is to create elegant, classic Oregon wines from the Willamette Valley Appellation. As native Oregonians, we treasure our environment and use sustainable practices in growing and vinifying our winegrapes. The Willamette Valley Vineyards Tasting Room in McMinnville provides an opportunity to experience our award-winning Pinot Noirs right in the heart of Downtown McMinnville.”
  • Terra Vina Wines – 585 NE 3rd St – “Delicious! Is the adjective we hear the most when describing our wines. Many different varietals crafted in small lots showcase the purity of each varietal’s flavor and uniqueness of the terroir of the finest Northwest vineyards. Consistently recognized by the NW Wine Summit, and receiving numerous gold medals over the years, in 2007, our 2005 Amore, Late Harvest Semillon, received a gold medal and “Best Dessert Wine.” We are honored by the awards our wines have received showing the consistency in our winemaking.”
  • Dominio IV – 845 NE 5th St – “At Dominio Wines, we practice Biodynamic™ farming to ensure that the land which feeds our grapes remains viable and fruitful for future generations. Our winery resides in the thriving Granary District of McMinnville, Oregon. What was once a dilapidated, agricultural storage building has since been renovated into the perfect home for creating and enjoying wines. During the warmer seasons, the doors to our tasting room spill out to an outdoor patio. There, you can explore our wines while enjoying the sunshine.”
  • Eyrie Vineyards – 935 NE 10th Ave – “The Eyrie Vineyards has been known for elegant, classic wines since 1970, when we produced the first Pinot noir and Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley, and the New World’s first Pinot gris. Join us in McMinnville, at Yamhill County’s original winery, to enjoy current Eyrie releases and a taste of Oregon wine history!”
  • Remy Wines – 905 NE 10th Ave – “Remy Wines is a small, urban winery producing Old World Style Italian varietals including Sangiovese, Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and Lagrien. We are also home to the Three Wives Wines.  baR (pronounced R bar) is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we offer fantastic small plates, wines by the glass, and outdoor seating. Ciao!”

Walking from tasting room to tasting room made for a fun and relaxing day. We met so many wonderful people, and whether they were locals or fellow travelers, the conversation was always lively and interesting. And if you’re looking for a guided tour experience with a chance to visit some of the actual vineyards, sign yourself up for the Tour and Taste Daytrip offered by Grape Escape Winery Tours. Their joinable tours begin at McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon in downtown McMinnville one Saturday per month, and ticket packages can be purchased through the Hotel Oregon website.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Adam Sawyer

With all of these amazing experiences, it’s easy to say that my stay in McMinnville was nothing less than fantastic. The community, the sense of history in the town, and the great food and drink were all things that contributed to creating a memorable trip. As I boarded the bus to return to my Portland home, I found myself wishing we had booked more days at the Oregon Wine Cottage. I have a feeling that the next trip I take to McMinnville will end with me thinking, “Just one more day …”.

Alternative bus routes and lodging

For a unique hotel experience, try the McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon. The building is a wonderful piece of McMinnville’s history. They even offer a self-guided walking tour of art and history that provides detailed information about the furniture and interior design, architecture and room detail, and art and old photos that grace the walls. Their European-style rooms feature original porcelain sinks, with shared bathrooms exclusively for hotel guests conveniently located down the hall. For a bit more privacy, they also offer King and Queen rooms with private bathrooms. Dining and nightlife options at the hotel include their McMenamin’s Pub where you can get daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner, their Cellar Bar which is described as a “20s-style speakeasy meets modern day wine bar,” and finally their Rooftop Bar where the views offer an unobstructed look at Oregon’s lush wine country, the impressive Coast Range and beyond.

As an alternative to the route described in the article, you can also take TriMet line 12-Barbur to the Tigard TC and then the Yamhill County Transit Area line 44 on Weekdays, or 46S on Saturdays, to the downtown McMinnville TC. Making this trip on a Sunday is less convenient, so if you’d like your travel plans to include part or all of the weekend, I’d recommend making sure that both your arrival and departure days fall on a Monday through Saturday. For example, bus in on a Friday or Saturday and leave on a Monday. For more information visit the websites of TriMet and Yamhill County Transit Area for trip planning assistance. You can also plan your trip using google maps and choose the bus option when finding directions from a beginning and ending location.

Article written by Stephanie Paris

The Bite of Oregon

Bite

The Bite of Oregon is an annual festival and fundraising event for Special Olympics Oregon that takes place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. It is a celebration of some of the many things that make Oregon unique, highlighting our abundant quality of life in terms of our food, drink, entertainment, and community. As you experience the Bite, you’ll discover so many reasons why some of us just can’t leave Oregon, and why others keep coming back. With downtown Portland being one of the easiest destinations to get to by bus, there’s no excuse not to journey down to what is sure to be one of the tastiest events of the summer.

Food:

Mist

This year’s theme is Oregon’s Bounty, and as expected, some of Oregon’s culinary finest will be there in full force to bring you delicious preparations using Oregon’s local seafood, beef, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, potatoes, dairy, and more. Bites at each vendor will range from $2 – $9, and between the Oregon Bounty Chef’s Table, food carts, specialty food vendors, and desserts, the offerings are sure to please the most discerning palate.

Drink:

Beer

With a whopping 718 vineyards, 314 wineries, and more than 40 varieties of wine, Oregon is one of the top wine destinations for wine connoisseurs and amateurs alike. The tap also flows freely with an abundance of beer in Oregon, with 120 brewing companies in the state. Though these breweries are spread across 59 cities in Oregon, Portland boasts 51 operational breweries, more than any other city in the world. Some of the finest of these libations will be on site to sample, as well as many non-alcoholic choices as well.

Entertainment:

Entertainment
The Bite has all your entertainment bases covered. With two music stages and a full lineup each day of the festival, the Garden Stage and Vineyard Stage provide top notch local musical artists. There’s even a Kids Area Stage that’s fun for the whole family, featuring kid-friendly activities including interactive stage performances from the School of Rock, as well as face painting, balloon artist, and much more. And of course it wouldn’t feel complete without culinary entertainment. At the Northwest Chef’s Stage, watch cooking demonstrations, and even Iron Chef competitions with local Oregon chefs.

The 31st annual Bite of Oregon takes place August 8th, 9th, and 10th. For more information including event times and ticket prices, please visit the Bite of Oregon website.

This event is accessible by TriMet bus lines 4, 6, 9, 10, 14, 15, 17, 19, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38, 44, 45, 51, 54, 55, 56, 92, 99, Max Blue, and Max Red. See this complete list for the closest stops to Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Visit TriMet’s trip planner for further assistance in planning your trip. 

 

Photo credit:

Header: Phil Romans on flickr / Bite of Oregon Chef: Loren Kerns on flickr / Tacos: Adam Sawyer / Beer: Adam Fagan on flickr / Stage performer: Electrolatino on flickr