In and around Portland, Oregon, a new crop of urban wineries and tasting rooms have opened this year, giving wine lovers new ways to taste Willamette Valley from the city. From a gleaming, state-of-the-art winery perched high in the West Hills, to an Irvington tasting room that deftly pairs pinot and riesling with single-origin chocolate – plus a suburban dining spot with loads of options for flights alongside Pacific Northwest cuisine – these are the newest destinations for enjoying Willamette Valley wines without the drive to wine country.
Prepare to be wowed by the scope and scale of Amaterra winery, a modern marvel perched high up in Portland’s West Hills. This ambitious project – which was many years in the making – doesn’t just include an urban winemaking facility, but also a 12-acre vineyard, a top-notch restaurant, wine and cocktail bar, and event space with lush and sprawling grounds. Plus, it’s got views for days.
Is that a waterfall you see trickling down the sloping hills? And are there lawn games being played on the lawn? Why, yes. Are those the coastal range mountains you see in the distance? On a clear day, yeah. And is that a marriage proposal happening down on the lawn? Most definitely. It all feels utterly removed from the city, but is just 15 minutes from downtown.
Visit Wednesdays through Sundays between 12 – 4:30 PM for wine flights ($25) from Amaterra and its sister label, 51Weeks Winemaking, along with small bites. The current tasting flight includes a Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Éclater from the Willamette and Columbia Valleys.
After 4:30, reserve a table for dinner and sip a glass, bottle, or tasting flight alongside elegant New American cuisine from Executive Chef Jami Flatt. Dishes that are not to be missed include the Swede Hill meatballs (a nod to the Scandanavian immigrants who populated the area in the 1800s), pan-seared scallops, market vegetable risotto, and any of the salads featuring local, hyper-seasonal produce. All the desserts are winners too.
Amaterra’s latest addition, L1 Bar & Terrace, also offers a rotating cocktail and G&T, plus picnic boxes for two.
Reservations at Amaterra are strongly recommended. Book one either by becoming a wine club member, or by paying a one-time $25 fee for a social membership, which can be applied on your first visit to two bottles of wine to go, or refunded if you join the wine club.
Bons Amis (“good friends” in French) is a new experiential tasting room from Willamette Valley-based Brooks Wine and Portland’s first chocolate maker, bean-to-bar Woodblock Chocolate. The duo of like-minded Oregon makers came together to highlight the parallels between growing estate grapes and crafting chocolate from single-origin cacao – and how delicious they can taste together when expertly paired.
Located in Woodblock’s French-inspired café in their bright and airy manufactory in Irvington, the tasting room café marks the first time that Eola Amity hills-based Brooks has brought its biodynamic wines to Portland.
The signature pairing ($30 per person) features a quartet of Brooks’ 2018 Pinot Noirs with distinctive chocolates from Ecuador, Peru, Tanzania, and Madagascar. The salé/savory pairing ($30) showcases the 2016 Extended Tirage Sparkling Riesling and four savory bites like cacao-coated goat cheese. And the sucré/sweet option serves up a semi-sweet 2018 Cahiers Riesling alongside milk, dark milk, malted, and coffee varieties of chocolate.
There’s even an option for beer lovers: the apéro tasting ($15) includes a chocolate-infused brew from local favorites like Wolves and People, plus tasty salt-brined cocoa beans and cocoa-dusted nuts.
No reservation is required, so pop into Bon Amis on Fridays from 3 – 7 PM, Saturdays 12 – 7 PM, and Sundays 12 – 5 PM.
WVV has been crafting classic Oregon pinots since 1983, and its latest expansion is a satellite tasting room and restaurant on Lake Oswego’s State Street. The sleek and elegant space boasts an impressive glass wine wall, wine lockers, and a trellised patio with outdoor fire pits.
It’s a lovely setting to sip WVV’s sustainable Oregon bubbles, chardonnay, and pinot alongside Pacific Northwest-inspired fare from Chef Cory Rom. Opt for a set seasonal flight, or go the self-curated route ($20-25).
There’s also a seasonal three-course tasting menu with wine pairings ($96), or you can order entrees like sockeye salmon with Meyer lemon mousseline or Carmen Ranch beef shortrib à la carte and have wine pairings customized to your order for an additional $36.
WVV’s Lake Oswego outpost is open Wednesday – Friday from 4 – 9 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 9 PM.