written by Anna Bird | photo courtesy of Liquid Assets Wine & Cocktail Lounge
When you think of wine tasting, you might picture sitting in Adirondack chairs and looking out over a lush valley, drinking the product of rolling vineyards a few yards away. For those who live in Southern Oregon, the Willamette Valley and the Columbia River Gorge, this is a reality close-at-hand. Sometimes, however, you just need a good glass of wine within city limits. These are a few of our favorite places to drink wine in Oregon cities.
SE Wine Collective | Portland
In the heart of Southeast Portland, in the Division-Clinton neighborhood, SE Wine Collective is a hub for making and drinking great wine. Sample current releases from the Collective’s member wineries, which make wine onsite, or varietals from wine producers near and far. Along with flights, glasses, tap pours—the Collective sold the first legal growler of wine in the United States, and bottles, the Collective also offers a guest winemaker series, classes, community dinners and more. There’s a lot to sustain the city-slickin’ wine aficionado here.
Opt for: Flight of pinots and the bucatina carbonara
Coopers Hall | Portland
The wine is exceptional here, the atmosphere unlike any other in Portland. The winery and taproom is housed in an 8,000-square-foot, mid-twentieth-century quonset hut structure that used to be an auto body shop. It’s a colossal space—wide open and bright with exposed rafters, white walls and bay doors. The Hall offers a similarly colossal drink menu, including about forty wines on tap, beer, cocktails and a savory, rotisserie-based menu from Roscoe Roberson, former sous chef at Racion. Cooper’s Hall offers its own brand of wine, along with regional favorites.
Opt for: “Cooper’s Hall mixed” flight and steak frites
Sip Wine Bar | Bend
A convenient après ski stop, Sip Wine Bar is located on Bend’s Westside, catering more to the locals than Downtown’s out-of-towner crowd. It has a nice patio complete with fireplaces for fresh-air wine sipping, or a warm atmosphere inside complete with a big-screen TVs—not something you normally get at a wine bar, but nice for the sports-loving wine drinker. To fill up on something other than local, Northwest and international wines, Sip also offers Champagne flights, sparkling wine cocktails, locally-sourced vittles and gourmet grilled cheeses.
Opt for: “New school” flight and the pear and brie grilled cheese
Oregon Wine Lab | Eugene
Located in Eugene’s historic Whitaker neighborhood, a hub for the city’s best food and drinks, Oregon Wine Lab is home to William Rose Wines and other wines from other small-batch wineries that are difficult to find elsewhere. An accommodating and knowledgeable staff can help with suggestions that align with your favorite varietals. There is outside seating—in case it’s one of those blissful sunny days in Eugene, trivia on Thursdays and live music on Fridays. Better yet, Da Nang Vietnamese Eatery is the mainstay food cart outside, which offers some of the best food in the city.
Opt for: William Rose semillon-saur blanc with da nang pho
Liquid Assets Wine & Cocktail Lounge | Ashland
Liquid Assets is a no-brainer for wine aficionados in the Ashland area. They offer a weekly rotation of more than twenty wines by the glass and have more than 250 bottles for sale. Wines from France, California, Oregon and beyond, along with a private reserve selection, pair perfectly with a European-inspired menu. The atmosphere is relaxed but sophisticated, with local fine art on display. It’s a perfect pit stop before heading to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Opt for: “Wonderful West coast whites” flight and duck confit poutine
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