Portland City Guide

Where to visit, eat and stay in a growing wine city


Portland is known for its microbreweries, but over the past decade, the city has also become a wine hub.

The Willamette Valley, which encompasses Portland, is now home to more than 200 wineries. The region is recognized as one of the premier Pinot Noir producing areas in the world and as the birthplace of New World Pinot Noir. Other cool-climate varietals are also produced in the Valley, including Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

Dozens of wine-centric restaurants and hotels have popped up to showcase the region’s offerings. The burgeoning wine city also hosts tasting events, winery tours and the annual Indie Wine Festival each fall.

Here are our picks of places to stay, eat and visit while in Portland.

STAY: Hotel Vintage Plaza

This wine-themed hotel is located in the heart of downtown Portland. Each room in the historic hotel, built in 1894, is named after an Oregon winery or vineyard. The upscale hotel hosts tasting events and offers wine packages that include tours to Willamette Valley vineyards.

Each evening, there’s a wine hour featuring the hotel’s private label Oregon Pinot Noir. Local winemakers frequently stop in to pour at the event.

STAY: The Heathman Hotel

This 150-room luxury hotel and accompanying restaurant features acclaimed Sommelier Erica Landon. Pinot Noir is the flagship varietal at The Heathman, and guests can sample local selections alongside Pinot Noirs from around the world. The wine list includes more than 200 Pinot Noir wines. The versatile varietal pairs nicely with Chef Michael Stanton’s seasonal cuisine.

The hotel is located in the city’s cultural district, adjacent to the Portland Center for the Performing Arts and the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and just steps from the Portland Art Museum.

STAY: Ace Hotel

For an affordable option, check out the Ace Hotel, a hip hotel in downtown Portland. The Ace is near the Pearl District, a neighborhood that has revitalized itself in recent years and now features delicious dining and chic shops. The hotel is near public transit, but also offers free bike rentals for getting around the city.

The pet-friendly Ace prides itself on being eco-friendly and features vintage furniture, low-VOC paints and recycled materials.

Next to the lobby is Clyde Common, a restaurant that features an impressive wine list and quirky cocktails. Try an ’09 bottle of the Brick House Ribbon Ridge’s Chardonnay or Antica Terra’s Pinot Noir, both made in Oregon.

EAT: Southpark

This downtown eatery celebrates northwest seafood and wine. Sommelier Will Prouty hosts three wine flights every evening, which could include a rich Italian white flight, a Gamay flight or a local indie wine flight. Most wines at the restaurant can be purchased in three sizes: half glass, full glass and bottle.

Try the Fishermen’s Connection, the day’s fresh fish with in-season produce from local farmers, or sit at the wine bar and pair a local Pinot Noir with Pacific Oysters and Verjus Mignonette Sauce.

Southpark also features an in-house wine shop, should you decide to take a bottle home.

EAT: Grüner and KASK

Two restaurants not to miss in Portland are Grüner, which serves hearty European fare, and KASK, an adjacent saloon featuring wine and small plates.

Grüner, which means “greener” in German, serves cuisine from across middle Europe, including French Alsatian flat breads, Bavarian späetzles and Italian farrotto with braised duck. The wine list highlights selections from Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland, alongside local varietals. Try the two Willamette Valley barrel wines on the menu: Apolloni Vineyards’ Pinot Grigio and Kings Ridge’s Pinot Noir.

If you’re looking for lighter fare, try KASK. The artisanal American menu features house-cured liver terrine, salami from California and an aged goat cheese from Oregon. The wine list is comprised solely of wines produced in the western states, including Cameron Winery in Oregon and Gruet Winery in New Mexico.

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  • My husband and I went to the Portland area this past September for our 10th anniversary and had a wonderful time. I would highly recommend going!

    Mar 05, 2012 at 2:03 PM

  • Snooth User: Mponder
    340760 4

    The recommendations seem on target--too many to really note them all. You might want to check on the Indie Wine Festival. It's usually in May, but has been postponed while they look for a new venue. Much fun and will definitely continue at a new site and maybe in a new month.

    Mar 05, 2012 at 2:48 PM

  • Snooth User: Mponder
    340760 4

    Try this url to learn more about the Portland Indie Wine Festival.


    Mar 05, 2012 at 2:50 PM

  • Snooth User: casaross
    798796 8

    Why travel outside the city to visit wineries though? Did you know Portland has a growing list of Urban wineries to visit?

    Mar 05, 2012 at 4:34 PM

  • Snooth User: Stevern86
    909211 36

    Glad to see Southpark on the list. The place rocks. I go there whenever I am in Portland! They turned me on to PONZI. Iam forever grateful.

    Mar 05, 2012 at 11:01 PM

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