Post Overview: Best Wine Bars in Portland, Oregon
Portland has an impressive reputation — you can’t throw a stick without hitting a brewery, award-winning restaurant or witnessing an absurd scene you’d sooner forget. But there’s something that many locals like to keep under wraps — the city is no stranger to good wine bars either (largely thanks to the highly lauded Willamette Valley).
But before we begin, let’s address the elephant in the room: by and large, wine bars have a tendency to feel stuck up at best and haughty at worst. For reasons unbeknownst to me, wine bars have fallen victim to a dry and stuffy (rather pretentious) reputation that has kept them mysterious far too long.
And let’s face it, the only time I want to see “wine” and “dry” in a sentence is after the chardonnay hits the table.
Thankfully, the tide is shifting and casual wine drinking is becoming more approachable (and common), especially among millennials. Many folks are slowly phasing out cocktails and brews in favor of velvety reds and sharp chardonnays.
I’m in the same boat myself. I find that most of my girlfriends prefer meeting at various Portland wine bars as opposed to hip cocktail bars (if that’s a sign of getting older, please don’t tell me).
As such, I’ve explored most of the best wine bars in Portland and wanted to share my personal list of favorites based on firsthand experience. Let’s get to it!
Best Wine Bars in Portland, Oregon
No matter how extensive your wine knowledge, you’re bound to have a great time at Division Wines. Part Portland wine bar, part urban wine shop, this place boasts an impressive selection of more than 800 bottles from all corners of the world.
The focus is on offering expressive wines, especially from European regions, alongside a thoughtful selection of locally-sourced small plates from. Expect the usual suspects: playful charcuterie boards, smoked fish and fresh bread from the neighboring bakery.
We opted for the wine flight during our visit and within one sip realized this as one of the best wine bars in Portland. The selection (3 wines, dealer’s choice) was sublime! Each wine was more impressive than the last and I enjoyed learning about the unique regions they were sourced from.
I wouldn’t have tried those specific wines had it not been for Will Prouty, the owner. Will and his wife, Danyelle, opened Division Wines in 2011 and don’t show signs of slowing anytime soon. It’s not uncommon to find them behind the bar, eagerly sharing their knowledge and passion without anyone asking questions.
The setting is relaxed and casual, oozing a very welcoming vibe. You’re just as likely to hear first-date introductions as old friends catching up at this charming Portland wine bar.
Sustainability, conscious farming and the wine-making process are high priorities in our selection. Happy, healthy vines come from happy, healthy soil, resulting in the fullest possibility of expression.Division Wines
Any Portland wine bar serving pours out of a garage-inspired space is going to garner attention. Following the lead of many great names before them (Apple, Google and Disney, to name a few), Enso Winery opened its (garage) doors to the public Memorial Day 2011.
Focusing on quality over quantity, the folks behind Enso Winery hand craft old-world style wines using grapes sourced from Vineyards in Washington, California and Oregon. They produce around 1,000 cases of small-batch wine per year (all within city limits!) and the passion shows.
The mastermind behind the operation is Ryan Sharp. Trained on the sunny banks of Willamette River, Sharp pursued an ambitious goal: produce world-class wines in the heart of Portland. Thankfully, for the benefit of all thirsty Portlanders, he succeeded.
The wines produced at this charming Portland wine bar aren’t distributed commercially, so the only way to get your hands on them is to visit the winery.
Expect to find refreshing classics like Grüner Veltliner and the (beloved) Mourvèdre alongside full-bodied reds like Cabernet Franc. The wine pairs perfectly with the generous charcuterie boards offered (made with locals meats and cheeses) and the divine chocolates.
If you’re coming to this Portland wine bar with a die-hard beer fan, fret not. The menu includes local northwest beers and ciders as well to ensure that everyone leaves happy.
Les Caves & Les Clos
A great deal of natural wine drinking takes place at Les Caves, often considered one of the best wine bars in Portland. The draw is an adventurous dimly lit subterranean setting that few can resist falling in love with.
The pours are equally impressive. Keeping a focus exclusively on natural wines, expect to find blends from all over the world. But I’d be doing you a disservice by leaving out a morsel of truth (alright, alright it’s an opinion): the best wines are the bottles that come from the owners’ personal brands: Golden Cluster and Ovum Wines.
As for bites, the menu boasts a selection of grilled cheese sandwiches and I’m partial to the one with adjika (a Georgian seasoning).
The hardest thing about this popular Portland wine bar is finding the entrance. You can easily walk by without knowing where to turn. You’ll need to dip into an unassuming corner and then head downstairs (lifelong locals may remember this as the boiler room of the old Victoria Theater).
If the idea of a boiler room turned wine bar cave is a bit much to handle, simply head upstairs to Les Clos — the covered patio version of this popular Portland wine bar. You’ll be serve the same great wines by the same knowledgeable staff, it’s a win-win.
Oh, and lest I forget. The second-hardest thing about visiting the great Portland wine bar is getting a reservation, Advance reservations are highly recommended.
Stem Wine Bar
Located on lively Mississippi Avenue, Stem Wine Bar provides something every Portlander loves: great wine, cozy vibe and a bring-your-own food policy.
At Stem you’ll find one of the most generous wine flight tastings in Portland. Choose between roses, whites or reds and prepare to be impressed. The focus at this Portland wine bar is to share wines from independent winemakers in Oregon.
What’s more, Stem Wine Bar has a great weekly rotation of fun events. From live music and painting classes to complimentary tastings, check out their current lineup here.
Bar Diane is home to one of the most impressive natural wine selections in the City of Roses. Served in a bright and colorful interior, it’s no surprise that locals consider this one of the best wine bars in Portland.
The star of the show (apart from the impressive selection of rosé) is the zen covered patio, which makes a perfect setting for a romantic first date (string lights, need I say more?).
Wine is served by the bottle and glass, but I opt for the full bottle service here because the atmosphere is so relaxing and demands to be enjoyed. While we’re on the topic of enjoyment, the food menu deserves a shout-out.
Whether you’re looking for small bites (go for the tinned seafood, so french!) or filling entrees (the steak calls my name), you can’t go wrong. The gals behind this Portland wine bar know their stuff.
Bar Diane is a staple in my summer itinerary, especially when I’m in the mood to discover something new. There’s always a new chilled wine on offer, but I’m partial to the rosés (some of the best) and sparking wines (although I have been known to dabble with a sherry every now and then).
Local’s Tip: If you’re a big seafood fan make sure to order the oysters and mussels. Swing by and see why this charming Portland wine bar is so beloved by locals.
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Frank Wine Bar
Yet another great Portland wine bar stemming from a wine shop, Frank’s can’t be missed. Located in the trendy South Waterfront neighborhood, the constantly-changing menu will keep you on your toes. Swing by for the lively patio, extensive wine list and warm service.
This Portland wine bar is especially cozy on a rainy day when the massive floor-to-ceiling windows provide a sense of protection from the elements. Sip your glass while the sound of rain outside adds a soothing backdrop to a cozy evening inside one of the best wine bars in Portland.
Inspired by the relaxing wine bars in Europe, Dana Frank (owner of Bar Norman) decided to bring the ostentation of typical American wine bars down a notch while keeping the focus on the quality of wine.
Opened in 2018, this is one of the newest wine bars in Portland but it has successfully set itself apart from the competition thanks to the unmistakable bar-like vibe. Frank’s ultimate goal was to open a bar that focused on wine over cocktails and beer.
Expect noise and life and laughter — and a rotating selection of up to 35 natural wines sold by the glass or bottle. Note, if you purchase a full bottle there is a $10 corkage fee.
The high-vaulted ceilings serve as an invitation for timid first-timers, but it’s the toothsome salty snacks and balanced wine that turn you into a regular.
Want to impress your friends at this popular Portland wine bar? Use adjectives like “nervous” when describing white wines. The term is generally used to describe young white wines that hit the palate with a slight acidity before turning into bright and pleasant notes to finish.
Note: This Portland wine bar is first-come, first-served. Reservations are not accepted so you may need to wait in line for a table to open up.
Half of me wants to keep this cozy wine bar in Portland a secret because I enjoy it so much, but that wouldn’t be fair because they deserve the love. Located two blocks from my old apartment in Northwest Portland, this is where you’d find me closing out the work week most Friday afternoons.
This charming Portland wine bar couldn’t be smaller or cozier if it tried. Seating less than 10 folks inside and up to 10 folks outside, you’ll need to be okay rubbing shoulders with strangers-turned-acquaintances by the second glass.
The candle-lit locale gives this Portland wine bar a mellow vibe, which pairs perfectly with the curated wine list. Don’t expect to thumb through chapters of options, they keep things simple here, which is part of the draw.
As for food? It’s not complicated. One cheese board is on offer, take it or leave it (but I say take it). If you’re meeting up with someone that loves beer more than wine (imagine!), fret not. M Bar has a great selection of local brews as well.
Local’s Tip: The menu at this beloved Portland wine bar changes often. If helpful, you can see the current wine list here.
Perhaps moreso than any other wine bar in Portland, Fullerton Wines strives to make wine drinking a more approachable and casual affair. Located a mere three blocks from bustling NW 23rd Avenue, this place is a hidden gem few tourists stumble across.
In any case, this Portland wine bar has three things going for it: top-notch wine, fresh seasonal dishes and (arguably) the friendliest service you’ll find in the City of Roses. In many ways, it exudes a charming European vibe.
The winery hails from Willamette Valley and the refined wines are truly top-notch. Offered by the bottle or glass, the wines are made by expert winemaker Alex Fullerton who got his start in the industry fresh out of college at the University of Oregon.
A world traveler, his mastery of wine making is proven by the indulgent Pinot noirs you’re bound to see at every table.
As for the food, I never miss an opportunity to order the oysters or burrata salad (and you shouldn’t either). If you need a bigger meal don’t sleep on the cheeseburger, which is a strong contender for one of the best in the city.
If the sensational wines and exceptional food isn’t enough to convince you to give this charming wine bar in Portland a try, allow me to share this: their team makes you feel like family. I’ve yet to find friendlier service at any of the wine bars in Portland, which is why I visit this one so often. 😉
Muse Wine Bar
I discovered Muse Wine Bar innocently enough. A coworker invited me for drinks and revealed to me a Portland wine bar steps from my apartment door. This is dangerous business, but thankfully I’m not the timid sort.
Impressed by the warm service, relaxed vibe and well curated wine list, I promptly returned a few days later with some girlfriends in tow and have since added this lovely Portland wine bar to my monthly rotation.
Offering traditional bar snacks and delectable charcuterie boards from local purveyors, this is the perfect Portland wine bar for pre-dinner drinks, a cozy first date or a relaxing midday break. But take note, this is one of the smaller wine bars in Portland, so make reservations in advance!
Erath Winery Tasting Room
Erath Winery has been making Oregon wines for four decades. Best known for their robust Pinot noirs, it’s the fascinating history of the founder that keeps me coming back.
The man behind the brand, Dick Erath, started producing wine (in his garage) in 1965. Impressed, he decided to move his family from California to Dundee Hills, Oregon with a dream of starting a winery. By 1972, he produced his first commercial cases which officially became the first wine production from the Dundee Hill.
Erath is highly regarded for his expertise in the wine-industry and is often credited for importing French grape varietals to Oregon as early back as 1974.
The success of this beloved Oregon winery speaks for itself. Folks don’t need to drive to Willamette Valley to get their hands on these beautiful pours, simply pop over to the new tasting room in the Pearl District!
Between the interesting history, knock-out wines, great ambiance and friendly service, it’s no surprise that Erath is considered one of the best wine bars in Portland.
Guests can choose between tasting flights, glasses and bottles. If it’s your first visit, I highly suggest the tasting flight (you never know what you’re going to find!).
Good to know about this Portland wine bar: In 2010, 10 out of 10 Erath Winery Pinot noirs received 90+ points from the industry’s top publications. Believe me when I tell you this is good stuff!
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Corkscrew Wine Bar in Portland
Like most Portlanders, Corkscrew Wine Bar appeared on my radar while I was waiting in line for sushi at Saburos (judge away, but I stand by my decision). Located right next door to the popular haunt, this wine bar is a great stop before (or after) a sushi-filled dinner.
Oozing of rustic vibes, you’ll find interesting (and rare) wines alongside more affordable options. Regardless of your libation of choice, pair your glass with the tasty bites offered. If you’re interested in hard-to-find Oregon wines, make sure to sign up for the wine club (no fee to sign up, but you need to commit to purchasing 3-6 bottles per month).
Local’s Tip: Corkscrew Wine Bar doesn’t take reservations. First-come, first-served.
Portland Wine Bars & Restaurants (Best of Both Worlds!)
Dame is a beloved restaurant with an attractive teal-hued interior few can resist. Co-founded by the mastermind behind Bar Norman, Dana Frank has proven her salt in the world of wine selection.
The food is the biggest draw, but locals know to show up for the ambitious list of natural wines from Willamette Valley. For what it’s worth, Frank herself has shared that people want to label Dame a Portland wine bar because of the strong emphasis on wine, but she considers it a restaurant with a wine bar. Only one way to find out, no?
Here’s an unpopular opinion: The Portland wine bar concept is fairly new in our city. It seems like Portland is slowly getting the hang of it and growing pains are bound to ensue.
Most places are searching for the perfect balance between restaurant and wine bar, but none excels better than Canard. This place makes you feel like a million bucks (without having to dip into the dusty trust fund, mind).
Neighboring its highly-acclaimed sister restaurant Le Pigeon (which offers the best tasting menu in Portland), you’ll find the the perfect middle ground. Down to earth wine paired with creative bites inspired by age-old classics demanding your full attention.
It’s always a toss up between what will be more memorable, the exceptional wine or mouth-watering food. Does the Pinot take down the fried chicken wings? You’ll have to find out for yourself.
Arden is yet another Portland wine bar beautifully straddling the fine line between restaurant and bar. Best known for fantastic themed dinners and an extensive list of local wines, it’s hard to think of a better date night idea.
Located in the trendy Pearl District, Arden is a hot spot for serious foodies. To get a proper full experience make reservations for the chef’s prix fixe menu with the wine pairing. (The wine pairing is listed as optional, but it’s non-negotiable in my book).
A sister restaurant to Nostrana (one of the best restaurants in Portland), Enoteca Nostrana is one of the best wine bars in Portland for those in search of local wines. Wines can be paired with knock-out food options like the pasta dishes and Italian pizzas (served the traditional way: whole with a side of scissors).
I love swinging by Enoteca Nostrana in the late evening hours (weekdays, of course) when the chance of snagging a table is a possibility. If you’re coming during the weekend, make sure to make reservations well in advance.
Best Wine Bars in Portland, Oregon (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of the best wine bars in Portland.
- Enso Winery
- Fullerton Wines
- Bar Norman
- Muse Wine Bar
- Erath Winery Tasting Room
- Frank Wine Bar
- Les Caves
- Corkscrew Wine Bar
- Stem Wine Bar
- Bar Diane
- M Bar
- Enoteca Nostrana
- Division Wines
Worth Knowing: Oregon Wine Facts
|If you’re interested, here’s some fun facts about Oregon wine:|
|Oregon produces around 1% of the country’s wine yet earned 20% of Wine Spectator’s domestic 90+ ratings in 2015 and 2016. In “regular people speech” this simply means our state makes some knock-out wines! Quality over quantity.|
|Home to more than 908 wineries (not a typo), Oregon is the 4th-most wine producing state in the country.|
|Oregon has 19 certified wine growing regions that span the length of the state from north to south. Featuring more than 700 wineries, the impressive Willamette Valley is undoubtedly the gold standard in terms of wine producing regions.|
|But don’t just take my word for it, acclaimed New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov called Willamette Valley “the country’s most exciting wine area.”|
|In terms of grapes, Oregon’s flagship varietal is the Pinot noir, followed by Pinot gris and Chardonnay. Worth mention, Oregon is regarded as one of the premier Pinot-producing regions in the world. Have a glass and see what all the fuss is about.|
Map of the best Portland wine bars
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